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.
Got to spy on a ladybug. If I had a super-powered lens, we could have seen her little ladybug face.
The lower grounds
We parked right near the entrance, and immediately started to see castle-y type outbuildings.
We walked up the first slope to check out these two little towers.
Here’s the left tower.
The two towers are separated by an expansive lawn crowned by a gorgeous trellised area covered in wisteria.
There are fountains all over this place.
And here’s the tower on the right. The Little Black Cat and I immediately started making plans for trying to move into them.
There was a small opening in one of the boarded up widows that we could peek through. Very Cinderella, right?
We walked up the hill a little more, towards the mansion, which gives you a spectacular view of the marsh below.
As you get up the hill, the mansion starts to rear its head.
At the top of the hill off to the left, there’s this thing:
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.
Couldn’t help taking a picture of this gorgeous, noxious colored stuff, which was growing on the wall there.
The grounds immediately surrounding the mansion
And finally, the house! Holy macaroni, right? Not too shabby. Not too shabby, at all.
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.
It was roped off, so we couldn’t go in for a closer inspection.
Doorway to nowhere. Probably a trellis in days gone by, ya think?
Pretty impressive, right? Right beside this, there’s another walled structure with formidable iron gates.
The gate had some gorgeous detail on it.
The enclosure had these aqueduct-like drainage spouts going on.
Here’s what it looks like inside this walled courtyard.
Again with the nature photography. This little cricket kindly held still for me long enough to snap a picture.
The stone detailing on almost every structure is enchanting and very unexpected.
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.
Check out the chimneys! I think we counted 10, total.
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.
We couldn’t resist some ridiculous pics. (RIGHT?)
The real show starts behind the mansion. I mean, look at the view down to the ocean.
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.
We walked down the slope, towards the ocean. Here’s the view looking back towards the mansion.
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.
To the ocean
More statues once you pass the pool grounds on the way to the ocean.
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?
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.
We came out into a field clearing that led down to the beach proper. Great trees here.
Down to the beach
We followed a wooden boardwalk bordered by sparkling, fine white sand.
Lots of stuff to look at on the beach, especially if you’re a nerd with a camera.
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.
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.
Not sure what was going on with all the holes in this tree. (Anyone? Termites?)
Kind of strange and ominous, right?
We finally emerged, closer to the house than we thought, accompanied again by a few rogue wild turkeys.
We wound our way past the garages and back towards the car.
A closer look at the mansion
Couldn’t resist taking a closer peek at the mansion before we left.
When you look through the keyhole, you can actually see straight through the mansion and out the other side.