A Day at Crane Estate, Ipswich, MA

4
11

IMG_0993

No food in this post, but I love to share little bits of where I live with you guys from time to time.

So Crane Estate in Ipswich has got to be one of the prettiest places on the North Shore. It’s definitely worth visiting if you find yourself north of Boston.

About Crane Estate

Crane Estate was one of the homes of Chicago industrialist Richard T. Crane. One of the groundskeepers told us that Crane had the mansion constructed in one style. He decided he didn’t like it, so he knocked it down and had architect David Adler build the 59-room, Stuart-style mansion that stands today.


The grounds take up 2,100 acres. Yowee, right?

Today, you can tour the mansion and walk the grounds. There’s also a 10-room inn, function space for events, a beach, and a wildlife refuge.

The Little Black Cat and I drove up there the other weekend to investigate.

The day was a little overcast, and not too hot. Perfect day for adventuring around the palatial grounds of this estate. We decided to save the inside of the mansion for another day. This time, we just explored the grounds.

Come for a walk with us

I took pictures as we walked. It’s ridiculously beautiful here.

Stuff was just starting to come into full bloom.

IMG_0859

IMG_0849

IMG_0850

Got to spy on a ladybug. If I had a super-powered lens, we could have seen her little ladybug face.

IMG_0857

The lower grounds

We parked right near the entrance, and immediately started to see castle-y type outbuildings.

IMG_0837

IMG_0838
IMG_0840 IMG_0841

IMG_0843

IMG_0846

We walked up the first slope to check out these two little towers.

IMG_1096

IMG_1125

Here’s the left tower.

IMG_1122

IMG_1131

IMG_1130

The two towers are separated by an expansive lawn crowned by a gorgeous trellised area covered in wisteria.

IMG_1101

IMG_1115

IMG_1114

IMG_1112

There are fountains all over this place.

IMG_1107

IMG_1108

And here’s the tower on the right. The Little Black Cat and I immediately started making plans for trying to move into them.

IMG_0848

IMG_0860

IMG_0861

There was a small opening in one of the boarded up widows that we could peek through. Very Cinderella, right?

IMG_0862  IMG_0865

We walked up the hill a little more, towards the mansion, which gives you a spectacular view of the marsh below.

IMG_0870

IMG_0876

As you get up the hill, the mansion starts to rear its head.

IMG_0875

IMG_0873

At the top of the hill off to the left, there’s this thing:

IMG_0883

Which, it turns out, was used as a fresh water reservoir. Makes total sense. This place is surrounded by water, but it’s all ocean.

IMG_0885

Couldn’t help taking a picture of this gorgeous, noxious colored stuff, which was growing on the wall there.

IMG_0886

IMG_0890

The grounds immediately surrounding the mansion

And finally, the house! Holy macaroni, right? Not too shabby. Not too shabby, at all.

IMG_0892

We wound our way around to the back of the house. The grounds immediately surrounding the house are dotted with gorgeous, half dilapidated stone structures. This one here used to be the Crane family’s rose garden.

IMG_0907

IMG_0903

IMG_0893

It was roped off, so we couldn’t go in for a closer inspection.

IMG_0896

Doorway to nowhere. Probably a trellis in days gone by, ya think?

IMG_0906

You can see the water in the far background here, in the center of the picture.
IMG_0908

Pretty impressive, right? Right beside this, there’s another walled structure with formidable iron gates.

IMG_1067

IMG_0899

IMG_0900

The gate had some gorgeous detail on it.

IMG_0911

IMG_0912

The mansion is directly ahead in this shot, through this area and up those steps.
IMG_0909

The enclosure had these aqueduct-like drainage spouts going on.

IMG_1065
IMG_1062

Here’s what it looks like inside this walled courtyard.

IMG_0913

Again with the nature photography. This little cricket kindly held still for me long enough to snap a picture.

IMG_0916

The stone detailing on almost every structure is enchanting and very unexpected.

IMG_0918

IMG_0919

IMG_0921

IMG_0950

IMG_0928

To the mansion!

We walked through this courtyard and up the stairs, towards the mansion. I bet this is gorgeously lit at night. They do a ton of events here.

IMG_0930

Check out the chimneys! I think we counted 10, total.

IMG_0931

Loved this wrought iron balcony.IMG_0934

IMG_0935

The grounds behind the mansion

These were definitely the highlight of my day here. Two GIANT gryphon statues guard the back entrance to the mansion.

IMG_0937

IMG_0945

We couldn’t resist some ridiculous pics. (RIGHT?)

Jessie-Cross-on-Gryphon-The-Hungry-Mouse

The real show starts behind the mansion. I mean, look at the view down to the ocean.

IMG_0957

We spotted the first wild turkeys of the day behind the house. (See those little dark dots near the road?) You’ll see, they kind of followed us on our walk here. I got some better pics later on.

IMG_0947

The entire rolling slope down to the ocean is lined with life-sized stone statues.
IMG_0956  IMG_0959

IMG_0960

IMG_0962

IMG_0964

IMG_0966

IMG_0967

We walked down the slope, towards the ocean. Here’s the view looking back towards the mansion.

IMG_0970

IMG_0971

The pool grounds

There’s more buildings at the bottom of the slope, about three-quarters of the way down to the ocean. From the signs posted, there used to be a pool here.

IMG_0972

IMG_0973

IMG_0974

IMG_0975

IMG_0978

IMG_0983

Looking back at the pool grounds. The symmetry of this place is amazing. IMG_0993

To the ocean

More statues once you pass the pool grounds on the way to the ocean.

IMG_0985

IMG_0987  IMG_0991

IMG_0992   IMG_0995

More turkeys.IMG_0998

At this point, we’re almost just at the water. Huge, right?IMG_0999

The ocean view from the end of the lawn is gorgeous, even though the day was overcast. IMG_1003

IMG_1004

Into the woods

Crane Estate is also home to a massive nature preserve with miles of trails. We decided to investigate. I mean, why not? We had already walked this far, right?

IMG_1007

IMG_1008

IMG_1009

I love the particular type of woods that you find along our New England coastline. You definitely can tell that you’re right by the ocean. It’s salty, woodsy, and very airy all at the same time.

IMG_1010

IMG_1011

IMG_1013

We came out into a field clearing that led down to the beach proper. Great trees here.

IMG_1014

IMG_1015

Down to the beach

We followed a wooden boardwalk bordered by sparkling, fine white sand.

IMG_1018

IMG_1020

IMG_1021

IMG_1022

IMG_1025

Lots of stuff to look at on the beach, especially if you’re a nerd with a camera.

IMG_1029

IMG_1030

IMG_1031

IMG_1032

IMG_1033

It was definitely too cold to go in when we were there. Water is nice and clean, though. We’ll def be back when the heat hits.

IMG_1035

IMG_1040

IMG_1041

Into the old part of the woods

We walked around on the beach for a bit, then hiked back and took a turn down a narrow, pretty overgrown trail. Definitely one of the older, less traveled parts of the property. Kind of felt like hobbits heading to Mordor.

IMG_1043

Not sure what was going on with all the holes in this tree. (Anyone? Termites?)

IMG_1044

IMG_1045

IMG_1046

IMG_1047

Kind of strange and ominous, right?

IMG_1048

IMG_1049

We finally emerged, closer to the house than we thought, accompanied again by a few rogue wild turkeys.

IMG_1051

Heading back

We wound our way past the garages and back towards the car.

IMG_1053

IMG_1057

IMG_1058

Strange chimney in the middle of nowhere. Not sure what used to be here, but this is the only thing left of it.
IMG_1069

A closer look at the mansion

Couldn’t resist taking a closer peek at the mansion before we left.

IMG_1075

LOVE the front doors. IMG_1071

When you look through the keyhole, you can actually see straight through the mansion and out the other side.

IMG_1083

IMG_1081

IMG_1088

Learn more about Crane Estate

Crane Estate
290 Argilla Road
Ipswich, MA
(978) 356-4351

Crane Estate website

SHARE
Previous articleA quick chat with Wolfgang Puck
Next articleWordless Wednesday: Wingaersheek Beach (Cape Ann, MA)
Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie serves as an Associate Creative Director at PARTNERS+simons, a boutique ad agency in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.

4 COMMENTS

  1. I’m a little late to this one, but great post! If you want to come back August 8th, I’ve played there annually for a while with a local swing band and they open the estate up a little so you can see stuff inside, it’s pretty amazing and the event is a great hang if you are into dancing. Been following your blog for years but now that I live around Boston again it’s like a whole new experience!

  2. wow……awesome pistures..i really like it….amazing..I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post

LEAVE A REPLY