Address: 719 Cabot Street, Beverly
Area: 7,037 square feet
Bathrooms: 2 full, 5 half
The mansion at Moraine Farm in Beverly sits on dozens of acres of land, comprising woods, meadows, gardens, and waterfront along the edge of Wenham Lake. Built in 1880 by Boston architect Peabody & Stearns, the home features nine fireplaces, French doors, and a grand open foyer with stone floors.
Project Adventure, a Beverly-based education nonprofit, has used this expansive property for years for many of their activities like ropes courses, but has decided to sell the property to a new owner and are prepared to leave the area. “It’s so beautiful and we’ve had some really wonderful experiences there,” says Project Adventure executive director Caitlin McCormick Small, “but we also know that our mission is serving schools and communities and we can do that without this property. We know that it’s the best decision for us in the long run.”
The property comes with extensive grounds—almost 67 acres, to be exact—landscape designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in the nineteenth century and preserved by the Friends of the Olmsted Landscape at Moraine Farm. The grounds includes carriage drives and walking paths, woods, access to Wenham Lake (the main public water supply to Beverly and Salem), and historic gardens impeccably constructed by Olmsted. A history refresher: Olmsted also designed Central Park and the U.S. Capitol grounds in Washington, D.C.
“There are so few of these iconic estates left intact on the North Shore, and Moraine Farm is one of the finest,” says Amanda Armstrong, the property’s realtor with Engel & Völkers. “With its magnificent woods and sweeping lawns, its elegant popplestone facade buildings, its hand built granite walls, and just the pure majesty of its natural setting.”
While the mansion has most recently been used as a beautiful wedding venue, the original Moraine Farm property, which includes over 200 acres of land, is now split up among various owners. The 67 acres on the market currently are nestled between other parcels of land, all conserved by other owners.
On the north side, the property is bordered by Phillips Nature Preserve, owned by Beverly. The Waldorf School at Moraine Farm and the Trustees of Reservations also each own parcels of land at Moraine Farm. See the map below for more details—the yellow portion labeled ‘Project Adventure’ is what’s currently for sale.
The Trustees and the Essex County Greenbelt Association have a conservation restriction on the land for sale, “which means it can only be used for certain things,” explains McCormick Small. “It can’t be, say, broken up and make into a development.” She says that once a year they’ll check in with the owners to make sure the management of the land aligns with their conservation guidelines. “They want to make sure it stands the test of time.”
So far, the landscape is still just what Olmsted created back in his heyday. “The gardening there, it’s incredible,” says McCormick Small. “It’s hard to express unless you’ve seen it.” One hundred-year-old rhododendrons tower twenty feet high creating walls of blooming magenta in the spring. Beech tree woods invoke mystery, while curved stone walls and bubbling brooks invite surprises around every corner.
“It has this sort of surprising and magical quality where everything feels completely natural, but it’s crafted to be shockingly beautiful,” says McCormick Small. “We’re really sad to have to lose that but it’s going to be an amazing home for somebody.”