August 25, 2014 (Salem, MA) – Interested in cruising or kayaking along the Essex River? Walking in the footsteps of great artists – past and present – to visit the sites throughout Gloucester and Rockport where they worked, lived and became inspired? How about a tour of the Babson boulders in Dogtown or a tour thought downtown Manchester’s history, landmarks and architecture? No matter what your interest, you can find something to learn, explore, and enjoy at Trails & Sails: Two Weekends of Walks and Water, to be held on September 19-21 and 26-28, 2014. 

Presented by the Essex National Heritage Commission (Essex Heritage), Trails & Sails features more than 150 free events over two weekends and celebrates the rich variety of historic, cultural and natural resources in the Essex National Heritage Area. Encompassing the 34 cities and towns of Essex County, a 500 square mile region just north of Boston, MA, the Essex National Heritage Area was created by an Act of the U.S. Congress in 1996 in recognition of the important role that the county played in American history and the significant heritage resources that still exist in the region. Trails & Sails, now in its 13th year, was created by Essex Heritage to highlight the Area’s treasures and encourage residents and visitors to engage with these resources in different and more meaningful ways with the goal of engendering a commitment to preserving them.

For Trails & Sails 2014, Essex Heritage has partnered with non-profit and for-profit recreational organizations across Essex County to offer 150+ free, fun, and family-friendly events at more than 100 sites that showcase our region’s distinctive heritage, history, culture, and the natural environment. From maritime and railroad museums, to guided nature tours both onshore and off, there are activities happening morning, afternoon and evening that welcome your exploration.

The impressive line-up of Trails & Sails events in the eastern Essex County communities of Essex, Gloucester, Manchester, and Rockport includes:


  • Essex Residents Arts and Craftsmanship Exhibit
  • Essex River Tour
  • Kayaking the Essex River Basin
  • Mushroom Hunt
  • The Spirit Books – An Artist Talk


  • A Chosen Place: Walker Hancock & Friends Gallery Tour
  • A Hermit’s Tale on the Trails
  • Climb Up City Hall Tower
  • Dockside Tour of Schooner Adventure
  • Everybody’s Neighborhood, Part I: Stacy Boulevard
  • Free Film Screening: “The Monuments Men”
  • Gloucester’s HarborWalk: Art Culture History Along Our Working Harbor
  • Historic Art Trail Walk
  • Historic Ice House Tours
  • It’s Not a Weed: Food, Medicine and Magic of Wild Plants
  • Lobster Lore at Maritime Gloucester
  • Maritime Saturday at fishing vessel Phyllis A.
  • Step on FISH NET: Gloucester’s 300′ Public Art Street Mural
  • Talking Walls of Gloucester
  • Tour Of The Babson Boulders In Dogtown, Gloucester
  • Walker Hancock Remembered
  • Welcome to the Home of Judith Sargent Murray, Founding Mother


  • Historic Manchester Walking Tour


  • Acorn Press Printing Demo
  • Millbrook Meadow & Rockport Cultural District Tour
  • Quarry Tour

Visit to see the complete listing of events, design a personalized itinerary, or purchase a hard-copy guide mailed from Essex Heritage for $5.00. A limited number of free printed guides are available at all 12 Essex National Heritage Area Visitor Centers, including the Buttonwoods Museum & Haverhill Historical Society, Lawrence Visitor Center at Lawrence Heritage State Park, and sponsor locations.

Take the Trails & Sails Challenge: MOVE IT!

With events to take place throughout the cities and towns of Essex County, residents and visitors alike are encouraged to get out and challenge themselves during Trails & Sails by participating in Essex Heritage and the YMCA of the North Shore’s Move It! 100 Miles in 100 Days Challenge. Register for Move It! online at and start tracking any miles you run, swim, hike, and bike through October 2014 for fantastic prizes.

Trails & Sails 2014: Two Weekends of Walks & Water is sponsored by Eastern Bank and TD Bank.

About Trails & Sails

Trails & Sails: Two Weekends of Walks and Water is the premier partnership event of the Essex National Heritage Commission celebrating the historic, cultural and natural treasures of the Essex National Heritage Area. Coordinated by Essex Heritage as an integral part of our mission, TRAILS & SAILS raises regional awareness of the Area’s unique history and promotes the preservation of its heritage sites.

Essex Heritage Director of Special Events & Communications, Emily Levin manages the Trails & Sails program and is available to answer questions or for interviews. Call 978-740-0444. Email: