Salisbury, a residential seaside community on the North Shore, is bordered by the Merrimack River and the Atlantic Ocean. Originally named Colchester when it was first settled in the 17th century, the town was incorporated as Salisbury in 1640. Salisbury grew as in farming, commercial and maritime activity based on upland farms, salt... Show all »
Salisbury, a residential seaside community on the North Shore, is bordered by the Merrimack River and the Atlantic Ocean. Originally named Colchester when it was first settled in the 17th century, the town was incorporated as Salisbury in 1640. Salisbury grew as in farming, commercial and maritime activity based on upland farms, salt marsh estuaries, boat building along the river, and its position on a major overland trade route to the north.
When railroads were introduced, the line was untroubled by the low, gentle landscape that generally lacks steep hillsides or rocky terrain. With transportation, growing economic wealth, and an emerging middle class as the 19th century progressed, Salisbury's beach front attracted vacationers, establishing a tourist market that remains essential to the town even today with hotels, amusements and retail.
Salisbury is highly diverse geographically, encompassing sixteen square miles of farms, beach, marshlands as well as residential and commercial space. By recent estimates, nearly ninety percent of this area, or 9,200 acres, exists as open space. Nearly forty percent is wooded, while more than a third is wetland and estuary. Ten percent is agricultural land, and four percent is recreational. The Great Marsh and estuaries of the Merrimack River make up the largest linked bodies of open land.
The town includes four distinctly different areas: Salisbury Beach, a barrier beach with miles of beautiful sandy Atlantic Ocean beaches and salt marshes surrounding dense residential and commercial beachfront development; Salisbury Plains, featuring farms and suburban homes along fields and rolling woodlands; Salisbury Square, a colonial village center with churches, municipal buildings and village residences; and Rings Island, once a colonial fishing village facing Newburyport on the Merrimack River and comprising a neighborhood of restored antique homes and riverfront marine businesses.
With this abundance of open space comes an abundance of outdoor recreational activity. Salisbury Beach State Reservation, the Commonwealths busiest state park, accommodates over 200,000 visitors each year to the four-mile beach. Active community groups and collaboration between town officials and residents make Salisbury a desirable place to live, locate a business or spend a vacation.
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