Two September weekends of Walks and Water, with more than 150 free events at cultural, historic and natural resource sites in Essex County, Massachusetts, will invite visitors to come to the 500 square mile region just north of Boston for the 12th year of fun activities, including visiting where gunpowder was stored during the Civil War in Newburyport or going rock climbing in Lawrence.
On September 20-22 and 27-29, the Essex National Heritage Commission (Essex Heritage) will encompass the 34 cities and towns of the county and include fungus hunting in Gloucester, walking the path of the striking Lawrence textile workers during the famous Bread and Roses Strike of 1912, exploring the Italian culture and architectural history in Haverhill or taking a kayak tour through the Great Marsh in Newburyport.
Art lovers can join a photo expedition of the Lawrence mills, take a walking tour in Gloucester to view houses painted by Edward Hopper, visit St. Stephen's Memorial Episcopal Church to see more than 40 of the oldest ecclesiastical Tiffany windows in the world.
Civil War buffs can see in the GAR Museum in Lynn which houses more than 1200 Civil War photos and documents signed by Abraham Lincoln.
Foodies can tour Appleton Farms, the oldest continuously operating farm in the country and get a behind-the-scenes tour of the dairy.
Outdoor enthusiasts can feel striped bass brush against your legs, paddle a canoe in the Shawsheen River in Andover, explore the bird nesting box program in Groveland and enjoy guided kayak tours.
This year's event is expected to attract more than 4000 visitors, and most will be held rain or shine.
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 that are listed on the national register of historic places, 26 national landmarks, 86 museums and historic sites open to the public, 400 farms, nine state parks, two national parks and one national wildlife refuge. Trails & Sails 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.
For a complete list of activities of those two upcoming weekends, go to www.trailsandsails.com.