Trails & Sails 2023

Tour | When Granite Was King!

Find out the story behind the history of granite quarrying at Halibut Point State Park in Rockport!

Halibut Point State Park is also a granite quarry with a history that goes back billions of years! Over one hundred years ago, the Rockport Granite Company quarried granite stone here. Learn about the buildings, bridges, and breakwaters built to last. Touch tools of the trade. Find out how they moved these large, heavy stone pieces, and how they “paved” dirt streets in our Nation’s growing cities—and around the world! Heavy rain/snow cancels.

Tuesdays, December 5, 12 & 19 11am-12:30pm

Star Party with the North Shore Amateur Astronomy Club

Join the North Shore Amateur Astronomy Club in a free star party at Battis Farm as part of Trails and Sails!

In addition to the moon and Saturn we’ll be showing off an assortment of binary and double stars, nebula, clusters, and the Andromeda galaxy at the annual NSAAC star party at Battis Farm in Amesbury. Co-hosted with the Lake Gardner Improvement Association, we’ll have a number of volunteers with telescopes set up for visitors to look through. This event is part of Trails & Sails.

Friday, September 22, 2023 7:30-9:30pm
Saturday, September 23, 2023 7:30-9:30pm

Fall Festival and Apple Armada

The Essex Massachusetts Festival in the Shipyard is fun for the whole family. Part of Essex Heritage Trails & Sails

Essex Shipbuilding Museum invites families to the the Fall Festival in the Shipyard. This family friendly event is a great introduction to Essex culture. Join us in the Historic Shipyard for food, drinks, games, craft stations, and the Apple Armada, apple boat race! This FREE event is open to all!

Saturday, September 30, 2023 1-4pm

Trails & Sails

Explore the North Shore with over 150 Free Events in Essex National Heritage Area's Trails & Sails celebration in Massachusetts.

Essex National Heritage Area sites will offer over 150 free family fun events from September 15-24, 2023 for the annual celebration of TRAILS & SAILS. Discover special places in your backyard and be guided through unique landscapes on land and sea, explore historic properties, and take in cultural experiences of all kinds. Find what makes Essex County like nowhere else during Trails & Sails! It’s all FREE and it’s all located within the 34 cities and towns of Essex County.

Daily, September 15-24, 2023

Carriagetown Car Show

Hundred of Classic Cars will be at the Carriagetown Car Show in downtown Amesbury Massachusetts, a Trails and Sails Event

Come to Downtown Amesbury to look at hundreds of collector cars. All the downtown streets will be closed to regular traffic while the Hot Rods, muscle cars and antique vehicles take over the streets. Special interest vehicles will be displayed on the Bullnose along with other interesting vehicle history. All are welcome, Families encouraged. Rain date: 9.24.2023

Saturday, September 23, 2023 9am-2pm

A Spiritual Quest Weekend at Hilldale Cemetery

Hilldale Cemetary in Haverhill Massachusetts is one of the North Shore's most active paranormal spots!

Do you believe in Ghosts? If you do then join the Essex County Ghost Project and Witches Wonder fort a spooktacular evening of haunts and fun . The gates open at 6:30 pm and hunt starts at 7pm . We are exploring one of New England’s most Haunted historical sites . There have been reports of full and partial body apparitions, voices , shadow figures and more . So pack up your cameras , pendulums, digital recorders and other paranormal equipment for a night of paranormal history and intrigue .

Fridays, September 15 & 22, 2023 6:30-10:30pm
Saturdays, September 16 & 23, 2023 6:30-10:30pm

Fish Printing at the Manchester Museum

Make your own fish print at Manchester Historical Museum during Sails and Trails

Visitors to the Manchester Museum will explore our newly reconfigured rooms and displays, as well as our outdoor cod fishery exhibit, and watch – or participate in – the Japanese fish printing art form known as Gyotaku. Come help us celebrate the Bicentennial of the Abigail Hooper Trask House and the life of “Nabby” Hooper – entrepreneur and proto-feminist – with music, food , art-making and fun!

Saturday, September 23, 2023 10am-3pm

Abbot Hall Scavenger Hunt

The famous painting 'The Spirit of '76' by Archibald Willard at Abbot Hall in Marblehead Massachusetts

Did you know the famous painting The Spirit of '76 painting resides at Abbot Hall in Marblehead? Have some family fun at Marblehead’s historic Abbot Hall! The Marblehead Historical Commission has released a scavenger hunt that takes visitors of all ages through the first and second floors of Abbot Hall searching for objects that represent Marblehead history. It’s interesting to walk through the town hall, built in 1876, to find many objects that help us understand the past.

Daily through Sunday, September 24, 2023 10am-5pm

AtlAtl Days in Danvers!

See an ancient weapon demonstration at the Rebecca Nurse Homestead in Danvers Massachusetts as part of Trails and Sails!

Come to Rebecca Nurse Homestead to try your hand at ancient hunting practices! The technique of using an atlatl, or spear throwing stick, is an ancient global technology. Join us, along with the Eugene Winter Chapter of Mass Archaeological Society, as they teach you the finer points about hunting in the ancient world! Stop by the Rebecca Nurse Homestead and hunt a woolly mammoth or woolly rhinoceros. Fun and educational for adults and kids of all ages. Wooly mammoth tooth and mastodon tooth and tusk will be on display along with samples of Native American Artifacts found in Danvers. This event is FREE as part of Trails & Sails! If you would like to visit the Nurse Homestead museum, paid admission is required.

Saturday, September 23, 2023 9am-3pm
Sunday, September 24, 2023 9am-3pm


Carousel at Salisbury Beach MA. Parties, Family Reunions, Weddings, Showers, Birthday Parties

Barnyard Story Hour at Appleton Farms

Kids can meet the barnyard animals and hear a story at Appleton Farms in Ipswich Massachusetts.
Barnyard stories really come alive when you get to see the main characters in real life! Bring the kids down to Appleton Farms for our farm-fresh version of story time. Explore the farmstead, visit our learning garden, see our cows and rabbits, and find a spot to play under a shady tree in our...
10:30 am to 11:30 am

Salisbury Tree Lighting

Come to Salisbury Massachusetts for the Annual Tree lighting an lots of community holiday fun!
This year's Tree Lighting will celebrate all of the old traditions and has added some new just for YOU! The Tuesday after Thanksgiving will be jam packed with free activities for folks of ALL ages. Come join the fun for some long lasting holiday memories!
5:30 pm to 7:00 pm

Wednesday, November 29

Fiddleheads | Preschool Drop-Off Series

The Fiddlehead program at Appleton Farms encourages kids 3-5 to explore their environment in Ipswich Massachusetts
Fall is here and harvest is in full swing! It’s a great time for your preschooler to learn what our fields, barnyard, and forest have to offer. Join us on Wednesday mornings from 9:30-12:30 for a preschool drop-off series on farm animals, life cycles, plant parts, and farm fun!
9:30 am to 12:30 pm

Nature Playgroup at Appleton Farms

Come to Appleton Farms in Ipswich Massachusetts for a nature playgroup for toddlers
To encourage outdoor play and familiarity with the natural world, a nature-based toddler play group will be held at Appleton Farms every Wednesday. Come to one or all of the sessions, explore the fields and forest, and imagine hidden worlds beneath our feet and above our heads.
10:00 am to 11:00 am

MPL: Mother Goose Storytime

Manchester Public Library Storytime with Miss Audrey Manchester by the Sea Massachusetts
Join Miss Audrey for Storytime for children ages 0-5 and their caregivers! We'll share books, songs, and games. Registration is required each week as space is limited.
10:30 am

Cow Connection at Appleton Farms

Join The Trustees of Reservations at Appleton Farms for Cow Connection in Ipswich Massachusetts
Come and meet, cuddle, brush, scratch, talk, and sit with our hand-raised cows at Appleton Farms! The mild heart rate and warm body temperature of the cows induces a slowing of our own heart rate, as well as the release of Oxytocin, our social bonding hormone. Visit our scenic and historic dairy...
4:30 pm to 5:30 pm

Trustees Winterlights at Stevens Coolidge Place

The Trustees of Reservations Winterlights at the Stevents-Coolidge Place North Andover North Andover.
Winterlights is back! Join the Trustees for a magical outdoor experience at Stevens-Coolidge House & Gardens, and see the gardens aglow with your favorite light installations as well as marveling at new components. Bring the whole family for a fun and safe outdoor experience. Winterlights runs...
4:30 pm to 8:00 pm

Wreath Making Workshop

Annual Wreath Making Workshop at the Essex Historical Society and Shipbuilding Museum
Join us at the Essex Historical Society & Shipbuilding Museum as Susie Talbot guides the group through decorating a 20" wreath. Susie is an extraordinarily talented individual who not only designed, but takes care of our front gardens. Amongst her many talents is decorating Holiday greens.
5:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Stargazing at Mendel Observatory

Mendel Observatory, with the support of volunteers from the North Shore Amateur Astronomy Club, hosts public stargazing every Wednesday night
The Observatory, with the support of volunteers from the North Shore Amateur Astronomy Club, hosts public stargazing every Wednesday night (weather permitting) starting at dusk or 7:30 pm, whichever is later.  When special astronomical events of interest occur (total lunar eclipses, etc.) the Obs
7:00 pm

Thursday, November 30

Marblehead Christmas Walk

The Marblehead Christmas Walk is several days of local Holiday events in Marblehead Massachusetts
The Marblehead Chamber of Commerce invites you to Marblehead to enjoy several days of holiday festivities, family events and activities!  Come for one or all days with highlights that include Santa's arrival by lobster boat,Festive shopping, Tree Lightings, a holiday parade, Artisan Markets,...
9:00 am to 9:00 pm

Science Thursday at Essex Library

CFCE's Science Thursdays at the TOHP Library in Essex Massachusetts!
Please join Ms. Christine for some STEAM fun! Children ages 2-6yo and their adult will listen to stories, then explore science, technology, engineering, art, and math!
9:00 am to 10:00 am

Sea Festival of Trees in Salisbury

Experience the joy and excitement of Salisbury’s most popular holiday tradition with glittering trees, indoor ice skating, Santa visits and more,
Now entering its 11th year, SeaFestival of Trees is a popular seasonal event that attracts 25,000+ people annually. This annual holiday fundraiser presents a magnificent display of Christmas trees donated and decorated by regional businesses, individuals, student groups, families and organizations...
11:00 am to 8:00 pm
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