September 15, 2022 – Presented by Essex Heritage, Trails & Sails features more than 150 free events over 10 days, this year held from Friday, September 16th through Sunday, September 25th. These events celebrate the elaborate variety of historic, cultural, and natural resources in the Essex National Heritage Area: the 34 cities and towns of Essex County, a 500 square mile region just north of Boston, MA. Participants can visit the website to explore all events at or pick up a guidebook at one of the 13 Visitor Centers in Essex County, as well as in most local libraries.

Essex Heritage CEO, Annie Harris, said, “Trails & Sails was created 21 years ago to encourage residents to experience some of the wonderful trails, museums, historic sites, and water-based activities that abound in this region. All the events are free, so there is plenty of incentive for locals to visit these special places that they drive by every day.”

Event participants can take advantage of a variety of family-friendly activities, garden tours, guided hikes, historical walks, lectures, boat rides, and more – happening morning, afternoon, and evening over 10 days. With so many special things to do and see during Trails & Sails, there’s something for everyone.

New this year, Essex Heritage has identified four themes of significant importance to the Essex National Heritage Area including the sustainability of natural resources, the importance of our coastal salt marshes, the variety of available outdoor recreational activities, and new discoveries being uncovered by our local history. Helping to raise awareness about the important work being done by partnering event hosts is another way that Trails & Sails brings the community together, some highlighted activities are included below.

Here for Tomorrow – Events on Sustainability: Go birding in the Upper Little River Watershed in Newburyport, join a special guided tour of the Climate + Environment exhibitions at the PEM, or learn the indigenous ways to use certain plants with a member of the Massachusett Tribe, and much more!

Discover the Great Marsh – A Critical Habitat in a Changing Climate: Hear from local scientists about how they study the impact of sea level rise on the Great Marsh in Rowley, enjoy a guided paddle through the Ipswich River and learn about the watershed, or take a special tour the historic Cox Reservation on the edge of the Great Marsh.

Great Outdoors! – Opportunities for Recreation and Wellness: Ride local rail trails with the advocates who work to ensure safe non-motorized travel routes in Essex County, tours are available starting in Topsfield, Newburyport, and Lynn. Learn how to forage for mushrooms on a fungi walk in Beverly, or explore the fields and forest of Camp Denison in Georgetown in search of some amazing insects, reptiles, and amphibians.

Untold Stories of Essex County – New Discoveries of our Shared History: Take an immersive theatrical walking tour with abolitionist and educator, Charlotte Forten, a young, African-American woman who lived in Salem in the years leading up to the Civil War, attend a special talk with author and journalist, Ted Reinstein at the Lynn Public Library, or trek to Cape Ann Museum for a special performance with the Wampanoag Singers and Dancers celebrating Indigenous Heritage Day.

All Trails & Sails events are free & most are available on a first come, first-served basis except for a few reservation-required events. Be sure to visit for the most up to date information and instructions as applicable.