The Trustees by Train

Keolis massAdventures allows folks departing from Boston to head to several Trustees properties across the eastern part of the state.

A train board displays arrivals and departures at Boston's North Station.

Departures from Boston's North Station Commuter Rail stop are easily accessible by those on the MBTA's network of rail or bus lines.

Your next Massachusetts adventure is just around the corner. And up the railroad tracks. 

The Trustees has partnered with Keolis, who runs the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s Commuter Rail system, to offer guided tours and hikes at several properties that are a short distance from local Commuter Rail stations. Offering a car-free way to access the special places we steward in several areas of the state, the program serves to increase accessibility, while also offering a more eco-friendly way to get to the Trustees. 

Registering for one of the many programs in collaboration with the Trustees via the massAdventures site offers visitors round-trip Commuter Rail tickets, transportation via van or bus to the Trustees property they will be visiting, and admission to both the grounds of the property and the experience being offered via the collaboration – a tour, guided hike, or other unique offering. 

A large estate made of stone is pictured with a pebbled drive on a foggy and grey day.

The Crane Estate in Ipswich is a destination for MassAdventures.

The Mass Adventures Experience

I recently set out on a Mass Adventure of my own, heading to Castle Hill in Ipswich, MA, part of the Crane Estate. To book the experience, I headed to the massAdventures site through Keolis, and picked out my experience, and the date I would be attending. 

After I registered, I received a confirmation email, which told me I would be given details about my trip approximately two days before my experience. Set to embark on a Monday (I enjoyed an excursion during a long weekend), I received an email Saturday afternoon providing a QR code that could be used to access the commuter rail, details about my train and the transportation to Castle Hill, and a tentative timeline of the experience. 

My train was set to depart from North Station. Living just outside the City of Boston, I opted to take the bus and Red Line to reach the commuter rail stop. The QR code provided gave me access through the turnstiles, and Keolis had informed me via email that I should board the 11:30am train on the Newburyport line, disembarking in Ipswich. 

A man sits with his back to the camera in a black t-shirt and black baseball hat. He has one hand on a steering wheel, driving a bus.

Our driver picked us up at the Ipswich Station for our massAdventure.

An estate made of stone sits on a pebbled drive in the fog.

The Estate was shrouded in fog on the day of our trip.

It was a lunchtime experience, so my partner and I shared a packed lunch on the train during our approximately 40-minute journey. We enjoyed views of several coastal towns, and waved out the window as we passed through Appleton Farms in Ipswich and Hamilton, another Trustees property. 

By 12:20pm, we had disembarked in Ipswich, and were met by our bus driver, who held a Mass Adventures sign to direct us to the bus. We drove approximately 15 minutes from downtown Ipswich, up Argilla Road to the Crane Estate. 

We arrived around 12:45pm and checked in at the desk inside the Great House. Our Guest of the Cranes tour, included in our adventure, started at 1:00, so we were able to spend time walking around the grounds of the estate on our own. It was a foggy day, with the Grand Allee nowhere in sight, but we enjoyed the architecture of the house, scoping out the newest spring plantings, and meandering through the store. 

In the foreground, a person holds up a character card they were assigned for the Guest of the Cranes tour. In the background, members of the tour stand out of focus, including the guide.

My assigned persona for the Guest of the Cranes Tour.

Several people with their backs turned walk the halls of the Crane Estate. They are walking through an arched cream-colored hallway with art on both sides.

Other members of my tour pass through the hallway of the estate.

At 1:00, we joined an expertly guided tour, taking on the personas of Crane Estate guests of yester-year. As Princess Juliana of the Netherlands and Baroness Eveline von Maydell, we enjoyed learning about the Crane family, their philanthropic ways, gorgeous estate, and eventually, the status and recent history of the property. 

The tour ended around 2:00pm, leaving us with time to spare before needing to head back to the bus. We took more time to explore, noting we needed to meet our driver no later than 2:40 according to the Keolis email, to make our 3:20pm train back to North Station. 

Another short bus ride later, and we were waiting on the Ipswich platform to head home. As we sat on the train and enjoyed another peaceful ride through Massachusetts’ stunning landscapes, we chatted about our favorite moments of the tour and planned our next trip to the estate. 

Want to go on your own adventure? 

MassAdventures to Trustees properties are currently scheduled through the end of July. You can choose from a Guided Tour of Castle Hill on the Crane Estate in Ipswich, Barnyard Stories at Weir River Farm in Hingham, a World’s End Guided Hike in Hingham, or a deCordova Sculpture Park Tour in Lincoln. 

We hope to see you at the Trustees on your next adventure! 

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