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Who's Your Neighbor?

Updated: Mar 23, 2023

Did you see the recent article about Brian Cummings, Cape Ann Botanicals business partner, in the Newburyport Neighbors Magazine? 


By Rob Levey

We met up with Brian Cummings at Cape Ann Botanical shop on Pleasant St. In addition

to being a great family man, Brian is a business partner at the botanical shop and helps them in an advisory role. He shared with us how he met his wife and set his roots here in Newburyport.

When you meet the right one, neither distance nor logistics really matter, which describes the story of Brian Cummings and his wife Paddy.

“We met in college and she was dating someone else at the time,” he says. “We just kind of met once at a party and then we both graduated from Saint Anselm College.”

Coincidentally, they both planned to leave Boston in 1996 on April Fool’s Day to move to California, a plan that led a mutual friend to suggest to Paddy that she contact Brian to drive out together.

“She didn’t know me that well, so we both did something different,” says Brian, who notes his destination was San Diego and hers was Santa Monica.

“Long story short, I kind of followed her across country,” he says.

This story, however, was still developing, as he says this mutual friend, who had initially tried to connect them on a cross-country trip, invited him for a visit in June in Los Angeles.

“So I met him in LA and then we met Paddy in Santa Monica,” he says. “[She and I] just kind of hit it off.”

He says they then entered into a long-distance relationship between San Diego and Santa Monica for a few months.

“Eventually, she didn’t like her job and came to San Diego,” he says. “She ended up then going back to Boston and I followed. We then got married that following April. Our 22nd anniversary was April 12.”

As for how they arrived in Newburyport, Brian says he grew up on Arlington Street and Hunter Drive. Noting they were visiting town nearly every weekend, he says they made the decision in 1999 to buy a house here in the downtown area.

“The exterior looked like one big house, but from the interior there were two legally deeded houses,” he explains.

When their neighbor moved away, they sold their side to Brian and his wife at which time they moved into that space, as it was larger. Shortly after Paddy’s parents moved in next to them.

“They were very close with the kids,” he says. “I eventually broke through the basement so the kids could go back and forth between the houses to visit because the house is literally on the street. There isn’t a sidewalk in front of my house, so for safety sake we did that.”

The in-laws ended up moving to Florida four years ago, however, he is grateful that his

mother Muriel a long time Newburyport resident still lives close. The family is so happy to have grandparents right here in town and able to spend quality time with the kids.

“We just blew the house open and now everyone has their own space,” he says. “It has

worked out well.”

If there is one thing that connects all of them, Brian says they are “a big hockey family.”

“I will watch any hockey game on TV,” he says. “My wife kind of jokes, because the only two channels I watch are NHL Network and anything else that has hockey on it. I play two to four times a week between pick-up and in leagues.”

Like every good hockey parent Brian tells us his kids ages by their birth year, they have three boys and three girls in precisely that order: Ian (1997), Gordon (2000), Seamus (2003), Mary (2004), Niamh (2008) and Aine (2011).

“They are all good students and have done well academically,” he says. “Mary is currently

at the Fay School as an 8th grader and plays Irish Fiddle, skis, and she’s in the theater. She is a well-rounded girl. Niamh has played four years of ice hockey with the Middlesex Islanders and will be playing for the Boston Shamrocks starting next season. Aine plays lacrosse and skis…We are a pretty busy family.”

Their sons and daughters have also picked up the sport. All three sons Ian, Gordon and Seamus played triple-A or elite hockey programs until they went to boarding school. Ian eventually played for Fay School and then matriculated to Brewster Academy while Gordon played for the Valley Junior Warrior program until he went to Eaglebrook and then on to Tilton. Gordon currently played this past year for the Boston Junior Bruins Premier Team.

Seamus also played for the Valley Junior Warrior program for 8 years until he went to Eaglebrook.

“Seamus played for Dave Sacco, who was an Olympian and former NHL player, and his

coaching partner Scott Lachance played 17 years professional in the NHL,” Brian adds.

“He was coached very well at an early age, and he now plays at Cushing Academy.”

In looking ahead at their childrens’ respective futures, Cummings expressed gratitude at the opportunities afforded to them, many of which he did not have himself. Regarding his own life and that of his wife, he expressed belief in the mantra, “Work hard, play hard.”

“As long as you get your work done, no one can give you any grief for taking some time off and doing what you want to do,” he says. Great words of advise from this busy father of six!

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