Ipswich Massachusetts, Bridging History

Ipswich Center to Crane Beach

The proposed Ipswich Center to Crane Beach Recreational Trail may someday connect the commuter rail station in the center of town to beautiful Crane Beach. Winding along beautiful Argilla Road, it crosses pastures and continues through deep woods, then opens up to a scenic vista of the Great Salt Marsh and the ocean. Whether by car, bicycle or foot, this short trip to the beach offer numerous opportunities for refreshments, exercise and photos.

The Ipswich Commuter Rail: Ipswich is on the Boston-Newburyport commuter rail line of the Metropolitan Boston Transportation Authority (MBTA). View the commuter rail schedule.

The Ipswich Historic Riverwalk is the jewel of the town’s Riverwalk network, providing a recreational destination for residents and tourists. It connects the town’s historic heritage on both sides of the river with its commercial center and provides easier access to the Ipswich commuter rail station. The Riverwalk is accessible from Union St. behind the EBSCO Publishing and from S. Main Street just below the Choate Bridge. Explore the river further on the Sidney N. Shurcliff River Walk that runs from the County St. bridge to Town Hall on Green St.)
Ipswich South Green painting by Johanne Cassia
South Green
was originally known as School House Green. Many of the most important early settlers received grants of land here. Painting above is by Ipswich historic painter Johanne Cassia
Maplecroft Farm: A 2009 Ipswich town meeting voted to purchase and place conservation restrictions on 247 acres of . The Essex County Trail Association (ECTA) maintains a 1.4 mile walking trail through the property from Argilla Road near Heartbreak Hill to Rt. 133 at Raymond Field. This is a working farm– dogs and bikes are not permitted. View the trail map for Maplecroft Farm.

Hamlin Reservation map
Hamlin Reservation
This former coastal farmland is now protected by the Trustees of Reservations and is open to visitors, providing access to the salt marsh via a dike path that leads to a loop trail around Eagle Island. Gently rolling fields and marsh meadows at the provide a home to bobolinks and small mammals in this remote area isolated from the modern world. Hamlin Reservation map

Choate Island trail mapChoate Island: 135-acre Choate Island (Hog Island) in Ipswich MA is the largest island in the Crane Wildlife Refuge and part of the estate owned by Chicago industrialist Richard Crane, Jr., along with Crane Beach and Crane Castle and Castle Neck, now all owned by the Trustees of Reservations. Seven islands in the Essex River Estuary (Choate, Long, Dean, Dilly, Pine, Patterson, and Round island) and part of Castle Neck make up the bulk of the Refuge. Choate Island hosts grasslands, fields and a spruce forest, surrounded by the Great Marsh and Castle Neck River. Access is along a gravel road that ends at the entrance to Crane Beach in Ipswich. Choate Island is open from 8 am to 4 pm daily, crossing by canoe or kayak. 3.5 miles of gravel roads and foot trails lead from the island’s dock to the historic barn and continue past the past the 250-year-old Choate House to the Crane burial site at the top of Choate Island. The outstanding views of the marsh, Crane Beach, Plum Island, and Mt. Agamenticus 60 miles away near the Maine coast will bring you back time and again.

Russell Orchards in Ipswich MA Russell Orchards: Russell Orchards property has been a working farm since 1920 and has 120 acres of fields, gardens, orchards, and barns. The Essex County Greenbelt Association established an agricultural restriction on the land so that it can never be developed. The Russell family welcomes visitors to the farm store during regular store hours. Other areas are open to paying pick-your-own customers during designated hours

Crane Beach and Castle Neck mapCrane Beach at the end of Argilla Road was voted the most popular beach in the Boston area in a recent poll. The extensive beach, 5 miles of dune trails along Castle Neck and the Crane Castle are managed by the Trustees of Reservations. Crane Beach and Castle Neck Map
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