Local Arts, Culture and History on Display During 22nd Annual Trails & Sails

Hand Tub House and Toll House Museum. (Courtesy photograph.)

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The 22nd annual Trails & Sails event, taking place over two weeks, begins Friday and highlights historic and cultural sites throughout the Essex National Heritage Area.

The series brings awareness and appreciation for heritage resources around Essex County, a federally designated National Heritage Area. Historically, according to organizers, Trails & Sails has focused on outdoor activities such as guided hikes and excursions on the water, but over the years it has grown to include historic house tours, lectures, community celebrations, special exhibitions, craft demonstrations and many other diverse activities.

Among the events taking place locally is a self-guided hike of the Donald C. Freeman Memorial Trail at Whittier Birthplace. The approximately half mile loop sweeps around the historic house, up into the woods, and back down the fields. Each of the 13 stops along the way includes a piece of John Greenleaf Whittier’s poetry describing the landscape or a selection from one of his early biographers. It is available every day, from 7 a.m.- 8 p.m., at 305 Whittier Road, Haverhill.

Hikers are advised to be prepared to walk over grass and dirt in the woods and consider bringing bug spray.

Other events this weekend include:

Historic Bradford Center Tour, Friday, Sept. 15, from 10-11:30 a.m. Highlights include Kimball and Haseltine homes, Kimball Tavern, Bradford Academy and First Church of Christ. The starting location will be provided with registration by emailing [email protected] or calling 967-374-4626.

Bella Building Tour, Friday, Sept. 15, from 11 a.m.-12;15 p.m. It features Haverhill’s rich Italian culture and architectural history, exploring the part of the Italian district that includes River and Washington Streets and the lower part of Mount Washington. Reserve by calling local historian Thomas Spitalere at 978-376-2807.

A Spiritual Quest Weekend at Hilldale Cemetery sponsored by Essex County Ghost Project and Witches Wonder, both Friday and Saturday night, Sept. 15 and 16, from 6:30-10:30 p.m., at Hilldale Cemetery, 331 Hilldale Ave., Haverhill.

Greenwood Cemetery Tour, Saturday, Sept. 16, from 9-10 a.m. The starting location will be provided upon registration by emailing [email protected] or calling 967-374-4626.

Fairy House Festival, hosted by Tree Top Summer Camp and Friends of Veasey Park, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 16 and 17, from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m., at Veasey Park, Groveland.

Rocks Village Hand Tub Building and Toll House Museum open house, Sunday, Sept. 17, from noon- 4 p.m., at 1 River Road, Haverhill.

Methuen’s Civil War Veterans tour, sponsored by the Lawrence Civil War Memorial Guard, Sunday, Sept. 17, from 1-3 p.m., at the GAR Civil War Monument off Grove Street.

All events throughout the county are listed at trailsandsails.org.

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