Trustees Introduce New TourTrustees App Launching with Self-Guided Landscape Tours of Castle Hill

Castle Hill Opens for Tours weekends beginning Saturday April 15, 2017

Contact Information

Kristi Perry
PR Director
617.542.7696 x2123

Katie Marshall
PR Specialist
617.904.5365 x2124

Boston & Ipswich, MAMarch 2017 – The Trustees today announced the launch of the new TourTrustees app, the first-ever smartphone-guided garden and landscape tour of Castle Hill on the Crane Estate, an iconic National Historic Landmark located in Ipswich, MA.

With the new TourTrustees app, history comes alive at Castle Hill as visitors tour the gorgeous gardens and undulating landscape of the Grand Allee, as well as the beautiful and functional buildings that were used by guests and the staff who ran the estate. As visitors walk the grounds, they will learn about the masterminds who designed the landscape of this incredible mansion on the hill and “meet” the people that lived and worked on the estate through archival photos and first-person accounts. Trustees staff experts highlight the amazing number of staff and resources required to design and maintain the extensive grounds in its heyday, and the many visitors who came to enjoy them over the years. From the cupola on the roof terrace of the Great House to the Casino (meaning “little house”), the Crane family’s luxurious former pool and entertainment compound nestled into the Allee itself, the app unveils the stories behind this estate with brief overviews and more in-depth features appealing to all who want to explore and learn more about how the “other half” lived over a century ago.

A rare surviving, intact estate from the Country Place Era, the Crane Estate is a popular destination for those traveling from near or far, as well as a year-round resource for North Shore locals and Massachusetts residents. Visited by nearly 400,000 people just last year, the 2,100-acre estate consists of Castle Hill, a National Historic Landmark featuring the 59-room Great House, acres of stunning designed landscapes and gardens, Crane Beach and Crane Wildlife Refuge, one of the most pristine beaches and natural habitats in the Northeast, as well as The Inn at Castle Hill, a 10-room bed and breakfast.  Set against the sapphire backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean, Castle Hill on the Crane Estate was once the summer home of Chicago-based plumbing magnate Richard T. Crane, Jr., and his family.  With stunning, panoramic views of Cape Ann, the estate was designed by a dream team of architects and garden designers including David Adler, Arthur Shurcliff, and the Olmsted Brothers.

“As the nation’s first and Massachusetts’ largest conservation and preservation nonprofit, we strive to create new opportunities for our visitors to enjoy and experience our properties and keep them relevant and exciting for all ages,” says Barbara Erickson, Trustees President and CEO.  “In our highly digitized world, a key focus of our mission is to inspire more people to get out and explore the natural and cultural places that make Massachusetts so beautiful and create opportunities for them to form deeper connections with the land, the great outdoors, and our rich history.  This app provides an opportunity for technology to help us share Castle Hill on the Crane Estate in a new light, as a complement or alternative to our regular tours and special programs at this iconic property.”

The app allows visitors to explore the grounds at their own pace or follow one of The Trustees’ suggested tour routes: Where Nature Meets Culture or Work and Play. It also “introduces” visitors to the five Crane family members who lived here on the estate.  The native app works offline, can be download before one’s visit, and links to the many events, tours, and special events happening at the estate.  The app also includes a visitor survey which will help the staff make continuous improvements throughout the season based on the feedback received.

The Great House at Castle Hill opens for the season on April 15th. Highlights of tours include: Guest of the Cranes tour featuring a “real life” 1929 tour of the Great House by a member of the household staff, where visitors are treated as friends of the Crane family, just arrived for a visit from a long journey; A Cupola with a View tour featuring the sweeping views from the roof terrace of the Great House; Highlights on the Hill: Castle Hill Estate Tour providing a leisurely tour of the grounds from the estate’s electric golf cart and featuring breathtaking views of the gardens and coastline; The Cat’s Meow, an interactive tour for younger visitors and their families with a sneak peak into some of the Crane family’s private rooms and their cat’s favorite hiding places; and, new this year, Help Wanted: Becoming a Servant at Castle Hill featuring a “back of the house” tour before your final interview as a potential staff person for the Crane Family. Any time that the Great House is open, the first floor is open for free, self-guided tours. 

Highlights of upcoming programs include: The Trustees’ annual Home Sweet Home open house day on Saturday, May 20, featuring activities, tours, refreshments and more; Sunrise, Coffee and Conversation on the Roof on April 1 featuring sunrise and conversation Bill McCarthy, impresario of Castle Hill’s Great House, who will take you up on the roof for spectacular views and great stories from his 31 years working at the Crane Estate; later in the summer, Solstice Picnic on the Roof, an opportunity for Trustees’ guests to enjoy a picnic supper on the longest day of the year while enjoying a stellar 360 degree view of Ipswich, Cape Ann, Newbury, and surrounding communities; and prime viewing of the solstice sunset; and the Annual Roaring 20s Lawn Party, this year being held for two days over  the weekend of August 5-6.  For more information on these and many other opportunities to experience Castle Hill on the Crane Estate, visit

The Trustees preserves and cares for some of Massachusetts’ most treasured natural, scenic, and historic sites for public use and enjoyment. Founded in 1891 and celebrating our 125th Anniversary in 2016, we are the world’s first land preservation nonprofit and the Commonwealth’s largest conservation and preservation organization. We believe in protecting the irreplaceable for everyone, forever.  Our passion is to connect more people to outdoor recreation, culture, agriculture, and healthy, active living by using our 116 diverse properties, community spaces, and over 5,000 annual programs as a powerful and compelling platform.  Located within minutes of every resident and visited by 1.6 million people in 2015, our properties span more than 26,000 acres across the state – from working farms, landscaped and urban gardens, and community parks, to barrier beaches, forests, campgrounds, inns and historic sites, many of which are National Historic Landmarks. In addition to our properties, we are also an active leader in land conservation. We hold conservation restrictions on more than 20,000 acres and have worked with community partners to help protect another 25,000 acres across the state. In 2014 we became a founding partner of the Boston Public Market, the first all locally-sourced indoor market of its kind in the nation where we operate our Appleton Farms vendor booth and serve as the educational programming partner for the Market’s demonstration KITCHEN.  Funded by our nearly 125,000 members and supporters, we invite you to get out, get inspired, and find magic in the moment at a Trustees property near you: