The Trustees yesterday announced the reopening of the grounds at Castle Hill on the Crane Estate, starting Thursday, June 11, to provide people more opportunities to get back to nature as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds.
The Castle Hill grounds will be open in a controlled manner that will limit overcrowding, better ensure social distancing, and keep both visitors and staff safe by staying aligned with the state and local public health and safety requirements.
Visitors must reserve a timed entry pass in advance for entry to Castle Hill. The passes are valid for a three-hour visit and are free for Trustees members. Non-members will pay $20 per vehicle, $5 for motorcycles, and $3 for bike and pedestrian access. Ipswich residents with a valid ID may enter for free and without a parking pass on weekdays only, but must purchase a parking pass for access on weekends. Trustees staff will visually inspect tickets at the gate through the vehicle window adhering to a six-foot demarcation zone.
Members will be asked to enter their membership numbers when booking their pass by visiting thetrustees.org/covid19, clicking on the “Get Parking Passes” button, and then choosing the Castle Hill grounds along with the date and time to reserve a pass. Please note: these parking passes are only valid for the grounds at Castle Hill, with parking reserved only for visitors to the historic grounds and gardens. There will be no beach parking allowed at Castle Hill. The Trustees cannot accommodate requests for a change of date once passes are purchased, and visitors will not be refunded for missed reservations.
For the time being, the Great House is closed, as is the gift shop and grab-n-go café. As circumstances allow, we will begin to offer landscape tours, hikes, and other controlled outdoor activities. Portable toilets will be available in the main parking lot. Visitors are asked to carry in and carry out their own food and drink, though alcoholic beverages are never allowed. Dogs and drones are not allowed at Castle Hill and all commercial, promotional, and portrait photography must be permitted in advance. A full list of regulations can be found on the Castle Hill website.
The Trustees has reopened more than 100 of its 119 properties since April, and is requiring all visitors to abide by the following social distancing guidelines for the health and safety of all and to help keep sites open in these challenging times:
- Bring and wear a face covering at all times except when picnicking
- Stay at least six feet from other visitors
- Any picnicking groups must set up at least twelve feet from other groups
- No more than ten people may cluster in a group at this time.
To purchase a timed entry pass, view the complete list of open properties, see PSA videos that explain ways to limit the spread of COVID-19, and become a Trustees member or renew your membership, visit thetrustees.org/COVID19. The Trustees is also creating online activities and content to bring the wonders of Massachusetts to homes throughout the Commonwealth and beyond.