While crisper temperatures may soon be filling the air, September can actually be the optimal time to enjoy the great outdoors at beaches, campgrounds, farms, and trails – even if it’s time to head back to school and embrace the new fall routine.
“September days are generally still hot–if not very warm–but the sun is less intense and there are fewer crowds, less bugs, and, best of all, no summer weekend traffic!” says Barbara Erickson, Trustees president and CEO. “We hope to inspire our members and visitors to embrace the remaining weeks of lovely weather and enjoy the great outdoors with family and friends throughout Massachusetts, many of which can be found at our 116 statewide properties.”
Below are The Trustees’ top 10 recommendations for enjoying the last gasp of summer in September and well into the early fall:
1. Life’s (still) a beach: Zip up a hoodie and take an early morning walk oceanside on Ipswich’s Crane Beach, or pack a picnic and a beach bag and hop a ferry to Martha’s Vineyard to visit Long Point, Cape Poge or Norton Point – some of the state’s most stunning beaches. If you have a bit more time, consider heading over to Nantucket to visit the pristine Coskata Coatue Wildlife Refuge, a ruggedly beautiful coastal environment offering miles of shoreline for sunning and fishing where deer, raptors, occasional seals and shorebirds also play.
2. Camp outs without the crowds: Enjoy a peaceful (read: less mosquitos!) weekend camping in the great outdoors at Dunes Edge right on route 6 in Provincetown where there is so much to do and explore, or head inland to Tully Lake Campground in Royalston, a serene tent-only campground which offers paddling and hiking adventures, including several nearby waterfalls. Popular hiking spot, Rocky Woods in Medfield, even offers special event campouts throughout the season.
3. A less-busy Berkshires: Now that the summer residents have returned to their year-round homes, take advantage of an even quieter Berkshires with a leisurely stroll through the recently (and meticulously) restored and transformed gardens at Naumkeag, a Gilded Age, 44-room “cottage” in Stockbridge. The Chinese Temple Garden, a unique walled-in garden sheltering a hidden courtyard on the property’s highest point, is a must-see. Take a house and/or garden tour without as many tourists, and grab a bite from the onsite Oak Café. For a moderate hike or paddle rewarded by beautiful views, Bartholomew’s Cobble in nearby Sheffield, is a National Natural Landmark featuring over 800 species of plants and one of the only access points to the meandering Housatonic River.
4. Hit the farm: The weather is ripe for a visit to the picturesque Appleton Farms in Hamilton and Ipswich, Powisset Farm in Dover or Chestnut Hill Farm in Southborough where you can enjoy family-friendly Farm Dinners through September. These farms are also offering early fall festivals, an option for weekend fun for the whole family. Regular Open Barnyard programs at Weir River Farm in Hingham are family outings sure to please the little ones, or, if you’re up for an island adventure, visit The FARM Institute in Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard, the Trustees’ newest farm that offers weekend farm exploring programs for littles in September.
5. Dig the garden: For when you need to get out of the city, check out Long Hill in Beverly, Haskell Public Gardens in New Bedford, Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate in Canton, or the Stevens Coolidge Place in North Andover, which are still lush at this time of year with beautiful late summer plantings and blooms that inspire. The Bradley Estate is featuring a new display garden planted in a color palette of chartreuse and violet, perfect for family picnics and photo shoots. City dwellers and urban garden enthusiasts should check out the programs at the Trustees’ more than 55 unique community garden plots and urban wilds throughout the City of Boston, most of which are free and sure to enhance your green thumb.
6. You can still be a culture vulture: Didn’t get to the museums this summer? Get a heap of culture at Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, a National Historic Landmark that features three separate museum collections of significant Shaker, Native American, and American art and artifacts, as well as a historic farmhouse that was once home to the family of Louisa May Alcott. Explore the miles of trails, enjoy lunch at the on site restaurant, and experience the many exhibits, programs, and tours offered there. And if you haven’t yet been to Trustees’ crown jewel, Castle Hill on the Crane Estate in Ipswich, it’s time to go for behind-the-scenes tours and programs for different ages and interests as well as the just the all-out breathtaking views. Try the new TourTrustees app for a self-guided tour of the stunning landscape and gardens.
7. Brush up on your cooking skills: Visit the Boston Public Market or a Trustees’ farm stand where you can still pick up fresh, local produce well into the fall, and hone your cooking skills with a culinary program in The KITCHEN at the Boston Public Market, run by the Trustees and community partners or at Appleton Farms which offers a popular AppletonCooks! programming series.
8. Climb the mountain (or big hill): The Trustees statewide hiking challenge, Hike 125, is in its second year and goes until December 31st, 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. For a few ideas to get you started, take in the the breaktaking 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.
9. Get out with Fido: Tired dog = happy dog: Take advantage of the ideal weather while you can and get the dog out of the house for a long walk through the woods at dog-friendly Trustees properties across the state. Check each property online under the dog walking symbol for specifics, but some of our favorites are Copicut Woods in Fall River, a peaceful woodland that includes marked trails and loads of wildlife, and Fork Factory Brook in Medfield which offers a convenient parking lot and quiet trails away from the hordes. Moose Hill Farm in Sharon offers quiet paths that lead to a view of the Blue Hills and Boston.
10. Keep reading and explore a Literary Trail: For book lovers who also enjoy history and nature, The Trustees offers a new, self-guided, 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. Stops on the trail include the Old Manse in Concord, home of Transcendentalists Ralph Waldo Emerson and Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Fruitlands Museum in Harvard, once home to the family of Louisa May Alcott and her famous brother Bronson. Take it one step further and enjoy The Trsutee’s presentation of Nature, the acclaimed outdoor, walking play making its East Coast debut at the Old Manse with 11 performances starting in September. The play is family friendly and a perfect way to experience a unique performance outdoors.
Visit thetrustees.org to find out about these and many other destinations, as well as hundreds of events and activities for all ages happening around Massachusetts!