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Summer Day-Tripping with The Trustees of Reservations Get Out and Explore a New Place - all Just a Tank Away!

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Holly Hannaway

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Boston, MAJune  2014 – Whether you’re looking for a day-trip adventure or putting the finishing touches on your summer vacation planning, with miles of sandy beaches to that perfect little swimming hole, The Trustees of Reservations has just the watery place for you to escape to, stress-free and wallet-friendly.

“Summer is the perfect time to plan a day trip, weekend, or week-long adventure with family and friends,” says Trustees President and CEO Barbara Erickson. “Our mission is to inspire more Massachusetts residents and visitors to disconnect with the digital world and reconnect with each other, their communities and the many amazing cultural and natural resources our beautiful state has to offer. From campgrounds to charming Inns, hiking and recreational spots, watering holes, family farms and more, Trustees properties offer something for everyone, and most are  less than aa tank away.”

So pack a picnic, leave your digital devices at home, grab a swimsuit, pack up your family and friends and try one (or all!) of these fun-filled day-tripping ideas across the state.

Take the Plunge North of Boston

Crane BeachWhat’s more summery than a vacation day spent at Crane Beach in Ipswich? Just thirty miles north of Boston, Crane Beach offers more than three miles of pristine sandy beach, mesmerizing views, and inviting waters. Beat the crowds and arrive early to grab a good spot – in the parking lot and on the sand.

If you’re not a full beach-day kind of person, escape the mid-day heat with a trip up to Castle Hill (literally just up the hill) where you can tour the Great House and the beautiful grounds. Cool off in the shade of the terrace overlooking the beach (and beyond!) with a snack from the Castle Hill Café. As the afternoon winds down, swing by the Appleton Farms Dairy Store on the way home (also in Ipswich and conveniently located just off Rte. 1A) to buy cheese, grass-feed beef and fresh produce straight from the farm – the right ingredients for a post-beach cookout!

Dip Your Toes South of Boston – The World’s End, but not quite!

World's EndWhy battle Cape traffic when, just a few miles outside of Boston, you can go to World’s End? A perfect place for picnicking, walking, relaxing or dipping your toes in the water, World’s End offer many public amenities, including water bubblers, benches and public restrooms.

Floating Greater Boston

Just west of Boston, the Charles River Valley is chock-full of day-tripping options. With eight Trustees properties connected by this stretch of Charles River alone, a river trip is the pick if you’re looking to whet your summer appetite outdoor fun. So if you’re not one to sit on a beach and bake, and looking for water adventure close to home, then consider this day-paddling treat just west of Boston:

CedariverThe Put-In… The uppermost Trustees property that was once a riverside farm, Cedariver in Millis boasts beautiful frontage along the Charles River and is a prime spot for paddlers to enjoy a leisurely hike along the mile-long cart path. The property can also be accessed via the DCR boat launch across the street.

Downstream encounter Shattuck Reservation, a paddler-favorite, where trails poke out to the river’s lovely views (and also connects to Noon Hill). The next Trustees property to float by is Bridge Island Meadows, only accessible by canoe or kayak and only when the water is flowing in Bogastow Brook. Watch your timing! 

Next on The Trustees Charles River float is Rocky Narrows in Medfield. By foot or canoe, enjoy incomparable views of the Charles River at its most serene as it slowly winds between granite walls. Or amble among pine groves and past wetlands along seven miles of trails and footpaths. Canoeist or kayaker, river veteran or newcomer, you’ll revel in its gentle current and spectacular natural surroundings.

Thirsty for more? Peters Reservation in Dover, a delightful paddling destination and this riverside retreat, features a mix of natural flora, designed landscape and plantings, and two miles of trails. For the intrepid hiker adventurer looking “to bag” all eight Trustees properties in this neck of the woods, a short trail extension leads to Chase Woodlands

The Take-Out? The Charles River Peninsula in Needham, surrounded on three sides by the river, is accessible by either foot or boat and makes for a perfectly serene picnic spot. Boaters ending their day can access the State Department of Conservation and Recreation boat launch adjacent to parking lot. The reservation has two boat landings.

Boaters take note, it is about a 20-mile float from Cedariver to the Charles River Peninsula which could take close to eight hours so please prepare accordingly and bring a map! For questions about this trip (or sections of this trip) including boat access and property accessibility, and for more information about The Charles River Valley Trustees properties, email or call 508.785.0339.

Central Mass: Take the Royalston Plunge!

Tully Lake CampgroundThe Trustees’ Tully Lake Campground is a great place to rest and relax, but not all the water in Royalston is so placid. With a little effort, you can have your own wilderness experience right here in Massachusetts − with rugged ravines and plunging waterfalls − and be back at the campfire in time for s’mores! Feeling even more adventurous? Try hiking to them all on the 22-mile Tully Trail.

Royalston Falls, located not far from the New Hampshire border in Royalston, down a short, challenging trail and deep within a gorge carved over eons, would inspire awe, even without its impressive waterfall. Venture upstream to find large, glacial potholes and a natural bridge in the bedrock. As always, watch for slippery rocks and steep drop-offs − this is waterfall country!

At Spirit Falls at Jacobs Hill, Royalston, you won’t find the loudest, frothiest, water but rather an extended set of cascades dropping for more than a quarter mile on the East Branch of the Tully River. For a quiet sojourn, trek up to the birthplace of the falls at Little Pond, a classic northern bog. Or cross the stream at Spirit Falls and visit the spectacular stone ledges.

Doane’s Falls, also in Royalston, are the most popular series of cascades (Upper, Middle, and Lower) in the north-of-Quabbin region. This dramatic stretch of the Lawrence River also is situated just yards from a roadside parking lot. And the delightful Tully Lake Campground is just down the road!

Out West: Come on over, the water’s fine!

“You can’t get there from here!” Well actually, you can. Western Massachusetts is only a few hours care ride from Boston – and it’s well worth the drive.

Glendale Falls in Middlefield is carved from an ancient rock face by a stream flowing into the federally-designated Wild & Scenic Westfield River. This natural wonder is one of the highest and longest waterfalls in Massachusetts. When water levels are low, wide rock ledges provide a great place to sit and take in the view across the hills. Best of all, you can access the 150 foot series of cascades from either a short walk from the parking lot or from neat, winding trail that follows the falls.

While Chapel Brook in Ashfield can roar when it rains, on hot, drier days it’s a playful treat! Nestled in the woods close to the road are a long series of small cascades, smooth stone slides and calm pools. It’s the perfect place to cool your feet after a hike on the nearby Bullitt or Bear Swamp Reservations, or after a rock climbing session across the street on Pony Mountain.  

Exploring Cape Cod: By Hook or by Crook

Cape Cod is home to the National Seashore and if you are looking for a new way to explore the Cape, The Trustees has three reservations that are off the beaten path. At the very tip of the Cape you’ll find Dunes’ Edge Campground in Provincetown – a great place to spend the night if you want to catch a full day in the country’s oldest artist colony or spend a day walking on the back shore.

Mashpee River ReservationAt the other end of Cape Cod, you can explore the Mashpee River Reservation in Mashpee. The Mashpee is a pristine, tidal river that begins at Mashpee-Wakeby pond and empties into Pirate’s Cove on Popponesset Bay.  Walk along the shoreline, paddle, fly fish, or go for a swim. After a day on the water, bring a bit of Holiday whimsy into your summer and visit Lowell Holly Reservation which borders the Mashpee River Reservation and is home to a grove of 250 native American holly trees.

The Islands: Go Native

If you’re planning a vacation or day-trip to Nantucket, drive in any direction and you’ll find a beach! Yet the best one, far from civilization and where the natives go, is Coaskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge. With 16 miles of trails on Coskata-Coatue, you can explore for hours and not see another soul, except a sunbathing seal. The Trustees own and manage 1,200 acres of barrier beach, with hidden cedar groves, ponds, and inlets. Take our guided wildlife tour to Great Point Lighthouse and learn about the protected shorebirds, rare plants and edible berries.

For the beach-hoppers, Martha’s Vineyard has a Trustees reservation for every type of beach experience. Ask anyone on Martha’s Vineyard the best place to go for summer fun and they’ll point you to one of five Trustees properties on island.

Wasque is the place where the bass and bluefish are running. Hikers will find 1.5 miles of trails to follow; children will love chasing butterflies and nature watchers can observe many species of shorebirds. You can purchase an oversand vehicle permit and drive on the beach. Make a day of being on the southeast corner of the Island and visit Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge and Mytoi.

While on Cape Poge, take one of The Trustees’ popular Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge Tours. Family-friendly programs (Memorial Day to Columbus Day) include daily lighthouse, kayak, and seaside exploration. You don't need to bring a car to Chappaquiddick – The Trustees offer complimentary van pickup for guided tour participants on the Chappy side of the Chappy Ferry. Call 508.627.3599 for more information and to book your reservation.

MytoiMytoi is an intimate Japanese garden Hidden on the tiny island of Chappaquiddick. Before or after your Cape Poge exploration, Mytoi offers natural serenity and a place of contemplation – the perfect place to find your Om.

Start or end your day with a trail run or walk through Menemsha Hills. Scale Prospect Hill, the second highest point on the island and take in spectacular views of the Menemsha Harbor entrance, the Elizabeth Islands and Gay Head Light.

More about The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees)
The Trustees of Reservations is one of Massachusetts largest non-profits and the nation’s first conservation and preservation organizations. Founded by open space visionary Charles Eliot in 1891, we preserve and protect places of natural, scenic and historic beauty and hold these “reservations” in “trust” for public use and enjoyment. We believe in protecting the irreplaceable forever, for everyone and to improve the quality of life in the Commonwealth, using our properties and their many programs as a powerful and compelling platform to engage more residents and visitors in our mission-driven work..  Today, we care for 112 spectacular reservations located on more than 26,000 acres -- from beaches to working farms, landscaped gardens, community parks, and historic sites – within minutes of every resident. Funded and supported entirely by our nearly 2 million visitors and supporters, and more than 100,000 members, we also offer hundreds of outreach programs, workshops, camps, concerts and events designed to engage all ages in our work., We 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:

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Holly Hannaway

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© 2019 The Trustees of Reservations
The Trustees is a 501c3 nonprofit organization
Est. 1891