The property got its name when industrialist Richard T. Crane, Jr. bought 800 acres on the Ipswich waterfront in 1910, but it was a notable spot for centuries before that. Native Americans valued the area for fishing and shell fishing, and the first governor of Massachusetts laid claim to the land in 1637.
Photo by David West
To explore The Great House
Self-guided tours of the 59-room mansion are free with admission to Castle Hill, but you pay a little more for a guided, themed tour. Visit the basement to learn more about what made the house high-tech in 1928 or see the estate through the eyes of a servant, for example.
To wander the gardens
Castle Hill’s 165 acres feature both impeccably maintained formal gardens and more natural plantings, all studded with pergolas, sculptures, and worn stone walls that hearken to another era.
To hit the beach
Crane Beach offers miles of marsh-edged shoreline perfect for swimming, fishing, or simply relaxing in unparalleled natural beauty.
Photo by David West
To take in the view
From the terrace of the Castle Hill mansion, gaze down the rolling lawn known as the Grand Allée to ocean panoramas beyond. Or head to the beach and the wildlife refuge to immerse in moody marshscapes.
To go wild
Between Castle Hill, the beach, and the Crane Wildlife Refuge, the estate is home to a profusion of local animals, including deer, fox, otters, fishers, wild turkeys, and even the occasional bald eagle.
To take a hike
13 miles of sandy dune trails, gravel roads, and grassy foot paths offer ample choices for an easy meander or a day-long exploration.
For the main event
The estate hosts events from casual explorations to more dressed-up diversions (including this year’s Best of the North Shore Event!). The fall schedule includes climbs to the rooftop mansion, a country dance, boat tours, and a piano concert.
To get the perfect shot
Whether you are a master of the DSLR or a casual Instagrammer, the estate offers a wealth of photo ops. Check out the polished wood library in the mansion, the undulating dunes at the beach, or the weathered structures in the gardens.
To enjoy the art
Until spring 2019, the Castle Hill lawn will play host to custom installation TunnelTeller, a striking concrete-and-steel piece that visitors can touch and wander through.
Have you ever been to the Crane Estate?
If so, let us know your favorite memories in the comments!