The Essex National Heritage Commission announces the ‘People’s Choice Awards’ and raffle winners for the 10th anniversary of TRAILS & SAILS: Two Weekends of Walks and Water. The ‘People’s Choice Awards’ represent the top ten TRAILS & SAILS events this year as voted on by participants. Additionally, as this year marked the 10th anniversary of TRAILS & SAILS, Essex Heritage created a ‘passport’ for participants to use to collect ‘stamps’ at 10+ unique events and use to win one of the TRAILS & SAILS 10th anniversary prizes.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of its premier partnership event, Essex Heritage and its partners organized the largest ever collection of unique and exciting TRAILS & SAILS events throughout Essex County for FREE, and the schedule was exhilarating! Over 100 event hosts opened their doors and scheduled 190+ events to connect people to the special places and organizations that comprise the Essex National Heritage Area. While event tallies continue to trickle in, over 4,000 participants have been recorded at events extending from the Old Eastern Marsh Trail in Salisbury to quarries in Rockport, from the summit of Holt Hill in Andover to the top of Hospital Point Lighthouse in Beverly, from archaeological digs in Danvers and Saugus out to Choate Island, Ipswich.

TRAILS & SAILS 2011: ‘People’s Choice Awards’
Essex Heritage is very grateful to the hundreds of organizations, event leaders and businesses that opened their doors and created experiences that continue to thrill and delight residents and visitors alike. Every year, Essex Heritage presents a “People’s Choice Award” to TRAILS & SAILS events based on participant feedback. Of the 190+ TRAILS & SAILS events offered this year, participants voted for the following top ten events of 2011:

1. Historic Ice House Tours, hosted by Cape Pond Ice Company
2. Choate Island: A Walking Tour, hosted by The Trustees of Reservations
3. Deepsea Science: Wreck of the Portland, hosted by Maritime Gloucester and Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary
4. Guided Tour of Special Exhibit: “Painting the American Vision’, hosted by the Peabody Essex Museum
5. Harmony in the Hall, hosted by the Essex Harmony and Danvers Historical Society
6. Hospital Point Lighthouse Tours, hosted by U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary
7. Kayak Tour at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge
8. Yankee Whale Watch, hosted by Yankee Fleet
9. Bread & Roses Strike Walk, hosted by Lawrence Heritage State Park
10. A Hermit’s Tales on the Trails, hosted by The Trustees of Reservations

Field Educator for The Trustees of Reservations at the Crane Estate, and TRAILS & SAILS event host, Garry Dow said ‘The Crane Estate is delighted to be recognized for the second year in a row by Essex Heritage. Every year, people visit the Crane Estate for the first time because of TRAILS & SAILS. And every year they come back ‘ TRAILS & SAILS makes it easy to find and explore the places that make Essex County unique. The Crane Estate is a proud partner of Essex Natural Heritage Commission, and we cannot wait to participate again next year.’

Essex Heritage has great appreciation for TD Bank and Eastern Bank for their long-time sponsorship commitment that keeps TRAILS & SAILS a FREE public outreach celebration. Essex Heritage is also grateful to the many organizations and individuals that generously contributed over $2,000 worth of gifts for the TRAILS & SAILS 10th anniversary passport prizes: Alfalfa Farm Winery; Andover Historical Society; Beverly Historical Society; Boxford Trails/Boxford Open Land Trust; Cape Ann Museum; Cape Pond Ice Co.; Coastal Trails Coalition; Creative Haverhill & John Greenleaf Whittier Birthplace; Danvers Bi-Peds; East Lynn Community Association; Ghlee Woodworth; Inn Magnolia; Ipswich Visitor Center; The Lyman Center; MacKid Hamilton; Manchester Essex Conservation Trust; Marblehead Heritage Tours; National Park Service; Peabody Essex Museum; REI; Schooner Thomas E. Lannon; Essex County Ghost Project; The Trustees of Reservations; and the Wenham Museum.

Congratulations, to the TRAILS & SAILS 10th anniversary passport prize winners!
‘ Patricia Rahn of Salem won the Eastern Bank Picnic Basket.
‘ Emil Geithner of Haverhill won the TD Bank Beach Basket.
‘ Marilyn Ortsman of Pomona, NY won the REI fanny pack stuffed with prizes from our partners.
‘ Larry Ralph of Beverly won the REI backpack filled with prizes from our partners.
‘ Lauren Towler of Haverhill won the REI Suitcase packed with prizes from our partners.

Essex Heritage, the non-profit established by Congress to preserve and protect the rich historical resources in the Essex National Heritage Area, offers TRAILS & SAILS each year to encourage residents to experience inspiration as sites in the Heritage Area offer their tours, walks, water events and more for FREE to residents for two weekends in September. Thousands of people took to the railways, byways, waterways and trails of the Essex National Heritage Area over the last two weekends of September 2011 to participate in the 10th annual TRAILS & SAILS: Two Weekends of Walks and Water.

TRAILS & SAILS: Two Weekends of Walks & Water is Essex Heritage’s premier partnership activity. The free event expands cultural tourism by bringing new audiences to dozens of historic sites and open spaces, and stimulating new business in the local economy. Held in late September, residents and visitors alike experience the region’s best from a wide array of events ‘ guided walks, on-water tours, open houses ‘ organized by the front line stewards of the Area’s historic, cultural and natural resources. Since 2002, a total of 32,370 people have attended TRAILS & SAILS events. Partnering with unique sites throughout the Heritage Area, Essex Heritage offers unique events to members all year long ‘ making sure that the energy and excitement from TRAILS & SAILS lasts all year long. Visit to learn more.