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Editors’ Choice

Castle Hill Summer Picnic Concert Series, Ipswich

Standout qualities: Perfectly exemplifies the American Country Place Era with its farm and estate buildings, designed grounds and gardens, and diverse natural areas. Dancing under the stars each summer between the 59-room 1920s mansion and the Grand Allée that leads to the sea is one of the North Shore’s finest experiences. 

Fun fact: Centuries before becoming a grand summer estate owned by one of the U.S.’s wealthiest families, Castle Hill was well known by Native Americans, who called the area Agawam, referring to its rich fishery.

Insider tip: Get there early to enjoy Crane Beach or take off on the four miles of trails, where you might see nesting great horned owls, red-tailed hawks, or an occasional bald eagle soaring above the landscape.

290 Argilla Rd., Ipswich, 978-356-4351,


Readers’ Choice 

Castle Hill Summer Picnic Concert Series, Ipswich

What’s unique: At the concert, impress your neighbors with an elaborate picnic of roast chicken, a selection of stinky cheeses, and candelabras, or buy snacks on the grounds, including beverages from Ipswich Brewing’s iconic beer trucks and Mill River Winery. 

Insider tip: Kick off your shoes and walk to the edge of the Atlantic, or smooch behind the hedges on the newly restored landscape with its repaired Italianate statuary. You can still hear the music wafting through time and place.

290 Argilla Rd., Ipswich, 978-356-4351,