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Shirley, MA
89 acres
Bird Watching Cross-country skiing/Snowshoeing Mountain Biking Not Permitted Dog Walking Walking/Hiking (Easy) Picnicking Gardens

About Farandnear

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.

Regulations & Advisories

Please observe these rules and regulations when you visit Farandnear:

  • Dogs are welcome, but must be leashed.
  • Please carry out what you carry in. Littering is prohibited.
  • Disturbing, removing, defacing, cutting or otherwise causing damage to vegetation or any natural feature, sign, poster, barrier, building, or other property at Farandnear is prohibited.
  • All fires are prohibited.
  • Camping is prohibited.
  • Hunting and firearms are prohibited.
  • Mountain biking is prohibited.
  • The reservation is open from sunrise to sunset.
  • Horseback riding is prohibited.

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
Telephone: 978.840.4446
E-mail: information@thetrustees.org

Latitude: 42.5669
Longitude: -71.6556

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
For more information about becoming a member, click here.

Property History

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 Collections
Archival material related to Farandnear is available to researchers at the Archives & Research Center in Sharon, Massachusetts.

FarandnearArthur 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.

FarandnearArthur 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.

The Archives & Research Center welcomes donations of documents, manuscripts, records, photographs, maps and memorabilia that pertain to a particular property. Please contact us at 781.784.8200 or arc@ttor.org.

Conservation and Stewardship

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:

  • Describing in detail the site’s natural, scenic, and historical resources; identifying management issues related to the protection of those resources. 

  • Describing how visitors use the property; outlining the opportunities that the property provides for people to become involved in the work of conservation and caring for their community.

  • Developing a detailed list of management recommendations, a work plan, and a description of financial needs for implementing the actions.

  • Developing a prescribed routine management program for the reservation that will guide staff work plans, volunteer involvement, and the allocation of human and financial resources.

View Farandnear Master Plan >>

Maps and Resources

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.

Planning Your 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:

  • Protect wildlife and plants.
  • Guard against all risk of fire.
  • Help keep air and water clean.
  • Carry out what you carry in.
  • Use marked footpaths and bridle paths.
  • Leave livestock, crops, and machinery alone.
  • Respect the privacy of neighboring land.
  • Enjoy and share the landscape with others.

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.

Tell Us What You Think

We’d love to hear about your visit! Here are three easy ways to let us know what you think:

  1. Take our visitor survey. If you have a question for us, you can ask us in the survey and we’ll get back to you.

  2. Post a comment about your visit on our Facebook page.

  3. Share your experiences with other visitors on our website. Simply fill out the form below, and we’ll post your comment right here on this page.

Submitted by Danielle n Ralph on: March 6, 2016
Our first visit to the site and it was wonderful. Walking along the dikes through the old cranberry bogs was a unique experience. Winter gave us a view to more details such as the stonewalled rims of the bogs still in tact. The old roads, stone walls, and rushing streams made for a very enjoyable Sunday stroll on a cold sunny winter afternoon.

Submitted by George and Nancy on: September 27, 2015
We love the trails! Our puppies say thanks, too! https://goo.gl/photos/KCHMi3HFiEgCPsg8A

Submitted by Jon on: September 23, 2015
I visited for the first time this morning and deeply enjoyed exploring the trails and paths. In fact, the visit inspired me to donate and volunteer. This place is a genuine treasure. Thank you for the care you put into this area.

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