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Boston, MA – April 2017 – With spring finally here and summer upon us, The Trustees is opening up the doors to its historic homesteads and gardens, clearing trails, prepping for programs, and otherwise embracing the natural delights of the season to share with its Massachusetts members, residents, and visitors. As of April 15th, Trustees historic homesteads are open for tours and events--including its newest cultural site, Fruitlands Museum in Harvard--and the organization is offering more than 1,000 events and programs tailor-made to inspire all ages to get outside, learn a new skill, discover or rediscover a special place.
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.
“In New England, spring is always more than just a welcome seasonal change, it’s a celebration!” says Kristen Swanberg, Director of Programming for The Trustees. “And although we really embrace winter at the Trustees, the rebirth and renewal of spring is especially exciting at our properties. This season we are offering even more skill-building workshops and classes across the state from popular homesteading hobbies like keeping chickens and bees, to gardening and arts and crafts. You’ll find new kids offerings including Preschool Programs running April through June, as well as even more special events for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. We truly have something for everyone, no matter what their age.”
With so many properties and programs to choose from statewide, there’s no excuse not to get outside and be active! Below is a sampling of ideas on how to spring into summer at Trustees properties, but many more can be found at www.thetrustees.org. Most properties and programs are free or discounted up to 50% for members who also receive many other benefits year-round.
Fun for the Family
The Trustees annual free, statewide “Home Sweet Home” Open House Day is back by popular demand and will take place on Saturday, May 20th from 10AM-4PM at historic sites around the states, several of which are not regularly open to the public. Held annually in May during National Preservation Month, The Trustees has been inviting Massachusetts residents and visitors of all ages over the last four years to experience some of its most historically significant properties and landmarks through a day of tours and activities planned across the state. The ten sites include Fruitlands Museum in Harvard (the Trustees newest property), Castle Hill on the Crane Estate in Ipswich, the Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate in Canton, the Stevens-Coolidge Place in North Andover, The Old Manse in Concord, The Ashley House in Sheffield, Naumkeag House & Gardens in Stockbridge, the Mission House in Stockbridge, The Folly at Field Farm in Williamstown and the William Cullen Bryant Homestead in Cummington.
This year’s event theme, “The Language of Nature,” highlights the special places of the Trustees that have been, and continue to be, a source of inspiration and refuge for writers. In keeping with the literary theme, The Trustees will also be launching Little Free Libraries at seven of the homes open on Home Sweet Home day, including the Crane Estate, the Bradley Estate, Fruitlands Museum, Stevens-Coolidge Place, the Old Manse, Bryant Homestead and Mission House. Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world. These Little Free Libraries, launching at Trustees properties in part thanks to contributions from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, will become a permanent part of each property and will be available outdoors spring through fall, as weather allows. Visitors are encouraged to bring a book to donate, pack a picnic, step back in time, and spend the day exploring the beauty, history, art, collections and stories contained within Trustees historic homesteads and the exquisitely designed gardens and natural landscapes that surround them.
There are all sorts of creative ways to celebrate Mom and Dad with The Trustees this year. A Mother’s Day Brunch Picnic and Lilac Festival at Stevens-Coolidge Place, brunch cooking class at Appleton Farms in Hamilton and Ipswich, or Mother’s Day Brunch at Powisset Farm in Dover are classic mom-pleasers. For tea loving moms, Castle Hill on the Crane Estate will host A Fairy House Tea, the Bradley Estate offers a Mad Hatter Tea and Croquet Celebration and the Bryant Homestead has Tea and Poetry at the Homestead. For outdoorsy moms who would prefer to hike, there’s Moms on the Trail, a special guided hike at the popular Medfield recreation destination, Rocky Woods, and a Wildflower Walk at World’s End in Hingham. For dads, there’s Father’s Free at Naumkeag, a Father’s Day Canoe Trip and a BBQ on the Hill at Bart’s Cobble – all in western Massachusetts. Castle Hill even has a Father's Day Weekend Family Campout this year, a rare opportunity to stay over on the Crane Estate’s epic landscape. And for those music-loving families, don’t miss the bluegrass bands! Chestnut Hill Farm in Southborough with host a Father’s Day Bluegrass BBQ, as will Appleton Farms and Powisset Farm, and the Farm Institute on Martha’s Vineyard and Stevens-Coolidge Place will do their own Bluegrass Bash as well.
Families with very little ones will be delighted to learn that the Trustees is launching more preschool programs statewide, new this year, perfectly geared for those under five and a caregiver. Appleton Farms, Weir River Farm, Chestnut Hill Farm, Powisset Farm and The Farm Institute will all offer a Preschool Farm Explorers program and dates range from April through June. Bird Park in Walpole will run Outdoor Preschool Adventures and Rocky Woods is offering Wild Ones Nature Adventures. The Trustees also has five summer camps to chose from this summer, including camps at Weir River Farm, World’s End, Appleton Farms, the Crane Estate, and the Farm Institute on the Vineyard, with programs for various age groups. Register today!
At the end of the month, Weir River Farm’s annual Sheep Shearing Festival starts off the season and is followed by Powisset Farm’s day-long Springfest in May. The spectacular showing of native flowers at the Wildflower Festival at Bartholomew’s Cobble runs through May 7, offering a unique diversity of plant species in a very small area, plus the perk of expert guides to point out the harder-to-spot varieties.
Summer Farm Dinners and Solstice Celebrations
The Trustees’ popular Farm Dinner Season begins at the end of June with multiple dates at Weir River Farm, Powisset 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!
Ringing in the seasonal solstices is fast becoming a new tradition at The Trustees, where December’s winter solstice was a huge hit across the state. This June, celebrate the longest day of the year in historic fashion at the Old North Bridge the Old Manse, in a magical garden at Midsummer Mocktails at Mytoi gardens on Martha’s Vineyard, with a striking view of the Boston skyline at World’s End or with coastal panorama on the roof at Castle Hill on the Crane Estate.
Green Thumbs and Gardens Galore!
The Trustees owns and manages glorious gardens through the state to choose from, whether it’s a garden tour, workshop, or special event. Starting June 14 with a public opening event, 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 chose from a line up of horticultural lectures and outdoor concerts perfect for all ages.
For beginner gardeners or green thumbs looking to expand their knowledge, Trustees horticulturalist Eric Ruquist at the renowned Naumkeag House & Gardens will be hosting educational workshops ranging from how to plan and plant a Cutting Garden of Summer Blooms to about the unusual varieties of fuchsias and the secrets to their success. You can go on a Seasonal Stroll with Castle Hill Horticulturalist Benjamin Carroll and Meet the Real Gardeners of Castle Hill to learn all that goes into the diligent care of this striking National Historic Landmark. Stevens-Coolidge Place, known for it’s many formal gardens, will be hosting monthly gardening workshops, including Scentsational Flower Pot, Pest Walk. New Bedford’s Allen C. Haskell Public Gardens kicks things off with its popular Spring Plant Sale on May 6 and continues with workshops throughout the summer like Soil and Compost: the Foundation of the Garden, Having Fun with Hostas and All Things Hydrangeas.
For urban garden enthusiasts, the annual South End Garden Tour is coming up on June 17, and is centered this year on gardens and green space around the Eight Streets, Union Park, Old Dover and SOWA neighborhoods. Always a hit with it’s mix of public and private spaces including back yards, front gardens, roof deck gardens, community gardens, and neighborhood 'pocket parks, the tour will feature artists painting live and selling their wet works at the closing reception. Also in Boston, gardeners can learn about Raised Bed Gardening, Container Gardening, Composting, and even Garden Mixology at the garden workshops at the Trustees’ Boston Community Gardens or take their skills one step further with Trustees’ homesteading classes, ranging from Wooden Spoon Carving at Appleton Farms to Beekeeping for Beginners at The Farm Institute on Martha’s Vineyard. Those who are Berkshires-bound for the summer or natives can learn how to Grow Your Own Mushrooms at Notchview in Windsor or attend the back-by-popular demand Chainsaw Skills for Women workshop at Bartholomew’s Cobble.
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, and/or a Meat CSA at Powisset Farm and Weir River Farm can become a family affair that encourages picking up and cooking healthy meals together. Farmstands and Pop Up Meat Sales are another way to access top quality, local meats if a regular commitment is hard to keep.
Free Spring & Summer Fun
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, starting April 15. 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.
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 with Trustees staycation adventures
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.
For beach lovers, the islands are perfection, nearby! The Trustees’ Oversand Vehicle Permits for Coskata-Coatue Wildife Refuge on Nantucket and Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge, Norton Point Beach and Wasque on Martha’s Vineyard offer a new way to explore these protected lands and their trails, dunes, lighthouses, and salt air off the beaten path.
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 Sheep Shearing Festival or Summer Solstice at Weir River Farm, Springfest or a Farm Dinner at Powisset Farm, or through a regular program like weekly Open Barnyard at Weir River, if time allows. Come get your hands dirty on May 12, National Public Gardens Day, at numerous Trustees locations, like Naumkeag in the Berkshires and Starr Lane Park in Jamaica Plain. Volunteers as young as 12 can join in with a guardian. Visit thetrustees.org/volunteer 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: http://www.thetrustees.org/things-to-do/.
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 from May 2016-2017, The Trustees is the first land preservation nonprofit of its kind in the world and the Commonwealth’s largest conservation and preservation organization. With a passion for protecting the irreplaceable for everyone, forever, The Trustees is focusing its renewed mission on connecting more people of all ages and interests to outdoor recreation, culture, agriculture, and healthy, active living using its 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 1.75 million people in 2016, Trustees properties span more than 27,000 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. The Trustees is also a worldwide model and active leader in land conservation, serving as the largest private holder of conservation restrictions of any entity in the state, overseeing the protection of more than 20,000 acres, and working with community’s partners to protect additional land, totaling over 25,000 acres to date. Also leader in the local, sustainable food movement, The Trustees operates five working farms with CSA programs, holds over 2,000 acres of farmland, and is a founding partner of the Boston Public Market, the first all locally-sourced indoor market of its kind in the nation, where it runs all educational programming at the Market’s demonstration KITCHEN and is one of 40 on-site vendors. Funded by our nearly 125,000 members and supported by many generous donors, partners, and volunteers, The Trustees invites all to get out, get inspired, and find magic in the moment through a Trustees program or property: www.thetrustees.org.