Trails & Sails 2009

Two Weekends of Walks & Water

Momentum is building as the Essex National Heritage Commission (Essex Heritage) finalizes plans to present its eighth annual TRAILS & SAILS 2009, for the first time, spread over two weekends. Explore the land, sea and shores of Essex County on September 18-20 and 25-27, 2009. Partnering with Essex County heritage non-profit and for-profit organizations, Essex Heritage will offer over 100 FREE events in a unique assortment of historic, cultural and natural sites, hosted by exceptional organizations and recreation-based businesses. All events are designed to give residents and visitors a taste of the region’s distinctive history, breathtaking landscapes and hidden gems! For a full listing of events, visit:, where participants can pre-register, enter a raffle for an overnight hotel stay and design a personalized itinerary on-line.

Highlights on Cape Ann include fun and educational experiences to participants both on and off the water. Explore how the sea inspired the creativity of architects and artists alike by taking in the area’s living landscapes, museums, historic homes, public spaces and artist studios. Among them include Cogswell’s Grant, a 17th century farm with stunning vistas and a marvelous collection of American Folk art. Tour the Essex River by guided kayak with Essex River Basin Adventures (ERBA), enjoy whale watching, schooner sailing and historic house tours in Gloucester, or a tour of ‘America’s Oldest Working Art Colony’ in Rockport.

The lower Merrimack Valley communities offer endless possibilities! The stellar itinerary of Trails & Sails events here include maritime and aviation museums, tip-toeing through the tombstones, guided nature tours both on and off shore, special interest walks, and open doors at unique historic homes and sites. They include maritime adventures with the Coast Guard or aboard Newburyport’s educational Boat Camp vessel, the Erica Lee, a Family Flyby of birds, butterflies and whales with MA Audubon or watching the construction of a traditional salt-marsh haystack in Newbury. Connect with rail history at the Salisbury Point Railroad or experience the fire and brimstone of the Rocky Hill meeting House in Amesbury. Haverhill will celebrate its history as the premier provider of the high button shoe during its Sole-A-Bration. There will be ghost hunting with the Pelham Paranormal Group at the Haunted Hilldale Cemetery or an opportunity to read the night sky while star-gazing in Groveland’s Veasey Memorial Park.

Upper Merrimack Valley towns give visitors a taste of distinctive history, extraordinary landscapes and seldom seen treasures! Events here include poetry and printing, historic mills and farms, millionaires and monuments, special interest walks, and open doors at historic homes and sites. The actively inclined can join cycling enthusiasts and Essex County Greenbelt for a bicycle tour through Middleton, Andover and Boxford. Poetry buffs can walk the path of poets at Rolling Ridge, a special place of meditation and inspiration, be part of a documentary film at The Trustee’s of Reservation’s historic Stevens Coolidge Gardens, or create ekphrastic poetry at the Essex Art Center in Lawrence. The evolution of American print communication and collections can be experienced at the Museum of Printing, or spirits of past will be on hand in Methuen where Essex Base Ball will play by 1861 rules. Walk in the steps of millionaires David Nevins, Charles N. Tenney and Edward F. Searles, Merrimack Valley natives who controlled great fortunes in the 19th and 20th centuries. In Lawrence, relive and reenact the Civil War era where the city highlights its connection and contributions to the service of the Union. The 7th annual Civil War Weekend activities include an architectural walking tour conducted by the Lawrence Civil War Militia on the Campagnone Common, tea with President & Mrs. Lincoln, or youngsters can learn what life was like in the Union Armey as they join the 6th MA Infantry and 5th MA Artillery for a Children’s Muster.

In the heartland of Essex County, walk a wooded portion of the Bay Circuit Trail on ancient Chapman Way to explore an old Boxford graveyard, Lowe’s Pond, a beaver lodge, Round Top Park and country roads that lead to the charming Kelsey Arboretum. In Hamilton, a perennial Trails & Sails favorite, the Essex County Mushroom Hunt is once again on the event roster. Visitors to events in Ipswich can help the historic town celebrate its 375th birthday and connect to the town’s historic and cultural treasures. Guides from The Trustees of Reservations will take you on a tour of a living salt marsh or historic Appleton Farm during dairy cow milking, or take a pleasant guided walking tour of Ipswich’s Historic South Green to see pristine historic homes, the Ipswich River and other maritime highlights and scenic vistas. In Topsfield taste what Essex County specialty farms have to offer! Alfalfa Farm mixes old-fashioned New England charm with the latest in wine making technology. Visit historic Valley View Farm to meet the goats and taste cheese being made from their milk.

Essex County’s southern communities offer incredible insight into the region’s history through authentic heritage experiences, behind-the-scenes tours, pastoral strolls, archeology, marine science and musical entertainment. A Tour of Beverly’s Balch House will showcase one of the nation’s remaining structures from the colonial period, while events that focus on the ‘Gold Coast’ will teach participants about Beverly’s wealthy past summer residents and the tradesmen who made a living catering to them. In Danvers, stroll the gardens of Glen Magna and listen to the soothing melodies of ‘The Essex Harmony’ singing school ensemble inside the Colonial Revival mansion. Take a walk through Lynn Woods to Stone Tower and Dungeon Rock. This 2,200 acre fore