Near enough for regular visits, but with a feeling of remoteness that will transport you far from your cares, Farandnear lives up to its name.
What Makes Farandnear a Special Place?
Farandnear was the summer home of Arthur Banks – an accomplished political scientist and professor – and his family for several generations. Banks’ grandfather, Charles Goodspeed, named the property, because, at 50 miles from his home in Wollaston, it was “far” enough to require a two-days’ journey by horse to reach, but “near” enough to be a vacation home. Farandnear will be open for you to enjoy, forever, thanks to the generosity of Arthur Banks, The Trustees of Reservations, and people like you.
What to See and Do
There’s more than meets the eye at Farandnear. Its park-like grounds are perfect for playing, picnicking, relaxing, and more. Along its 2.7 miles of easy wooded trails, you’ll find fields of wildflowers; an arboretum full of more than 80 cool conifer trees; and the remnants of an old cranberry bog. And don’t miss “Paradise,” where huge hemlocks grow.
Fun for You
LISTEN: You’ll hear lots of birds calling, including black-capped chickadees, catbirds, and barred owls.
COUNT: How many butterflies and dragonflies can you see in the wildflower fields?
PLAY: Race around the trees in the arboretum.
LOOK: You might find black bear, bobcat, or deer tracks on the ground.
2.5 mi. of trails
When to Visit
Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset.
Please observe these rules and regulations when you visit Farandnear:
The Trustees reserves the right to photograph or video visitors and program participants for promotional use, and usage of our properties implies consent. Find the full policy here.
Center Road, Shirley, MA 01464
Get directions on Google Maps.
From Points East
From I-495 S take exit 29B to merge onto MA-2 W toward Leominster. Take exit 36 toward Shirley Road/Shirley. Merge onto Fort Pond Road (0.1 mi). Turn left onto Shirley Road (0.9 mi) and continue onto Lancaster Road (1.2 mi). Take a slight left onto Center Road (1.6 mi) and parking for Farandnear will be on your left.
From Points West
From MA-2 E take exit 36 toward Shirley Road. Keep right at the fork, follow signs for Shirley Road/Shirley/Ayer and merge onto Shirley Road (1.0 mi). Continue onto Lancaster Road (1.2 mi). Take a slight left onto Center Road (1.6 mi) and parking for Farandnear will be on your left.
When to Visit
Year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of ½ hour.
FREE to all
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In 1902, Charles E. Goodspeed bought 3 acres of land and built a shingle-style summer cottage to be used as a healthful place of retreat for his asthmatic daughter Miriam. He dubbed the home “Farandnear” because at a distance of 50 miles, the town of Shirley was a far distance to travel from their Boston home, but near enough to enjoy as a seasonal residence. The next three generations of Goodspeed’s family used and expanded the property, eventually creating a year-round home, a small golf course used by people in the community, and a pine arboretum, or “pinetum.” The property eventually passed to Miriam and her husband Gordon Banks, who had three children: Arthur, Barbara and Shirley.
The Goodspeed and Banks family were perhaps best known for their ownership and operation of Goodspeed Booksellers in Boston, which opened in 1898 and closed in 1993. For nearly a century, Goodspeed Booksellers was a source for rare books, first additions, art books, autographs, etchings, engravings, art prints and mezzotints. They managed the sale and auction of many large book collections, published reproduction prints of historical scenes and limited edition books on numerous subjects related to sporting and fishing, and had a department specializing in genealogies and town histories.
The original cottage was destroyed by fire in 1939, and a two-family house was built. Arthur Banks inherited the property, though, as a professor specializing in documenting world politics, he spent much of his time away from Shirley, and returned to the property in the summers.
Arthur eventually added two more parcels of land. One was a cranberry bog run as a cooperative by a group of families in Shirley. The other was a 10-acre pasture and hemlock forest that included a ravine in the Spruce Swamp Brook, locally known as “Paradise” for its isolation and scenic beauty.
Perhaps Arthur’s most notable addition to the property is his creation of a unique “pinetum,” containing over 80 species of conifers. The pinetum has been recognized and visited by members of the American Conifer Society, with an article about the property appearing in the spring 2001 edition of their quarterly magazine entitled, Farandnear: A Small New England Pinetum.
Along with the donation of the property, Arthur Banks left a collection of books, prints, and other artifacts to The Trustees, which are now cared for by our Cultural Resources staff. Our Archives and Research Center in Sharon also contains digital scans of the family’s papers and photographs.
Archival material related to Farandnear is available to researchers at the Archives & Research Center in Sharon, Massachusetts.
Arthur S. Banks Manuscripts
(0.5 linear feet)
Materials collected by political scientist Arthur Banks (grandson of Charles Goodspeed, who founded Goodspeed’s Bookshop), many relating to the history of Boston, 1470–1980.
Arthur S. Banks Papers Regarding Farandnear
(1.67 linear feet)
Regarding the life of Arthur S. Banks at Farandnear after his retirement from Binghamton University in 1996 to his death in 2011. The materials include a property plan from 1900, materials relating to his life in Shirley, and information about the creation of his “pinetum,” an arboretum of pines and coniferous trees, containing over eighty species of conifers.
Management Planning for Our Properties
Since 1891, The Trustees of Reservations have worked to protect special places in Massachusetts and maintain them to the highest standards. To ensure these standards are met, a program of careful planning and sound management is essential. Comprehensive property management plans are created for each reservation and are completely updated approximately every ten years. We often work with volunteers, property users, and members of the community to carry out this planning, which typically involves several steps:
Trail maps are available at the bulletin board in the parking lot. Please understand that supplies periodically run out. We recommend that you download a trail map before you visit.
Before You Go
Wherever your travels take you, please observe all posted regulations, follow special instructions from property staff, and keep in mind the Stewardship Code:
Click on links below for further visitor information:
Dog Walkers’ Etiquette
Before Setting Out
Enjoying other Trustees Properties
Opportunities for Hunting on Designated Trustees’ Properties
We encourage you to visit as many Trustees properties as you can.
We’d love to hear about your visit! Here are three easy ways to let us know what you think:
Our challenge to get out and hit the trails. Hike 125 miles between May 21 & December 31 and be entered to win prizes.
Let's get hiking >>