Bike to the beach and nearby New England towns or join exciting historic events
in our manicured gardens. No matter your fancy, we have something for you to enjoy!
Journey into the heart of the Crane Wildlife Refuge, and let an expert guide draw you into the protected waters of one of the largest contiguous salt marshes in New England. Along the way, you’ll observe the wide variety of wildlife found in the marsh, including egrets, herons, and other shore birds. Kayaking season at the Crane Estate begins on Memorial Day weekend and runs through mid-October. We offer a broad portfolio of professionally guided adventures, from paddles to Choate Island followed by a hike to sunset trips. Kayak participants must be competent swimmers. Group rates are available, as are private tours.
Castle Hill Tours
Take a peek into the world of the plumbing magnate’s summer family playground in the 59 room David Adler designed historic “Great House”. With historically accurate interiors, formal gardens, 360-degree views, and glorious architecture, there is something to interest everyone. Choose from six guided tours of the house, gardens, and grounds with our expert interpreters, or plan a day of your own design. The interior and furnishings have been conserved and curated to reflect that of the Cranes legacy and you’ll walk away feeling like a “Guest of the Cranes” for the day!
Tours are seasonal and run on weekends only in April and May and then everyday throughout the summer season.
Food & Drink
A gourmet hot breakfast is included with your stay. Check out some of our local recommendations for lunch, dinner, libations & provisions. Further afield, in nearby Gloucester and Newburyport, there are many more options. We are always available if you would like to discuss further options or receive a more specific recommendation for your stay or special occasion. Feel free to call the Inn at (978) 412-2555 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lunch & Dinner
- Appleton Farms, Ipswich (Seasonal)
- CK Pearl, Essex (Lunch/Dinner)
- 1640 Hart House, Ipswich (Dinner)
- Choate Bridge Pub, Ipswich (Lunch/Dinner)
- Brown Square Bistro, Ipswich (Dinner)
- Sandpiper Bakery, Ipswich (Breakfast/Lunch)
- Coastal Green Grocer, Ipswich (Lunch/Grocery)
- Googan’s Galley, Essex (Lunch/Grocery)
- Woodman’s, Essex (Lunch/Dinner)
*Note: All alcohol consumed on the Inn property must be purchased through the Inn per our license.
The Great House
Take a self-guided tour of the Great House, gardens, and/or landscape and be transported back to 1929. Download “TourTrustees: Castle Hill smartphone App” from Google Play or the App Store to listen to a narrated audio tour. Take a behind the scenes tour to truly see what it was like to summer in Ipswich with the Crane family. Visit the roof and learn about the architecture and innovation contained within the Great House walls, explore the formal gardens, or ride our tour cart around the barn complex and other buildings further afield. For more exciting historic events on the Crane Estate, take a look at our upcoming events calendar!
Garden enthusiasts will be transfixed by the spectacular Italian Garden and its sister, the show-stopping Rose Garden. Both have been renovated and are tended with expertise, love, and care. Laid out in the classic “garden room” style, these gardens offer tranquility, musing and stunning backdrops for the special moments of our lives. For a preview, peruse our head gardener’s list of plantings or book a guided tour experience as they become seasonally available.
Music & Concerts
Summer is here and it’s time for Castle Hill Picnic Concerts! Each Thursday evening features a different family-friendly band performing on Castle Hill’s Grand Allee overlooking Crane Beach. Bring a picnic blanket or lawn chair and set up on the lawn. While here, explore the gardens, walk the 1/2-mile-long Grand Allee, try a landscape-themed eye spy, picnic, and dance on the grass. Bring a picnic supper or purchase supper onsite from food vendors. Local beer and wine vendors will also be onsite to sell adult beverages.
Located in the scenic seaport village of Rockport, Massachusetts, Rockport Music at the Shalin Liu Performance Center presents exceptional musical performances and events year round, including the acclaimed Rockport Chamber Music Festival, which hosts over 20 performances in five weeks during June and July each year. Rockport Music also presents classical, jazz, folk, pop, and world music, as well as a film series and HD broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera and England’s National Theatre. The Shalin Liu Performance Center is an extraordinary building – with spectacular oceanfront views and superb acoustics.
Manchester Summer Chamber Music comes to the Castle Hill Barn each August… making their concerts just steps from the Inn! During these starlit evenings, you can revel in world class artistry and classical chamber music gems both old and new. Members of the Trustees receive discounted tickets.
Hikes & Walks
Castle Hill is a hiker’s paradise with hiking circuits that wind through manicured gardens, lawns, and paths, each dappled with statuary, fountains, and reliefs. Stroll across our meadows, dip into our woodland trails and summit our sandy dunes. Visit CraneOutdoors for our offering of guided hikes, and check out our property-wide trail map if you plan to set out on your own. Many of these hikes are also incredible opportunities to spot a variety of birds and wildlife, with numerous beautiful species making their home as close as the Crane Estate grounds. Whether it’s piping plovers at the summer beach or snowy owls on the dune trails in winter, there’s plenty for birders to enjoy!
At Crane Beach, you’ll enjoy one of the finest beaches and outdoor recreation destinations on the East Coast with its clean, inviting water, miles of shoreline, and mesmerizing views. Take a refreshing dip or enjoy a sunrise walk at one of the Northeast’s most spectacular beaches, and follow trails and boardwalks through a spellbinding landscape of sand dunes and salt marsh.
Hike through more than five miles of trails winding through coastal dunes, which shield inland areas from storm waves and flooding. Crane Beach has been nationally recognized for its successful shorebird protection program and is the world’s most important nesting sites for piping plovers and is a haven for snowy owls.
Note: Beach access is included for Inn guests for the entirety of their stay.
Take one of our bikes to town, the beach, or wherever the day takes you! We have hybrid, non-electric, road bikes here at the Inn for those looking for a summer cruise. No reservation needed, grab a bike from our rack or ask for help from the front desk and we’d be happy to get you on your way. Various bike helmets and locks are available as well.
Peabody Essex Museum
As the nation’s oldest continuously operating museum, the Peabody essex Museum (or “PEM”) in Salem, MA was among the first museums in America to collect works of art and culture from around the world now holding 840,000 works and frequently rotating exhibitions.
Cape Ann Museum
The Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester, MA houses the largest collection of work by native son and renowned marine artist, Fitz Henry Lane, as well as work by other prominent painters and sculptors who lived on, visited, or were inspired by Cape Ann (Gloucester, Rockport, Manchester, & Essex).
Historic New England
Explore the authentic New England experience from the seventeenth century to today.
Take a self guided tour of the First Period (built by 17th century settler) homes of Ipswich. Ipswich boasts 60 of these homes… the most in the country!
Salem Witch Museum
This Museum in Salem, MA explores the drama of the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.
Join an expert guide for a cruise in Essex Bay aboard the pontoon boat the Osprey! Take in the surrounding marshland, Crane Wildlife Refuge, and Choate Island and view the open fields, wooded hillside and historic structures from the water while hearing stories and learning fun facts about the area from our veteran CraneOutdoors Staff. Along the way, we’ll observe the wide variety of wildlife found in the marsh, including egrets, herons, and other shore-birds. You can count on making an amazing connection with nature and creating enduring memories in one of New England’s most beautiful places.
Board the Lannon for a two hour sail and get a taste for what it was like to sail on a fishing schooner a hundred years ago. Help the crew raise the sails, or just sit back and take in the sights and sounds of Gloucester’s coastline.
Whale Watch (7 Seas)
Sail out of Gloucester Harbor on the Privateer IV, Gloucester’s, newest and most comfortable whale watch boat. Witness some of the oceans most exquisite inhabitants and learn about these creatures from the expert naturalists on board. This 3-4 hour cruise guarantees whale sightings and is situated in one of the most renowned whale watching destinations in the country. You will be docked in the heart of downtown Gloucester MA, so before or after your whale watch, explore the city’s quaint shops and restaurants.
North Shore Itinerary
Experience the beauty of the North Shore of Massachusetts with our curated weekend or day trip itinerary. Discover miles of lovely beaches, vibrant farms, lush gardens, and scenic trails. The Trustees proudly care for renowned destinations like Appleton Farms and The Crane Estate, as well as hidden gems like Coolidge and Hamlin Reservations. Explore this picturesque region to make the most of your visit.
Gardens of the North Shore
Discover the beauty of our North Shore public gardens, nestled in a historic setting, where you can enjoy the sight of native flowers, trees, and shrubs. The Trustees is proud to take care of renowned locations like Long Hill in Beverly and Stevens-Coolidge House & Gardens in North Andover, inviting you to explore, stay, and savor the natural wonders.
North Shore Events
Discover a variety of events and programs on the North Shore. Whether you’re in search of adventure, relaxation, history, or innovation, The Trustees have you covered with exciting activities and self-exploration opportunities.
Rockport is known for miles of lovely beaches, boulder-strewn paths through woods and glades, and that uncommonly magical light that has inspired painters since Winslow Homer. Iconic Motif No. 1 draws artists, photographers and art lovers to the picturesque harbor. Rockport’s art colony, one of the oldest in America, is home to over thirty galleries and the Rockport Art Association and Museum. In an unmatched setting, Rockport Music’s world class performing arts venue, the Shalin Liu Performance Center, hosts shows year round. Plus, stroll the charming downtown and eclectic Bearskin Neck to explore a one-of-a-kind shopping experience.
Home to America’s oldest seaport, Gloucester offers rich maritime history, fresh-caught seafood, an active working waterfront, and a lively downtown. Enjoy adventures by land, and by sea, and experience the best of New England’s natural beauty on the coast. Gloucester is alive with arts and cultural attractions, theater, museums, boating, events & festivals, award-winning cuisine, boutiques, and a walkable downtown.
Just 10 minutes from the Inn is the neighboring town of Essex. What was once a small coastal village known as the birthplace of the Fried Clam, has now become a bustling downtown with charming boutiques and restaurants. Many antique stores have found their home along the main drive of Essex so get ready to find some hidden gems!
Newburyport is a coastal city known for its nostalgic charm and cobblestone streets filled with shops and restaurants. The unique charm of Newburyport can be found overlooking a working waterfront, along the downtown streets filled with thriving shops and hip restaurants, and even on the shores of Plum Island known for breathtaking sunsets and an incredible bird and wildlife preserve.