December 9, 2013 

Thousands of people took to the byways, waterways and trails of the Essex National Heritage Area over the last two weekends of September to participate in the 12th annual TRAILS & SAILS: Two Weekends of Walks and Water.

For TRAILS & SAILS 2013, the Essex National Heritage Commission (Essex Heritage) and its partners organized nearly 200 free and unique events designed to showcase the historic, cultural and natural resources of the Heritage Area.  More than 100 event hosts opened their doors and scheduled events to connect people to the special places and organizations that comprise the Essex National Heritage Area.  While event tallies continue to trickle in, Essex Heritage estimates that a record breaking 5,000+ people participants have been recorded at Trails & Sails events extending throughout the 34 cities and towns of Essex County.

TRAILS & SAILS 2013 People’s Choice Awards

Essex Heritage is very grateful to the hundreds of organizations, event leaders and businesses that opened their doors and created experiences that continue to thrill and delight residents and visitors alike. Every year, Essex Heritage presents the “People’s Choice Awards” based on participant feedback. Please join us in applauding the five events (listed in alpha order) that received the most votes from participants. The 2013 “People’s Choice Awards” go to:

1.        Digging for History at the Homestead, hosted by Danvers Alarm List Company & Rebecca Nurse Homestead, Danvers

2.        Historic Ice House Tours, hosted by Cape Pond Ice Company, Gloucester

3.        Hopper’s Houses Walking Tour, hosted by Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester

4.        Salem and the Abolitionist Movement, hosted by Historic Salem, Inc., Salem

5.        Talking Walls of Gloucester, hosted by the Gloucester Committee for the Arts, Gloucester.

Participant Challenge Prize Winner

Essex Heritage is also grateful to REI for generously donating an In-Camp 4 person tent to the TRAILS & SAILS 2013 Participant Challenge.  TRAILS & SAILS 2013 participants were challenged to attend as many unique events as possible over the two weekends in order to be entered to win the tent from REI.  Congratulations to the 2013 Participant Challenge winner: Joan F. of Methuen!

TRAILS & SAILS is the Essex National Heritage Commission’s premier partnership activity.  The free event expands cultural tourism by bringing new audiences to dozens of historic sites and open spaces, and stimulates new business in the local economy.  Held in late September, residents and visitors alike experience the region’s best from a wide array of events – guided walks, on-water tours, open houses –  organized by the front line stewards of the Area’s historic, cultural and natural resources.  Since 2002, more than 41,383 people have attended Trails & Sails events.  Learn more at

Essex Heritage has great appreciation for TD Bank and Eastern Bank for their long-time sponsorship commitment that keeps TRAILS & SAILS a free public outreach celebration.

TRAILS & SAILS 2013: Two Weekends of Walks & Water was presented by TD Bank and Eastern Bank with additional support from REI.