Summer 2017 Staycations with The Trustees!

Best Things to Do in Massachusetts from the State’s Largest Conservation and Preservation Organization

Contact Information

Kristi Perry
PR Director
617.542.7696 x2123

Katie Marshall
PR Specialist
617.542.7696 x2124

Boston, MAJuly, 2017 – Now that school is out and summer vacation has officially set in, The Trustees’ statewide programming schedule is chock full of summer fun for Massachusetts members, residents, and visitors. This summer, the nonprofit is offering more than 2,000 events and programs at its historic homes, farms, outdoor and recreational properties, each one tailor-made to inspire all ages to get outside, learn a new skill, discover or rediscover a special place.

“We’ve embraced ‘Staycations’ with great fervor at The Trustees,” says Kristen Swanberg, Director of Programming for The Trustees. “Massachusetts has so much to offer right here, and we continue to gear our programming towards families who want to make the most of their summer, but want to take advantage of all the treasures we have close to home. This summer you’ll see even more campouts, farm dinners, kayaking and canoeing adventures plus concerts and theatrical performances, as well as literary themed events that are part of our 2017 theme: The Language of Nature. There’s something for everyone—all ages and interests.”

The world’s oldest and the Commonwealth’s largest conservation and preservation nonprofit, The Trustees cares for 116 scenic, natural, and cultural sites from Greater Boston to the Berkshires, which offer year-round opportunities that connect more people to local farms and food, nature, culture, and the great outdoors.

With so many properties and programs to choose from statewide, including Trustees historic homesteads which are in full swing for the season with tours and events for all ages, there’s no excuse not to get out and explore! Below is a sampling of ideas on how to make the most of summer at Trustees properties, but many more can be found at  Most properties and programs are free or discounted up to 50% for members who also receive many other benefits year-round.

Trustees Literary Trail

This year’s theme, “The Language of Nature,” continues a new self-guided Trustees adventure, the Literary Trail Map, available online and at select properties. The natural landscapes of the Commonwealth have long been a source of inspiration and refuge for authors, poets, journalist, playwrights, including many revered literary masters. The first stop on the trail is Bartholomew’s Cobble, oft visited by writer and naturalist Hal Borland, known for describing his walks at the Cobble in a series of editorials in the New York Times and Berkshire Eagle that were later compiled into books. The trail continues from western Massachusetts eastward, with stops at such famed locations as Monument Mountain, where Herman Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne famously hiked, the Old Manse, home of Transcendentalists Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Fruitlands Museum, home of Louisa May Alcott.  As of this spring, seven Trustees properties (Crane Beach, the Bradley Estate, Fruitlands Museum, Stevens-Coolidge Place, the Old Manse, the William Cullen Bryant Homestead and Mission House) now have Little Free Libraries as a permanent additions to each property, available outdoors spring through fall, as weather allows, for people to donate and take a book to read and enjoy.

The Trustees are also hosting talks, tours and workshops about books, the writer’s craft and literary history as part of this theme. Fruitlands Museum will host Pulitzer-prize winning biographer Megan Marshall for a talk in June on the Women of Transcendentalism and in August will welcome nationally-renowned artist Jon Gitelson, known for his interactive exhibition ‘Marginalia,’ inspired by used books, which is part of one of Fruitlands’ current exhibitions, Literary Spirit of Fruitlands Museum and the Old Manse. Lisa McCarty’s Transcendental Concord photography series is also part of this exhibition and she will be on site for an Artist Talk in July. Literary Spirit will be on view through November. For a new take on books, check out another exhibition, Literary Soil, by Greg Lookerse, the 2017 Artist-in-Residence at Fruitlands Museum and the Old Manse, on view through August 20. It features cut, folded, and otherwise altered, used book pages will be followed this summer and fall by site-specific installations Lookerse will create in response to the Fruitlands Museum and The Old Manse collections.

The William Cullen Bryant Homestead in Cummington is another stop on The Trustees Literary Trail and the former home of famed American poet, editor, conservationist and abolitionist. This summer, take part Woods & Words: Rivulet Trail Walk tour where visitors can walk the same landscape that inspired Bryant’s nature poetry while learning about his life, offered throughout the summer. There’s also Words & Wine: Bryant Literary Series, a series of summer poetry readings followed by a wine and cheese reception. And once a month, take advantage of the rare opportunity to visit Bryant’s library and actually handle the books at the Homestead’s exclusive Open the Books!

On the special event but still literary site, on July 26, Castle Hill on the Crane Estate’s Cocktails at the Castle gets a literary twist, Great Gatsby style. The popular event will now be hosted by Jay Gatsby and supplies cocktails, live jazz and the 360-degree views from the Castle Hill roof. For another vintage affair, don’t miss Cocktails with Clara at Fruitlands Museum on July 28, where your ticket includes open bar and period cocktails, sumptuous snacks, live music more.

Family Farm Dinners

The Trustees’ popular Farm Dinner Season begins at the end of June with multiple dates at Weir River Farm, Powisset Farm, Chestnut Hill Farm and Appleton Farms. Each farm has a different bucolic setting but at each one you can expect delicious local food, activities, and live music!

Camping on Conservation Land

Always wished you could stay overnight at iconic Trustees properties? Now’s your chance, at Trustees Campouts! Castle Hill on the Crane Estate will host The Great Rowing Adventure: Adult Camp Out, a 21+ event in August. Explore the creeks and coastline in traditional wooden boats, a hike on Choate Island, a rum tasting, beach cookout and more, finished off by camping under the stars. Castle Hill will also host a family-friendly campout on Labor Day at the special Pine Grove site. Join a walk, hike, guided kayak paddle or scavenger hunt or just lounge on the beach. Dinner, s’mores and the next morning’s breakfast provided. Beautiful World’s End will offer two Camp Outs this summer in July and August, a family friendly opportunity great for both new and seasoned campers. It is BYO tent, food and camping equipment, but campfire, s’mores, guided walks, games and more will be provided. For those in western Massachusetts, Notchview in Windsor, known for its excellent cross-country skiing, will also host a Labor Day Weekend Family Campout as will eastern MA recreation destination Rocky Woods in Medfield. Rocky Woods will also offer Brew Moon Camping every month, taking place after their popular Brew Moon Hikes, which celebrate the full moon with a night hike topped off with local brews.

Concerts and Curtain Calls

Outdoor music events abound this summer at Trustees properties! Fruitlands Museum will host a summer concert series Thursdays through August 10, the Bradley Estate will celebrate its new formal garden with a picnic concert series kicking off on July 13 and the beloved Castle Hill Picnic Concerts are back and running through August 31. The Old Manse in Concord will have  Music at the Manse on Sunday afternoons with live music under a tent on the banks of the Concord river and crafts and games on the lawn. In Western Massachusetts, Bartholomew’s Cobble will have two nights of Mountain Music at the Cobble on Hurlburt Hill, known for its spectacular views and Naumkeag at Night will return on Thursdays evenings this summer with the popular local bands and cocktail in Naumkeag’s famed (and newly restored!) gardens. Outdoor theater is also fast becoming a Trustees summer staple. Enjoy Shakespeare in the Park at Bird Park in Walpole, Shakespeare in the Woods at Rocky Woods and Shakespeare on the Farm at Powisset Farm or take in some Moliere at Castle Hill.

Summer on the Islands

The Trustees protects seven properties on Martha’s Vineyard including Mytoi Gardens, Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge, Wasque, The FARM Institute, Norton Point Beach, Long Point Wildlife Refuge, and Menemsha Hills as well as Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge on Nantucket. This ruggedly beautiful coastal environment is filled with deer, raptors and shorebirds and offers daily Natural History Tours via oversand vehicle all summer.

On the vineyard, The FARM Institute’s annual Meals in the Meadow Fundraiser is scheduled for Saturday, July 15 with limited tickets still available for this annual bash. The FARM Institute offers weekday farm tours at 10AM, with Meadow Hay Rides available on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays at 10:30AM.  There are still spaces available for the 2017 FARM CAMP, now in its 16th year and running weeklong sessions June 26-September 1, so sign up online today! Later this summer in early August, in celebration of its 50th Anniversary of being protected, Wasque is holding a free celebration great for all ages on August 3 that will feature BBQ and refreshments, paddle boarding, kayaking, beach games and more.

Cape Pogue offers Shore Safaris at Cape Poge on Thursdays and Fridays, a shallow-water discovery tour geared towards little ecologists, ages 4 and up. More kids programs include the annual Great Goldfish Day at Mytoi on July 7 and Long Point Pondside Fun with a Trustees educator on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the summer. For a rainy day or break from the sun and surf, The FARM Institute offers weekly Wednesday Workshops starting back up in July with fun homesteading themes including Bread Baking, Kombucha Brewing, and other skill-based cooking classes.

Gardens, Green Thumbs, and More!

The Trustees owns and manages glorious gardens through the state to choose from, whether it’s a garden tour, workshop, or special event. Iconic Trustees’ property, Naumkeag, in Stockbridge, regularly offers Shaping a Landscape tours of its world-renowned garden ‘rooms’ as does Castle Hill with its Highlights of the Hill estate tour. Officially open as of June 14, visitors can delight in the newly unveiled “Bradley in Bloom” display in the Formal Garden at the Bradley Estate in Canton for a stunning show of colorful plantings sourced from nationally and internationally recognized Proven Winners horticulture brand. Trustees’ landscape designer and horticulturist, Jeff Thompson has reinvigorated the lattice-walled garden which serves as the centerpiece of this 90-acre, country estate with plantings in a colorful palette of chartreuse and purple tones to complement the home and surrounding landscape. To complement the blooms expected throughout the summer into fall, visitors can choose from a lineup of horticultural lectures and outdoor concerts perfect for all ages.

Urban garden enthusiasts can learn tricks of the trade at events at Trustees 55 Boston Community Gardens, of which the Trustees protects 56 in total. Learn which Native Plants are edible, how to use them to Craft Cocktails, how to Use and Preserve Herbs and more. Bostonians can also take regular Farm-to-KITCHEN Cooking Classes in cuisines like Egyptian, Persian and Indian, and learn how to make sushi, shuck oysters and Cook on a Budget at the KITCHEN at the Boston Public Market.

Those who love farm fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers and meats and need a break from the grocery store grind can become a Trustees member and join one of three Community Supported Agriculture Programs and reap the harvest all summer long without having to sow a single seed. Joining a vegetable CSAs at Appleton Farms, Chestnut Hill Farm, and Powisset Farm this season can become a family affair that encourages picking up and cooking healthy meals together. This summer, The Trustees are offering the first ever Summer Beef CSA, which includes two pounds of beef per week in a variety of cuts, and is offered through October with prorated shares available. Farmstands and Pop Up Meat Sales are another way to access top quality, local produce and meats if a regular commitment is hard to keep in the busy summer months.

Free Fun For the Family

Created to help celebrate its 125th Anniversary as the world’s first and Massachusetts’ largest conservation and preservation nonprofit in 2016, The Trustees’ Hike 125 hiking challenge drew over 1,200 hikers who hiked a total of 16,000 miles last year. Due to the success of this program, the challenge is back again this year. Hike over 125 miles or the most Trustees properties and be entered to win prizes.  A perfect activity for the whole family, the challenge is free to enter and most Trustees properties are free to hike, year-round. Explore over 350 miles of Trustees trails and 75 miles of coastline.  Many properties feature easy walking footpaths and trails that are stroller-friendly as well. Visit Best First Hikes, Stroller Friendly Trails and Picnic Spots e for more ideas on how to get started.

For those who love technology and the great outdoors, The Trustees have just launched the TourTrustees app, the first-ever smartphone-guided garden and landscape tour of Castle Hill on the Crane Estate, a free way to let history come alive at this National Historic Landmark. Visitors can explore at their own pace or follow suggested tour routes and become ‘introduced’ to the Crane family throughout. The GoTrustees app was launched a few years ago and is always a great tool for exploring on your own, using GPS as your live guide to Trustees trails and the app as a reference for property features, events, and even local weather.

A great way to explore nature and culture, The Highland Street Foundation’s popular Free Fun Fridays will continue this year with Trustees properties, Fruitlands Museum (July 21), The Old Manse (August 4) and Naumkeag (August 11) joining in. Or check out a special celebration of community at Notchview’s free Windsor Grown event on July 15, a full day of festivities hosted in partnership with the Friends of Windsor foundation.

And for the booklovers among us, The Trustees recently launched a new statewide access program, The Trustees GO (Get Outside!) Pass, which allows local libraries and other nonprofits to offer free or discounted admission to Trustees properties as a benefit to their patrons for an annual membership fee. Over 20 libraries around the state have already joined so see if your local library is a member or encourage them to join and then get the family out to a Trustees property for free or reduced cost.

Be a tourist in your own state

Many may not know the Trustees runs two inns and two campgrounds that offer opportunities for great getaways close to home. All four sites offer the unique opportunity to stay on acres of pristine conservation land while also supporting the nonprofits efforts to preserve its beauty for future generations. The 10-room Inn at Castle Hill in Ipswich offers stately elegance and views over the salt marshes and ocean plus a location right in the heart of the Crane Estate, while The Guest House at Field Farm in Williamstown boasts unparalleled views of Mount Greylock with mid-century modern flair. Both B&B’s are recommended for ages 12 and up. For those looking for more rustic accommodations, Tully Lake Campground in Royalston is known for tent-only camping, waterfront and inland campsites, and tons of recreational opportunities, while Dune’s Edge Campground in Provincetown provides a quaint and quiet atmosphere amidst sand dunes and pines, both ideal for families or groups.

Several Trustees properties offer great paddling opportunities to BYO canoe or kayak.  For those who don’t own their own, The Trustees offers rentals at Tully Lake Campground and Cape Poge. One of the only places to access the beautiful Housatonic River, Bartholomew’s Cobble offers both canoe rentals and guided canoe trips every Saturday and Sunday throughout the summer.

And whether it’s on your own, with friends, or a planned family affair, volunteering is also a great way to get out and explore your home state while giving back and having fun at the same time.  The Trustees offer hundreds of opportunities to help out at events, like the Farm Dinners, Naumkeag at Night or concerts at the Bradley Estate, or through a regular program like weekly Open Barnyard at Weir River, if time allows. Volunteers as young as 12 can join in with a guardian. Visit to see the full calendar of volunteer opportunities.

For a full list of fun programs and events for all ages happening at these and other Trustees reservations, visit:

Founded by landscape architect Charles Eliot in 1891, The Trustees has, for more than 125 years, been a catalyst for important ideas, endeavors, and progress in Massachusetts. As a steward of distinctive and dynamic places of both historic and cultural value, The Trustees is the nation’s first preservation and conservation organization, and its landscapes and landmarks continue to inspire discussion, innovation, and action today as they did in the past. We are a nonprofit supported by members, friends and donors and our more than 115 sites are destinations for residents, members, and visitors alike, welcoming millions of guests annually.