September 2, 2014 (Salem, MA) – Interested in tasting locally made cheese in Ipswich or digging for history in Danvers? Seeing some of the oldest Tiffany glass windows in the world, heading out on a walking tour to view public art murals or examining the ecology of Salem Sound?  How about a guided walk of the Babson boulders in Dogtown or kayaking through the Great Marsh?  No matter what your interest or passion, you can find something to learn, explore, and enjoy during Trails & Sails: Two Weekends of Walks and Water 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. The Area is currently home to: Nearly 10,000 structures listed on the National Register of Historic Places, 26 National Historic Landmarks, 86 museums and historic sites open to the public, 400 farms, 9 state parks, 2 national parks, and one national wildlife refuge. 

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. “It is our mission to weave together the exceptional resources of the region in a fun way that inspired residents and visitors to make connections between their lives and these sites,” explained Annie Harris, Essex Heritage CEO.  “Through programs like Trails and Sails that encourage exploration, we are not only enhancing tourism, but we are also building partnerships and engaging the public in sustaining the places that make the region so unique.”

This year’s event is expected to attract more than 4,000 participants who can take advantage of a variety of walks, guided hikes, paddles, historical tours, lectures and other activities – happening morning, afternoon and evening – based on personal interests.  Possible itineraries include:

  • Art Lovers:  Join a photo expedition of the historic mills in Lawrence; learn about one of the “Monuments Men” of World War II, Walker Hancock, in Gloucester; visit the Addison Gallery in North Andover to take in a new exhibit on American Tonalsim; or watch  artists painting “en plein air” at various selected locations along the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway – from Lynn north;
  • Civil War Buffs:  In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, visit sites including the Powder House in Newburyport; the GAR Museum in Marblehead; an illustrated lecture of Civil War Monuments of New England in Saugus; Children’s Civil War Muster and a Civil War Sunday Stroll in Lawrence.
  • Foodies:  Go from “pasture to plate” on a cheese making tour at Appleton Farms, the oldest continuously operating farm in the country;  hunt for mushrooms in Essex;  learn about the cornucopia of plants that can be eaten or used medicinally in Manchester; learn about winemaking in Rowley.
  • Outdoor Enthusiasts:  Explore the beautiful Powow Hill Conservation Area in Amesbury; take a walking tour of Lynn’s shoe factories; stop in North Andover to take a History Hike through Boxford State Forest; head up to Rockport for the Millbrook Meadow & Rockport Cultural District Tour; enjoy a guided kayak tour of the Essex River basin or Plum Island estuary.

All Trails & Sails events are free and most will be held rain or shine. 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 and sponsor locations and all 12 Essex National Heritage Area Visitor Centers.

Take the Trails & Sails Challenge: MOVE IT!

With events to take place throughout the cities and towns of Essex County, Trails & Sails participants  are encouraged to get active  and join the Move It! 100 Miles in 100 Days Challenge sponsored by  Essex Heritage and the YMCA of the North Shore.. Register for Move It! online at and start tracking any miles you run, swim, hike, and bike through October 2014 for fantastic prizes.

About Trails & Sails

Trails & Sails: Two Weekends of Walks and Water is the premier partnership event 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.

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

Emily Levin, Director of Special Events & Communications
(978) 740-0444