Crane Outdoor Adventures Program

Crane Wildlife Refuge: kayaks

Contact Information

Register online by clicking on the event title or call or email:
Dorothy Antczak
978.356.4351, x4052 or
978.810.5892
dantczak@thetrustees.org

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We're going to bet you've heard of Crane Beach, but have you ever wondered what else Crane has to offer? Well this spring, we're launching a full line up of new adventures around the Crane Estate to let you experience the beautiful, wild, and scenic parts of Crane that you haven't seen before.

Upcoming Adventures:

Beach Plum Picking & Jam Workshop
Wednesday, September 7 | 5-9PM

Join us to gather these sweet and tart beach plums at Crane Beach. We’ll then head up to the Great House kitchen to make beach plum jam. All materials will be provided and participants are welcome to take their hard work home!  Pre-registration required. Adults only.



Members $68; Nonmembers $85

Painting Choate
Thursday, September 15 | 10AM-2PM

Pack your palette, your paintbrush, your easel and all the supplies you’ll need – including a bag lunch and snacks for fortification! – to take full advantage of this rare opportunity to paint the coveted sights from Choate Island. Overlooking the Great Marsh with views that stretch to the coast of Gloucester, Choate is an ideal vantage point to capture spectacular images of this iconic landscape.

We will transport you and your materials to and from Choate Island by boat, then truck you to a general area of your choosing. Upon registration, we’ll send a confirmation letter with suggestions of what to bring along to optimize comfort and minimize misery! Pre-registration required.



Members: $28; Nonmembers: $35

View the Harvest Moon Rise!
Friday, September 16 | 6-9PM

Crane Beach is the ideal vantage point to view the spectacular Harvest Moon as it rises from the horizon. Join us for a glass of wine and hors d‘oeuvres as we watch this majestic moon climb into the night sky. Known also as the Barley Moon and the Corn Moon, the Harvest Moon rise corresponds to the ripening of many of the Native American’s staple crops, and its particularly bright appearance and early rise allowed farmers to continue harvesting into the night. Traditionally, the name goes to the full moon nearest the autumnal equinox; once or twice a decade this moon rises in October. This is a 21 and over event. Pre-registration required.



Members: $36; Nonmembers: $45

Kayak to Choate
Saturday, September 17 | 2-5PM

A paddle and a hike – what better way to spend an end-of-summer day? Join us as we paddle across Essex Bay from the Trustees of Reservations boat dock to Choate Island. We’ll beach our boats for a tour of the island, stopping in at the Proctor Barn, the White Cottage and the Choate House, then continuing up to the highest point on the island where Cornelius and Miné Crane are buried. After the hike, we’ll kayak around the island to enjoy the views from the water (tides permitting). Please note: Limited to ages 15 and older. You must be a competent swimmer to participate in this program, and have some previous kayaking experience; limited to ages 15 and older. Pre-registration required.



Members: $32 Nonmembers: $40

Kayak To Choate
Sunday, September 18 | 2-5PM

A paddle and a hike – what better way to spend an end-of-summer day? Join us as we paddle across Essex Bay from the Trustees of Reservations boat dock to Choate Island. We’ll beach our boats for a tour of the island, stopping in at the Proctor Barn, the White Cottage and the Choate House, then continuing up to the highest point on the island where Cornelius and Miné Crane are buried. After the hike, we’ll kayak around the island to enjoy the views from the water (tides permitting). Please note: Limited to ages 15 and older. You must be a competent swimmer to participate in this program, and have some previous kayaking experience; limited to ages 15 and older. Pre-registration required.



Members: $32; Nonmembers: $40

Choate Island Tour
Saturday, September 24 | 2-5PM

Enjoy one stunning view after the next as we explore Choate Island, a drumlin that is part of the Crane Wildlife Refuge, an island-studded patchwork of salt marsh and tidal creeks located in Essex Bay. During this guided tour, participants will walk a spectacular network of carriageways and footpaths that link cobbled beaches and grassy fields with forested hillsides and historic buildings. We’ll take a look inside the 1778 Proctor Barn, and the Choate House, built around 1725, then continue up to the highest point on the island, where the Crane Family burial ground looks out over Plum Island Sound. This tour includes a complimentary boat ride to and from the refuge. Please note: the full round-trip hike is a distance of approximately four miles, and is fairly strenuous.



Members: $24; Nonmembers: $30

Choate Island Tour
Sunday, September 25 | 2-5PM

Enjoy one stunning view after the next as we explore Choate Island, a drumlin that is part of the Crane Wildlife Refuge, an island-studded patchwork of salt marsh and tidal creeks located in Essex Bay. During this guided tour, participants will walk a spectacular network of carriageways and footpaths that link cobbled beaches and grassy fields with forested hillsides and historic buildings. We’ll take a look inside the 1778 Proctor Barn, and the Choate House, built around 1725, then continue up to the highest point on the island, where the Crane Family burial ground looks out over Plum Island Sound. This tour includes a complimentary boat ride to and from the refuge. Please note: the full round-trip hike is a distance of approximately four miles, and is fairly strenuous.



Members: $24; Nonmembers: $30

Kayak to Choate
Sunday, October 2 | 2-5PM

A paddle and a hike – what better way to spend an end-of-summer day? Join us as we paddle across Essex Bay from the Trustees of Reservations boat dock to Choate Island. We’ll beach our boats for a tour of the island, stopping in at the Proctor Barn, the White Cottage and the Choate House, then continuing up to the highest point on the island where Cornelius and Miné Crane are buried. After the hike, we’ll kayak around the island to enjoy the views from the water (tides permitting). Please note: You must be a competent swimmer to participate in this program, and have some previous kayaking experience; limited to ages 15 and older. Pre-registration required.



Member: $36; Nonmember: $45.

Choate Island Tour & showing of The Crucible with picnic supper
Saturday, October 15 | 4-9PM

Enjoy one stunning view after the next as we explore Choate Island, site of The Crucible filming. The tour will focus on the history of Choate, once known as Hog Island, and will include anecdotes about the cast and crew of The Crucible, and the trials of filming on a remote island in the middle of a salt marsh. After the hike, we’ll stop at the Barn for a delicious picnic supper prepared by Ferreira Foods of Salem and adult beverages, followed by an outdoor showing of the film. This tour includes a complimentary boat ride to and from the refuge. Please note: the full round-trip hike is a distance of approximately four miles, and is fairly strenuous – but we will have a long rest with dinner and the movie, so the distance will be easier to manage.  Pre-registration required; this is a 21 and older event. Tickets are limited.



Member: $52; Nonmember: $65.

Full Moon & Folklore HIke
Sunday, October 16 | 7-9PM

Native American tribes, including the local Algonquin-speaking tribes, named this full moon the Hunter’s Moon. Traditionally, fields were reaped in late September or early October, making it easy for hunters to spot animals gleaning the fallen grains by the light of the moon. Deer and other game animals have fattened in anticipation of dwindling food supplies, and it’s time to begin storing up meat for the long winter ahead. Please note: We will be hiking up and down dunes, through soft sand, for approximately 3-3½ miles. Recommended for ages 13 & up. Pre-registration is required.



Member: $9; Nonmember: $15.

Choate Island Tour
Sunday, October 16 | 2-5PM

Enjoy one stunning view after the next as we explore Choate Island, a drumlin that is part of the Crane Wildlife Refuge. We’ll take a look inside the 1778 Proctor Barn, and the Choate House, built around 1725, then continue up to the highest point on the island, where the Crane Family burial ground looks out over Plum Island Sound. This tour includes a complimentary boat ride to and from the refuge. Please note: the full round-trip hike is a distance of approximately four miles, and is fairly strenuous. Recommended for ages 13 & up. Pre-registration is required.



Member: $28; Nonmember: $35.

Choate Island Tour
Saturday, October 22 | 2-5PM

Enjoy one stunning view after the next as we explore Choate Island, a drumlin that is part of the Crane Wildlife Refuge. We’ll take a look inside the 1778 Proctor Barn, and the Choate House, built around 1725, then continue up to the highest point on the island, where the Crane Family burial ground looks out over Plum Island Sound. This tour includes a complimentary boat ride to and from the refuge. Please note: the full round-trip hike is a distance of approximately four miles, and is fairly strenuous. Recommended for ages 13 & up. Pre-registration is required.



Member: $28; Nonmember: $35.

Choate Island Tour
Sunday, October 23 | 2-5PM

Enjoy one stunning view after the next as we explore Choate Island, a drumlin that is part of the Crane Wildlife Refuge. We’ll take a look inside the 1778 Proctor Barn, and the Choate House, built around 1725, then continue up to the highest point on the island, where the Crane Family burial ground looks out over Plum Island Sound. This tour includes a complimentary boat ride to and from the refuge. Please note: the full round-trip hike is a distance of approximately four miles, and is fairly strenuous. Recommended for ages 13 & up. Pre-registration is required.



Member $28: Nonmember: $35

Haunted "Black Moon" Hike
Sunday, October 30 | 7-9PM

Join us for a harrowing Halloween Hike through the haunted trails of the Crane Wildlife Refuge! This night boasts the only “black moon” of 2016, so it will be very dark and scary! Bring someone you can hold on to – and be prepared to hike through soft sand up and down hills for approximately 1.5 miles! We’ll finish our adventure with witches brew and pumpkin bread around a campfire on the beach.



Member: $15; Nonmember: $25.

Cranberry Workshop
Wednesday, November 2 | 2-6PM

With our staff naturalist as your guide, join us for opportunity to pick cranberries in the bogs that hide in the dunes of Castle Neck. Later, we’ll head up to the Great House kitchen on Castle Hill to make something tasty. We’ll even send you home with a few of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes! Please note: We will be hiking up and down through the soft sand in the dunes for approximately 2 miles to get out to the bogs - a fairly strenuous walk. Limited to ages 15 and older. Pre-registration required.



Member: $68; Nonmember: $85.

Cranberry Workshop
Thursday, November 3 | 2-6PM

With our staff naturalist as your guide, join us for opportunity to pick cranberries in the bogs that hide in the dunes of Castle Neck. Later, we’ll head up to the Great House kitchen on Castle Hill to make something tasty. We’ll even send you home with a few of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes! Please note: We will be hiking up and down through the soft sand in the dunes for approximately 2 miles to get out to the bogs - a fairly strenuous walk. Limited to ages 15 and older. Pre-registration required.



Member: $68; Nonmember: $85.

The Long Way Around Hike
Saturday, November 5 | 10AM-3PM

This hike explores the wild wonders of the dune trails through the Crane Wildlife Refuge, from the Crane Beach parking area to Essex Point and back again! We’ll launch our long walk at the dunes trailhead, and make our way along the backside of Crane Beach, then tuck into the dunes again to reach Essex Point. A bag lunch prepared by Ferreira Foods of Salem will be delivered to us at the approximate halfway point. Come prepared for a leisurely long-way-around walk of about 8.5 miles! Please note: We will be hiking up and down through the soft sand in the dunes – a strenuous walk. Recommended for ages 13 & up. Pre-registration is required. 



Member: $32; Nonmember: $40.

Full Moon & Folklore HIke
Monday, November 14 | 6-8PM

This November’s Full Beaver Moon is closer to the Earth than any full moon since January 26, 1948! Also called the Frosty Moon, it heralds the coming winter, and serves as a warning that ponds and swamps will soon freeze. Beavers are particularly active around this moon, storing food and making repairs to their lodge. Native American tribes knew this moon appeared when it was time to set beaver traps to ensure a supply of warm winter furs. Please note: We will be hiking up and down dunes, through soft sand, for approximately 3-3½ miles – a strenuous hike. Recommended for ages 13 & up. Pre-registration is required.



Member: $9; Nonmember: $15.

Stop, Look & Listen Tour
Saturday, November 19 | 1-3PM

An outdoor adventure for the whole family! We’ll walk the Cedar Point loop, investigating the trail for tracks and telltales, piecing together evidence that will help us see the story in the landscape. Bring your sharp senses and your skills of observation! We’ll end the hike in the Pine Grove with a bonfire and hot chocolate. This walk encompasses a loop of about 1 ½ to 2 miles; for the most part the walk will follow a dirt road, but parts of the trail traverse soft sand and the beach. Pre-registration required.



Member: $5; Nonmember: $10.

Full Moon & Folklore Hike
Tuesday, December 13 | 6-8PM

In December, the winter cold fastens its grip, and nights are at their longest and darkest. The Algonquin tribes aptly named this full moon the Long Nights Moon or the Cold Moon. It is also sometimes called the Moon before Yule. This midwinter full Moon has a high trajectory across the sky because it is diametrically opposite to the low Sun. This particular full moon coincides with the peak of the Geminid Meteor Showers. Weather permitting, we’ll end our hike with hot chocolate around a bonfire on the beach. Please note: We will be hiking up and down dunes, through soft sand, for approximately 3-3½ miles – a strenuous hike. Recommended for ages 13 & up. Pre-registration is required.



Member: $9; Nonmember: $15.

Ornaments from Nature
Saturday, December 17 | 10AM-12Noon

Join us as we gather washed-ashore treasures from the beach to create beautiful and unique ornaments and decorations to celebrate the Holidays! Fun for the whole family! 



Member: Adult $9, Child $6; Nonmember: Adult $15, Child $10.

Snowy Owl Prowl
Sunday, December 18 | 10AM-12Noon

Wide-open coastal sites are the location of choice for wintering Snowy Owls; common perches are dunes and salt hay staddles. In winters past, they have been frequent visitors to the Crane Wildlife Refuge. Join us as we hike the dunes in search of these magnificent birds. Unlike most owls, snowy owls are diurnal—they hunt and are active both day and night – so we have a good chance of sighting one even in the daylight hours! Please note: We will be hiking up and down dunes, through soft sand, for approximately 2½-3 miles. Suggested ages 13 and older. Pre-registration required.



Member: $9; Nonmember: $15.

Dunes to Tavern Solstice Stroll
Wednesday, December 21 | 6-9PM

Join us for a leisurely hike through the dunes of the Crane Wildlife Refuge to celebrate the winter solstice. On this, the shortest day of the year, we’ll take advantage of the dark with a stroll beneath the stars. We’ll warm up after our walk with hot cider, rum, and refreshments in the Tavern at the Inn at Castle Hill. The perfect balance to counteract the bustle of the holiday season! Please note: We will be hiking up and down dunes, through soft sand, for approximately 2½-3 miles – a fairly strenuous hike. This is a 21 and older event. Pre-registration required.



Member: $28; Nonmember: $35.

What is it?

A year-round line up of EXCITEMENT, designed to encourage people to enjoy the great outdoors at one of The Trustees of Reservations’ most beautiful properties. With more than 2,000 acres and miles of trails weaving through beaches, dunes, woodlands and marsh, The Crane Estate offers the ideal outdoor playground. The program offers two or three “adventures” each month featuring spectacular properties such as – the Crane Estate, the Crane Wildlife Refuge, Choate Island, or the nearby Hamlin Reservation. While some of these events are designed specifically for adult participants, most activities will be family-oriented for all to enjoy.

Programs meet in different locations. Upon registration, you will receive a detailed confirmation letter with information about where to meet, what to bring, and what to expect.

As always, we are here to help. If you have any questions, or to register, please call or email:

Dorothy Antczak
978.356.4351, x4052 or
978.810.5892
dantczak@ttor.org