Maudslay State Park
Photo by Robert Boyd
Once home to investment banker Frederick Strong Moseley, the 450 acres that comprise Maudslay State Park are not only rich with mature 19th-century plantings, rolling meadows, towering pines, and one of the largest naturally occurring stands of mountain laurel in the state, but the place also smacks of lore. Listed as a haunted location on several paranormal websites and publications, the 1860s estate sits on the banks of the Merrimack River and garners attention for its walking, biking, horseback riding, and picnicking spots, as well as the original wrought iron gate that led to the estate and grounds, now referred to as “The Gates of Hell”; the remnants of a hillside entrance to an old root cellar; and the stories of arson that supposedly brought down many of its structures, which at one time included two mansions (the main house was demolished to save on property taxes). Dilapidated barns and boarded up servant houses, a pet cemetery, an old Italian garden, a dairy farm, and a few stone bridges are still to be marveled at. Purchased by the state in 1985, the park now accommodates wedding ceremonies and cultural events; and in winter, a portion is set off limits for the sake of roosting bald eagles, though there are plenty of trails left open for cross-country skiing.
Curzon Mill Rd., Newburyport, 978-465-7223, mass.gov