With fall now officially in full force, The Trustees statewide programming schedule is overflowing with tours, festivals, workshops, classes, and more to share with its Massachusetts members, residents, and visitors. Fall in New England is the perfect time for all ages to get outside and enjoy the crisp air, stunning foliage, and end to bugs and summer weekend traffic!
The world’s oldest and the Commonwealth’s largest conservation and preservation nonprofit, The Trustees cares for 116 scenic, natural, and cultural sites from Greater Boston to the Berkshires, which offer year-round opportunities that connect more people to local farms and food, nature, culture, and the great outdoors.
“Fall is a very festive time at The Trustees,” says Kristen Swanberg, director of programming for The Trustees. “Massachusetts is lovely this time of year to celebrate the natural bounty of the season. This year we are offering even more fall festivals and harvest events, free entry days statewide, as well as exciting new programs like the outdoor walking play, Nature, at the Old Manse in Concord, one of our most historic properties.”
With so many properties and programs to choose from statewide, there’s no excuse not to get outside and be active! Below is asampling of ideas on how to make the most of fall at Trustees properties, but many more can be found at thetrustees.org. Most properties and programs are free or discounted up to 50 percent for members who also receive many other benefits year-round.
Fall into Festival Season
It’s fall festival season with The Trustees! While several have already been held, there are a few more on the docket. The end of the September brings Weir River Farm’s Fall Festival and Chestnut Hill Farm joins the fun with its Harvest Festival on October 8. All are perfect for the whole family and are a great way to celebrate the season.
Free Days & Free Fall Fun
Returning this fall, The Trustees is offering three special free entry days. On Columbus Day, Monday, October 9, admission to Trustees cultural properties, Castle Hill on the Crane Estate in Ipswich, Stevens-Coolidge Place in Andover, the Old Manse in Concord, the Bradley Estate in Canton, Naumkeag in the Berkshires and Bryant Homestead in Cummington, is free for residents of those counties.* On Veteran’s Day, Friday, November 10, admission to Trustees cultural properties is free to veterans, active and retired military, and their families.* On Green Friday, the day after Thanksgiving (Friday, November 24), back by popular demand, The Trustees will also offer free entry to all at outdoor properties with admission or parking fees, including Crane Beach in Ipswich, World’s End in Hingham, Bartholomew’s Cobble in Sheffield, Monument Mountain in Great Barrington, Ward Reservation in Andover, Appleton Grass Rides in Hamilton, and Rocky Woods in Medfield. Skip the shopping and get outside with family and friends! Many properties are offering special programming on these days, check out thetrustees.org/things-to-do/ for more at properties like Castle Hill, Appleton Farms, Notchview, and Fruitlands.
The Trustees has been offering kid-friendly Halloween events for years, like Weir River Farm’s Boo in the Barnyard and Trick or Treat on the Farm at Appleton Farms, and now has even more to entice the grown-ups as well. Halloween at the Great House at Castle Hill is appropriate for ages 13 and up, but the encouraged ’20s and ’30s attire, hors d’oeuvres, and cocktails will keep adults entertained too! Naumkeag in Stockbridge will host multiple nights of the popular Live Action Clue for adults as well as a Haunted House and a Pumpkin Trail for all ages. Don’t miss Hillside Halloween at Fruitlands for trick or treating at each museum building, a Hike-and-Seek on the trails and historic games or get in some exercise at Rocky Woods’s second annual Monster Dash 5K & Trick or Trot and race in costume!
Hike 125 Challenge Continues into Fall Foliage Season
The Trustees statewide hiking challenge, Hike 125 , is in its second year and goes until December 31, so get those miles in and be entered to win prizes from Trustees partner REI Co-?Op ! Over 11,000 miles have already been hiked by over 1,000 participants, including families who have taken on the challenge together! Create your hiker handle and get started at thetrustees.org/hike125. And what a perfect time of year to watch the foliage turn across the state! For a few ideas to get you started, take in the breathtaking views from the top of Monument Mountain in Great Barrington, or check out Peaked Mountain in Monson, where you can experience views stretching all the way to Vermont. In Greater Boston, visit Pegan Hill, the highest point in Natick, for a panoramic view of Mount Monadnock and Mount Wachusett. And many properties feature easy walking footpaths and trails that are stroller-friendly as well. Visit Best First Hikes, Stroller Friendly Trails, and Picnic Spots for more ideas on how to get started.
Trustees Literary Trail
This year’s theme, “The Language of Nature,” continues a new self-guided Trustees adventure, the Literary Trail Map , available online and at select properties. The natural landscapes of the Commonwealth have long been a source of inspiration and refuge for authors, poets, journalist, playwrights, including many revered literary masters. The first stop on the trail is Bartholomew’s Cobble, oft visited by writer and naturalist Hal Borland, known for describing his walks at the Cobble in a series of editorials in the New York Times and Berkshire Eagle that were later compiled into books. The trail continues from western Massachusetts eastward, with stops at such famed locations as Monument Mountain, where Herman Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne famously hiked, the Old Manse, home of Transcendentalists Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Fruitlands Museum, home of Louisa MayAlcott. As of this spring, seven Trustees properties (Crane Beach, the Bradley Estate, Fruitlands Museum, Stevens?Coolidge Place, the Old Manse, the William Cullen Bryant Homestead and Mission House) now have Little Free Libraries as a permanent additions to each property, available outdoors spring through fall, as weather allows, for people to donate and take a book to read and enjoy. The Trustees are also hosting talks, tours and workshops about books, the writer’s craft and literary history as part of this theme. Visit us online to learn more about The Language of Nature events.
Tourist in Your Own State
And whether it’s on your own, with friends, or a planned family affair, volunteering is a great way to get out and explore your home state while giving back and having fun at the same time. The Trustees offer hundreds of opportunities to help out at events, like the fall festivals and farm dinners, or through a regular program like weekly Open Barnyard at Weir River, if time allows. Volunteers as young as 12 can join in with a guardian. Visit thetrustees.org/volunteer to see the full calendar of volunteer opportunities. For a full list of fun programs and events for all ages happening at these and other Trustees reservations, visit: thetrustees.org/things-to-do/.