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Featuring vintage trains, sparkling wine, and a luxurious farm-fresh dinner, The Trustees of Reservations (The Trustees) kicked off its 125th Anniversary this past Saturday with a grand gala at Appleton Farms in Ipswich. Over 500 guests donned gowns and tuxedos to celebrate the birth of the Commonwealth’s largest and the world’s first land preservation nonprofit founded on May 21, 1891 by landscape architect Charles Eliot.

The evening began at North Station with guests boarding the 1940s railroad cars to savor drinks and hors d’oeuvres during the 45-minute ride to the farm. Upon arrival, staff in period dress escorted guests to the cocktail tent set in a grassy field surrounded by several curious cows. Later, guests headed to another tent for a sumptuous dinner from The Catered Affair starring the farm’s fresh vegetables and beef. David Croll, Trustees chairman of the Board of Directors opened the evening. Barbara Erickson, Trustees president & CEO, reflected on the organization’s accomplishments and vision for the future, including safeguarding all 116 properties (ranging from beaches and landscaped gardens to historic house museums and community farms), acquiring more iconic spaces (such as parts of Boston’s waterfront), and expanding programming. Erickson also honored numerous members and past directors, including the late Gordon Abbott Jr., who lead The Trustees from 1966 to 1984. Other speakers included Matthew Beaton, Secretary, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Congressman, Seth Moulton, and Trustees Board of Directors member, Peter Coffin. Dame Helen Ghosh, director general of The National Trust, even offered her good wishes via video from England.

Professional dancers and performers provided entertainment for guests, who after dinner hit the dance floor to boogie and sway to Joey Scott & The Connection. A bountiful dessert bar and an author signing of the commemorative children’s book written by twin brothers Peter and Paul Reynolds, “Charley Eliot and the Knights of the Woods,” capped off the evening, which ended shortly before midnight, just in time to catch the late train back to Boston. Please visit for more special events, promotions, and contests, in honor of the organization’s125th Anniversary!