Day Trip: Crane Beach & Crane Estate at Castle Hill

What better way to embrace summer than a day at the beach? In just under an hour from Concord, you can get to Crane Beach and  the beautiful Crane Estate at Castle Hill.

Become a Trustees member and enjoy discounts and passes to dozens of Trustees sites, including Crane and Concord’s Old Manse.  You’ll appreciate discounts on parking, too!

Tickets are available online through the Trustees website

CRANE BEACH

Passes are released on Monday at Noon for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.

Passes are released  on Thursday at Noon for Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday.

We highly recommend reserving parking at alternative Baker’s Pasture parking. The access to this end of Crane Beach gives you more space to roam and less populated area of the beach. After you park in field, take left as you come off path to beach and go to the end. You will have long stretches of beach to explore and will encounter very few people on this end. 

The entrance to Bakers Pasture is just before the beach main gate at 310 Argilla Road, Ipswich, MA 01938

What makes Crane Beach a special place?
At Crane Beach, you’ll enjoy one of the finest beaches and outdoor recreation destinations on the East Coast. With its clean, inviting water, miles of shoreline, and mesmerizing views, Crane Beach has been a favorite with the ocean-loving public for generations. Whether you intend to take a refreshing plunge, play in the sand, or just soak up the sun, this unparalleled seaside experience is sure to provide lots of fun – and great memories, too.

There’s more to see here than sun and sand. Crane Beach is managed for both recreation and conservation – people and ecology – through careful planning. More than five miles of trails wind through coastal dunes here, which shield inland areas from storm waves and flooding. And, Castle Neck is the site of the North Shore’s largest pitch pine forest.

Crane Beach is also among the world’s most important nesting sites for piping plovers, a threatened bird that was nearly hunted to extinction in the 19th century for its eggs and feathers. Crane Beach has been nationally recognized for its successful shorebird protection program. To protect these threatened shorebirds, we ask that you avoid the fenced nesting areas and the wrack, the line of washed-up organic debris where the birds feed and hide.

Trails
5.5 miles of trails traverse dunes and track the beachfront on both the Ipswich Bay and Essex River Estuary sides of the Castle Neck peninsula. Moderate hiking. These trails are part of the Bay Circuit Trail.

Along your walk, check out the Wreck of the Ada K. Damon from 1909.

When to Visit
Year-round, daily, 8AM to 6PM.

Facilities
In-season: Lifeguards and rangers, bike rack, bathhouses (with toilets and changing area), outside showers, picnic tables, Crane Beach Store (refreshments and merchandise), drinking water fountains (located outside the bathhouses), information kiosk, transportation for mobility-impaired and challenged visitors. Off-season: Family restrooms and visitor access to floating beach wheelchairs.

 

CRANE ESTATE AT CASTLE HILL

The 165-acres of Castle Hill are part of the 2,100-acre Crane Estate. The summer home of plumbing tycoon Richard Teller Crane, Jr., Castle Hill is both an amazing historic property and a wonderful place to take a stroll. Explore the grounds, featuring formal gardens with fountains, a woodland path, and Italian-inspired sculptures. Walk our half-mile long Grand Allee that leads to a bluff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Castle Hill offers a taste of the European on the New England coast.  

Staying for the evening???

Castle Hill Illuminated: The Sound and Light Show

Imagine yourself a guest at the Crane family’s famed summer home in 1929. Strolls in the garden, ladies in tea dresses, bustling servants, clinking glasses, and jazz tunes wafting across the warm summer air. The estate’s sounds and sights come alive in our dynamic 35-minute multi-sensory experience Castle Hill Illuminated. This night-time spectacle combines music, narration, and lighting to offer you a new and exciting way to experience Castle Hill.

The outdoor setting and limited entry times allow you to socially distance and attend the event safely. Masks and advanced reservations are required. Click on each date to see the entry time options. A weather cancellation, if necessary, will be made by 4PM each day. Ticket holders will be notified and refunded.

Please arrive 30 minutes prior to your entry time to park, check in, and get oriented. Castle Hill Illuminated unfolds in 4 scenes around the Great House, Grand Allee, and Italian Garden. Sensible walking shoes and insect repellent are recommended.

Castle Hill Illuminated is a creation of Design by Chris Bocchiaro in cooperation with the Crane Estate.

Wednesdays through Saturdays
Now through September 12

Admission:

  • Trustees Member Vehicle: $20
  • Non-Member Vehicle: $30
One ticket per vehicle. Ticket covers all guests arriving in the vehicle. 

 

July 23: This Day in History

The Concord Museum offers so many lessons about our history.

Did you know significance of July 23?

On July 23, 1846, Henry David Thoreau spent a night in the Concord Jail. Learn more about the story behind Thoreau’s arrest and how it sparked his essay “Civil Disobedience” in this week’s edition of History at Home presented by the Concord Museum!

ENVISIONING THOREAU’S ARREST

Upon leaving Walden Pond to run an errand, Henry David Thoreau was unexpectedly arrested by the local constable. In this two minute video, join Curator David Wood as he narrates the story of Thoreau’s arrest for non-payment of the poll tax in July of 1846.

LOCKED IN WITH THOREAU

Thoreau’s night in the Concord jail sparked his writing of “Civil Disobedience” which left an indelible mark on history through its influence on movements for nonviolent change.  Curatorial Associate Erica Lome gives us a closer look at the lock and key used to hold Thoreau in his cell that night in a two-minute video, sign up to watch it.

FAMILY ACTIVITY

History at Home: Learn about Thoreau’s night in the Concord Jail in 1846 and how it sparked his subsequent essay, “Civil Disobedience.”

This week’s Family Activity is “Use Your Voice” which encourages kids to stand up for a cause they believe in!

Sign up for this lesson and more through the History at Home, offered by The Concord Museum

Day Trip: Bike along the Nashua River Rail Trail

Grab your bikes and bikes racks and head to Ayer or Groton.  Park your car (in one of the suggested parking lots below) and explore the great outdoors along this 11 mile bike trail that connects Ayer, MA to Nashua, NH.  The trail is also open to walking, dogwalking (leash) rollerblading and horseback riding. The trail is a former railroad right of way that travels 11 miles through the towns of Ayer, Groton, Pepperell and Dunstable. The 10-foot wide paved surface is ideal for cyclists.

Pack a picnic and stop in this lovely meadow in Groton, along the way.

Stop in Pepperell for this fabulous food truck or a scoop of ice cream from Charlotte’s Cozy Kitchen & Rail Trail Ice Cream, just steps from the rail trail.

 

   

View the trail map online

Parking areas for access to the trail are located in Ayer, Groton, and Dunstable.

Ayer Center parking lot

Closed for construction.  For more information visit  https://www.ayer.ma.us/commuter-parking

Groton Center parking (Court Street 10-15 spaces)

Take I-495 north or south to exit 31, then Rte. 119 west approximately seven miles to Groton Center. Take left at Station Ave. to the on-street parking area beside the trail.

Groton Sand Hill Road parking (10-15 gravel spaces)

Take I-495 north or south to exit 31, then Rte. 119 west approximately ten miles. Take a right on Nod Road and right on Sand Hill Road. Follow Sand Hill Road to parking area on the right after crossing rail trail.

Dunstable state line parking (10 gravel spaces)

Take Rte. 3 to Exit 35, then Rte. 113 west beyond Dunstable Center. Take right on Hollis Street to New Hampshire state line. Parking is on the left.

Enjoy!!

Concord Agriculture Committee Events

Do you know about the Concord Agriculture Committee?

The purpose of the Committee is to provide a forum for the discussion of interest and concern to farmers in Concord and to advise the Board of Selectmen concerning how the town can help to support farming in Concord.

 

The Concord Agriculture Committee organizes these annual September events:

CONCORD AG DAY on the MILLDAM is a bountiful farmers’ market, along Main Street (on the Milldam) in downtown Concord. The section between the flag pole to Main Street Cafe is blocked off so pedestrians can visit the numerous booths devoted the local farm community to display and share and sell their harvest. They always have fun activities, such a gourd bowling, games and crafts,  scattered throughout the market.

For more information and to see photos from previous years, please see the “About” section of this website.

TBD: AG DAY 2020: SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 12th, 2020
15TH ANNUAL CONCORD FARMERS MARKET: 10:00am – 2:00pm

KITCHEN GARDEN TOURS are offered the same afternoon as AG Day, 1:00pm – 4:00pm
This a a chance to visit the home kitchen gardens of some Concord families.

Pick up your free pass to these tours from the Garden Club of Concord’s table at the Ag Day Farmers Market.
You’ll see how these homeowners create an edible backyard with a variety of fruit trees and herbs; actively compost to fertilize a productive organic garden that yields a four-season harvest; and nurture unusual crops like okra, sorrel, cardoon, and tomatillos alongside more familiar vegetables and flowers.

       

FARM OPEN HOUSES & TOURS 2020
Meet several Concord farmers and take a look behind their farm stands. Walk the fields, learn how small-scale farming and selling works, and pick up some fresh veggies, fruit, and flowers at their stands. Check back for updates to this list for specific farm tour dates and times.    

 

STONE SOUP DINNER is a community meal, provided by all local farms and restaurants, and  enjoyed under the tent at Verrill Farm on a beautiful September Sunday evening.  Dinner attendees sit on long picnic tables, and enjoy delicious variety of dishes prepared by and donated by area farmers and restaurants. Tickets are sold throughout the town, beginning in the summer. It’s always a spectacular event!

In addition to these September events, the Agricultural Committee also hosts other interesting and informative events such as film screenings and discussions about farming.

Be on the lookout for more Agricultural Committee events on our LivingConcord calendar.

Concord & Carlisle is brimming with Fantastic Farms & Farmstands

Concord & Carlisle is full of farms, farm stands and  nurseries. We’re so lucky to have such an abundance of local growers and suppliers, all within our town borders. 

“Concord has been an agricultural community for centuries, and agriculture remains a
central piece of Concord’s identity and economy even today. With 1004 acres in active
agricultural production, some 16 farm businesses and 11 farm stands, Concord stands out
among the suburbs of Boston as a place that is friendly to agriculture. Many residents
enjoy the sight of open spaces in active agricultural production, and they enjoy eating the
bounty of the harvest from these working lands.” Agriculture Committee Long Range Plan Submission 

Be sure to visit these local gems and stock up on vegetables and items for your garden. Nothing tastes better than locally grown food and nothing feels better than supporting these local farmers.

Barrett’s Mill Farm, 449 Barretts Mill Road

Barrett’s Mill Farm is a Certified Organic vegetable farm located on the McGrath Farmstead in Concord, Massachusetts. They sell their vegetables through our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and Barrett’s Bucks programs, as well as through their Farmstand.

 

  

Brigham Farm Stand & Greenhouses, Concord, MA, 82 Fitchburg Turnpike, Concord

Brigham Farm is a small family farm and greenhouse business located on one of the oldest farms in Concord Massachusetts. We hire for the summer and fall seasons. We hire 6 to 10 full or part-time workers each year.  Working at Brigham Farm for many young people is their first real job!

Starting in late June, come to Brigham Farm Stand for fresh vegetables, fruits, berries, and cold drinks.  Strawberries in June. Corn all summer. Pumpkins in fall. We also sell Christmas trees and wreaths starting on November 30th. 

Come and stop by! Our summer corn is well known for being the sweetest around. 

Clark Farm 201 Bedford Road, Carlisle

Clark Farm produces certified organic vegetables and berries for its CSA community, farm stand and local farm-to-table restaurant.

In addition to vegetables, Clark Farm raises lamb, goats, pastured pork and laying hens.

The farm’s name honors the family who served as its stewards before Marjie Findlay and Geoff Freeman bought the property in 2010 with the intention of restoring the farm as an agricultural institution in the community – a place where families can connect with their food and farmer.

Colonial Gardens, 442 Fitchburg Turnpike

Colonial Gardens has been florists in the Concord area for more than 40 years. Family owned and operated, we are also greenhouse growers and operate a garden center year round. We grow the majority of the plants we sell, and seasonally grow cut flowers in our greenhouses for our florist shop as well!

Colonial Gardens Florist And Greenhouses has been hand-delivering premium floral arrangements and gift baskets to help strengthen relationships, give love and support, and celebrate life’s special moments since 1962. From birthdays to anniversaries to commemorating a loved one, and every little “just because” moment in between.

 

The Farm At Walden Woods

The Farm at Walden Woods is a USDA certified organic vegetable farm. Through growing and selling a range of produce like squash, eggplant, pumpkins, tomatoes and corn, the Walden Woods Project is able to use all proceeds to directly support the Farm at Walden Woods and also fund the Project’s efforts to protect more land within historic Walden Woods.

Gaining Ground, 341 Virginia Road, Concord

Gaining Ground, a nonprofit organic farm in Concord, Massachusetts, grows vegetables and fruit with the help of several thousand community volunteers and donates all of this fresh food to area meal programs and food pantries.

Gaining Ground grows organic produce for hunger relief with help from volunteers of all ages and abilities, who work and learn in our fields. In short, we grow food and we give it away to people who need it. For free. This refreshingly simple approach lets us focus on meeting the needs of our volunteers and the people we help feed. These two aspects of our work are closely intertwined—one wouldn’t work without the other.

We work hard to grow high-quality produce, provide an exceptional experience to each volunteer, serve the needs of our recipients and maximize the generous support of our donors.

Hutchins Farm, 754 Monument Street, Concord

Hutchins Farm is one of the oldest and largest certified organic vegetable and fruit operations in Massachusetts. Organic since 1973, every season Hutchins actively cultivates over 35 acres of vegetables, about an acre of small fruit, and 8 acres of apples. We sell our produce directly to consumers at our farm stand in Concord, MA, and at three weekly farmers’ markets, with a small amount of sales to local restaurants. Our farmstand is located right on the main farm and is open seasonally June – October. 

The main farm is 63 acres, and about half of the fields can be viewed from our farmstand. Unless otherwise noted, all of the produce in the farm stand is Certified Organic and grown here at Hutchins farm. Owned and operated by the same family since 1895, Hutchins Farm has evolved over the years. 

Marhsall Farm, 171 Harrington Ave., Concord

Marshall Farm is a 3rd-generation family farm that sells firewood year round along with our own chicken eggs! Annuals and perennials in the spring! Farm fresh vegetables and cut flowers in the late spring to early fall, specializing in tomatoes. Pumpkins in the fall and Christmas trees and wreaths for the holidays.

Kids of all ages are welcome to stop by and meet and feed our goats, chickens and bunny!

Millbrook Farm, 215 Cambridge Turnpike

Family run nursery and farmstand

 

 

Rotundo Farm, 737 Bedford Street, Concord

Seasonal farmstand offering fruits & vegetable

Frank Rotundo runs this Family farm that has been in operation since the 1920s.

 

Saltbox Farm 40 Westford Rd., Concord

Saltbox Farm is a family farm, where our farmers are dedicated to continue pursuits of regenerative agricultural practices ensuring survival and sustainability of this land, while still remaining an intricate part of the surrounding community. 

We believe that the best quality produce comes from the best quality soil, and for that we spend all season building up the structure and nutrients using techniques like cover cropping, crop rotation, and compost and bio-nutrient density applications.

Our focus is on growing for our public Farm Stand out of our barn, our farm-to-table restaurant – Saltbox Kitchen, our Catering by Saltbox, Cooking School on the farm, Brewery, and all the Community Events on the farm throughout the season! 

Scimone Farm, 505 Old Bedford Road

Scimone’s Farm is run by Scimone Family.

The Frank Scimone Farm has been in business for 80 years. Father Frank Scimone began farming in Concord in 1923 and was married to Grace Josephine Scimone and had four children Domenica, Tony, Angelina, and Frank. Scimone’s Farm, established in 1923, is a family run farm that produces great corn and a variety of produce. They sell their products at their farm stand in Concord.

Silferleaf, 460 Strawberry Hill Road 

PYO certified organic raspberries, open daily from September 1 through October 21.

Verrill Farm, 11 Wheeler Road, Concord

To nourish the body and soul of our customers by providing healthful food of superb flavor in surroundings of beauty. Through the use of sound and efficient farming practices, we strive to maintain our land and animals in good health, and provide a good living for our employees and a reasonable return to the owners.

Explore the many wonderful farms and farm stands in Concord & Carlisle!

 

Summer Quest!

Have you heard about Summer Quest?

Minute Man National Historical Park with our friends at The Umbrella Arts and Environment Program, Drumlin Farm-Mass Audubon, OARS, the Concord Land Conservation Trust, and some other area organizations, have created a ton of free summer activities for you to choose from! Complete those activities to collect badges and certificates of accomplishment. Earn enough badges and certificates and you’ll get a Summer Quest patch!

Explore the lands of the Concord watershed to learn about science, history, art and other topics this summer.

Learn more

Summer Quest combines the best of each site:

  • Minute Man’s history activities
  • The Land Trust’s botany explorations
  • OARS’ river adventures
  • The Umbrella’s eco-art projects
  • Drumlin Farm’s nature journaling

Subject activities are also being offered by The Old Manse, The Concord Free Public Library, The Concord Museum, Walden Woods Project, The Concord Division of Natural Resources, and Ninjas in Nature (Holy cow! That’s a lot of fun places to explore)

We know this summer is different, maybe you won’t be heading to camp, taking a vacation in a far away place, or even seeing your friends as often, but we hope Summer Quest can help make a summer at home a lot more fun. Right here in your own back yard, town, and community you can play outdoors, become an expert on local wildlife, explore history, and create fun art and nature projects.

What will you learn? What new places will you explore? What new skills will you develop? Gather your family, choose some activities and go find out!

If you have any questions about the program or how to complete the activities, please contact us.
SummerQuestProgram@gmail.com, Subject line: Summer Quest info request or call 978-371-0820 x 213

Gather your supplies, pack your bag, and get ready for adventure!

Why You Should “Go Out Doors” in West Concord, MA

Did You Know that There is New Rail Trail Art on the West Concord Bike Path?

Yes there is!  Concord’s own Umbrella Arts Center has created a  Whimsical “Go Out Doors” art scene that brightens the West Concord Bike Path.

Inspired by NYC’s En Plein Air doors on the Highline, “Go Out Doors” is West Concord’s newest public art exhibition, installed along the recently opened section of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail. Designed to raise awareness of local bike trails as part of an interconnected system throughout the region, this exhibition will run from July 1 – November 30, 2020.

A project of The Umbrella Arts Center program, Go Out Doors features fourteen doors painted by seven regional artists that “explore a world you might find if you open your front door and adventure outside,” says Nancy Lippe, director of The Umbrella Arts & Environment program.

A variety of door images celebrate nature, our senses and outdoor activity. The majority of doors are sited between the Commonwealth Avenue entrance and the Assabet River bridge, with another grouping at the Powder Mill Road entrance.

Contributing artists are Kayo Burman, Karla Collins, Howie Green, Marlowe Miller, Caroline Provost, Rebecca Tuck and Sophy Tuttle. Additional artists may be commissioned for a future expansion to other locations.

Installation of the doors takes place over a three-week period, per the request of the Town Bruce Freeman Bike Advisory Committee to minimize large gatherings.

Funded by the Friends of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail and Foundation for Metrowest, the exhibition also seeks to inspire visitors to slow down, notice, and explore. The timing of the exhibition dovetails well with a community emerging from quarantine and eager for outdoor activity and art. Organizers remind exhibition visitors that social distancing and masks are required when out in public.

More information can be found at TheUmbrellaArts.org/Go-Out-Doors.