Crane Beach in Ipswich is known as one of the most beautiful beaches in New England, but it’s not without its issues. In the early summer the green heads will bite you to bits. In high season, crowds of people swarm. But in the fall, ah well, that’s another story. The green heads are gone, the crowds have thinned. There’s no better time to take the perfect coastal hike and enjoy all the beauty Crane Beach has to offer right now. Best of all, this hike is the best-kept secret on the North Shore. I’ll take you section by section through 5-miles of dunes and a pine forest, to points with marshland views, and tantalizing peeks at the ocean. Then you’ll reach a deserted stretch of beach and stroll along the shore for the last leg of your hike. This is the type of coastal walk you’ve always wanted to go on, but never could find. Until now. Wear your hiking boots, because you’ll be walking through sand, and as on any hike, wear long pants to guard against ticks. Bring a bottle or two of water, a snack, some sunscreen, and bug repellent in case you’re the type they love. Ok, you’re good. Let’s go.
First off, go to the main entrance of Crane Beach (plug 310 Argilla Rd., Ipswich, MA 01938 into your GPS) and pay your entry fee. It’s $10 on weekdays and $20 on weekends now through Columbus Day. After that it’s $10 through the Friday before Memorial Day. The fee also allows you to tour the grounds of the Crane Estate and the first floor of the house. After you pay your fee, park way over to the far right of the lot, in area 8 or 9. You will see a mounted trail map and an intriguing path.
Great hike, right? If you’re ready for more Ipswich fun, visit the Crane Estate. Your beach parking ticket gives you admission to the grounds and the first floor of the 59-room mansion, which is one of the most significant American country estates of the early 20th century. It was designed by Chicago architect David Adler as a summer home for industrialist Richard Teller Crane Jr. You know him. You probably have some of his company’s heavy-stock cards in your desk drawer right now, embossed with a loopy script version of your monogram, good for all occasions. Here are some pictures of what putting that kind of quality out into the marketplace buys a business magnate:
Thanks for indulging this little Beyond Wellesley jaunt. Now it’s back to our true mission: bringing you “More than you really want to know about Wellesley, Mass.”
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