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Boston, MA – April 1, 2014 – History buffs, historic home enthusiasts, and explorers: Get out and take a trip back in time during Preservation Month and visit a historic homestead. The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees) are opening 10 of their historic homes around the state on Saturday, May 31st from 10AM - 2PM as part of a FREE "Home Sweet Home" program. The homes – a few of which are rarely open to the public – range from the Colonial era, to the Downton Abbey-esque Gilded Age, to the Modernist retro era of Mad Men. Pack a picnic, get out, enjoy a drive along back roads brilliant with early summer hues, and experience up close how people once lived, including the furnishings, decorative arts and architecture that surrounded them.
“Early summer is the perfect time to plan an adventure or special educational outing with family and friends,” says Trustees President and CEO Barbara Erickson. “Our mission is to get more people off their screens, out of their homes, and in to connecting with the rich cultural and natural resources that our beautiful state has to offer. Our historic homes are filled with interesting art and artifacts that help tell the important story of our local history. And with free entry, we hope to share these historic gems with even more Massachusetts residents.”
The Great House at Castle Hill, Ipswich, MA
Experience the grandeur of the Great House and Castle Hill – a National Historic Landmark. During the Open House, tour the elegant 59-room country house, designed by David Adler, and the surrounding complex of natural and designed landscapes. Learn about the Crane family through the family portrait exhibit. Soak in breathtaking ocean views as you lunch on the terrace at the Castle Hill Café. Play lawn games on the sprawling Grand Allée or explore on your own with the children’s treasure hunt.
Old House at Appleton Farms, Ipswich, MA
Discover the family home at America’s oldest working farm. The Old House, formerly owned for generations by the Appleton family, is a renovated energy-efficient "green building" that now serves as the farm’s visitor center as well as home to the hands-on culinary program Appleton Cooks! “Meet the Appletons” as you enjoy guided tours of the home including the family museum room and family portrait exhibition. Enjoy refreshments on the porch overlooking “Home Field” and visit the on-site dairy store featuring cheese, yogurt and milk made from the farm’s own Jersey cows. More time left? Visit the chickens and cows or take a leisurely walk along the miles of easy and scenic walking trails.
Paine House at Greenwood Farm, Ipswich, MA
Dating back more than 350 years, Greenwood Farm is a former saltwater hay farm offering spectacular views of Cape Ann’s marshlands and coastal islands. Situated on 216 beautifully preserved acres on the edge of the Great Marsh, the farm’s centerpiece is the Paine House (1694), a yellow clapboard saltbox and fine example of First Period architectural design and craftsmanship that is rarely open to the public. Tour a rare 18th century colonial dairy built into the house and meander along the 2.5 miles of trails through scenic pasturelands and salt marsh.
The Stevens-Coolidge Place, North Andover, MA
Step back in time as you explore the Stevens Coolidge Place country estate. Enjoy guided tours of the simple c1800 farmhouse – rarely open to the public – that was transformed into an elegant estate with murals, bowed windows, and many Colonial Revival architectural details. Discover the beautiful garden “rooms” behind the estate, including a kitchen and cut-flower garden, a rose garden, greenhouse complex, and a potager garden (or French vegetable garden) with a brick serpentine wall. Celebrate the recently restored perennial garden with a ribbon cutting at 11:30AM. Plants from the gardens will be on sale, and there will also be refreshments and light snacks.
The Old Manse, Concord MA
Situated near the banks of the Concord River, the Manse is located next to the old North Bridge where the famous battle of April 19, 1775 took place and is a must-see stop on your visit to historic Concord. A National Historic Landmark built in 1770 just before the Revolutionary War by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s grandfather, patriot minister William Emerson, the Manse became the center of Concord’s political, literary, and social revolutions over the course of the next century. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathanial Hawthorne and Henry David Henry David Thoreau all called the Manse home at one time and drafted some of their most famous works there. Enjoy guided tours, light refreshments, and the gift shop during the open house hours.
The Ashley House, Sheffield, MA
History buffs take note! The oldest house in Berkshire County is where Col. John Ashley drafted the Sheffield Resolves in 1773, helping to plant the seeds of the American Revolution. Less than ten years later, Elizabeth Freeman (nicknamed and formerly referred to as "Mum Bett") who was enslaved by the Ashleys, successfully sued for her freedom under the new state constitution in 1781, helping to end slavery in Massachusetts. A key anchor site on the Upper Housatonic Valley African American Heritage Trail (AAHT), The Ashley House features an interpretive exhibit about Freeman designed by local graduate students from UMass Amherst and is filled with original antique furnishings. After your tour, consider stopping by The Trustees’ Bartholomew’s Cobble property next door for some great hiking and, for the energetic, a climb up the 1,000-ft. Hurburt’s Hill for a beautiful view.
Naumkeag, Stockbridge, MA
A visit to Naumkeag provides a stylish glimpse of life and design from a golden time. Just a stone’s throw from downtown Stockbridge, this National Historic Landmark is both a rare surviving example of a Gilded Age Berkshire “cottage” and host to several of the few, publically accessible landscapes designed by Fletcher Steele—the father of modern American landscape design. Self-guided house tours will entrance you with the world of the Choate family and their staff, including original 19th- and 20th-century furniture, art, and the personal and household items of daily life. Naumkeag’s many gardens “rooms” and outdoor landscape features—including Fletcher Steele’s famous Blue Steps—are a pure delight for all ages to explore. The gardens are currently undergoing a sweeping, multi-year restoration to return them to their original brilliance in the scenic beauty of the Berkshires. If you have some extra time, stop by the new café and grab a bite to picnic with in the gardens.
The Mission House, Stockbridge, MA
Down the street from Naumkeag, the Mission House (ca. 1740) harkens back to an even earlier time, when John Sergeant built the structure in his role as the first missionary to the local Stockbridge Mohican tribe. This National Historic Landmark contains an outstanding collection of 18th-century period furnishings and decorative arts, as well as a small Native American museum that tells the story of the Mohicans. Outside, a series of gardens boasts a Colonial Revival garden designed by Fletcher Steele, as well as a charming and bountiful kitchen garden containing 100 herbs, perennials, and annuals that had culinary or medicinal value to early colonists.
The Folly at Field Farm, Williamstown, MA
New England’s youngest historic house museum is an award-winning architectural gem. As its name suggests, The Folly is both a whimsical and daring structure, designed in 1965 by noted post-modernist architect Ulrich Franzen. Its three bedrooms dance around the form of a pinwheel-shaped guest cottage that still contains its original, contemporary furnishings. Situated on 316 pristine, conserved acres, The Folly is paired on the property with The Trustees’ Mid-Century Modern structure, the Guest House at Field Farm (one of two B&Bs owned and managed by the organization). Tours of the Folly are only available for public tours on Saturdays in July and August, so the Open House is a true treat for all who attend. To extend your visit, book a room at The Guest House at Field Farm or take a walk among the scenic hiking trails and sculpture garden, which features work by Richard M. Miller, Phillip Pavia and Herbert Ferber.
The William Cullen Bryant Homestead, Cummington, MA
The bucolic setting of the William Cullen Bryant Homestead provided critical inspiration to one of America's foremost 19th-century poets and newspaper editors. In 1865, William Cullen Bryant converted the two-story farmhouse that once served as his boyhood, summer home into a rambling three-story Victorian cottage. Now a National Historic Landmark, you’ll discover colonial and Victorian pieces from the poet’s family, as well as exotic memorabilia from his extensive European and Asian travels. Outside, you can follow Bryant’s footsteps on this 195-acre pastoral estate, exploring 2.5 miles of hiking trails around the property and ponder how the landscape, portrayed in his poetry 150 years ago, helped inspire the 19th-century land conservation movement that involved Frederic Law Olmsted and his protégé Charles Eliot, founder of The Trustees.
For those who can't make the free open house day, please visit www.thetrustees.org to find historic home visitation hours and/or to schedule a special school tour or group outing.
More about The Trustees of Reservations
The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees) “hold in trust” and care for properties, or “reservations,” of irreplaceable scenic, historic, and natural significance for the general public to enjoy. Founded by open space visionary Charles Eliot in 1891, The Trustees is the world’s oldest land trust and one of Massachusetts’ largest conservation and preservation non profits. Supported by more than 100,000 members and donors and thousands of volunteers, The Trustees own and manage 112 spectacular reservations including working farms, historic homesteads and landscaped gardens, community parks, barrier beaches, mountain vistas and woodland trials located on more than 26,000 acres throughout the Commonwealth. An established leader in the conservation and preservation movement and worldwide, The Trustees have also worked with community partners to protect an additional 34,000 acres.
Trustees’ historic homesteads span the Colonial Era to the Modern Movement – five of which are National Historic Landmarks – representing a preserved timeline of architecture and design over the past 300 years. The Trustees’ legacy of preservation and care for these historic and cultural resources is one of the things that make the organization so unique and provides a compelling platform to engage more Massachusetts residents in our rich history and culture. With hundreds of outreach programs, workshops, camps, concerts and events annually designed to engage all ages in its mission, The Trustees invite you to Find Your Place and get out and experience the natural beauty and culture our state has to offer. For more information, visit: www.thetrustees.org.