The grounds at the Crane Estate in Ipswich, MA

Visit the Crane Estate in Ipswich, MA This Summer

Select Registry - June 23, 2022

A Beautiful Step Back in Time

The Magnificent Crane Estate in Ipswich, MA

The Crane Estate, located in Ipswich, Massachusetts, is a stunning seaside home that perfectly embodies the grandeur and opulence of early 20th century America. Today, the Crane Estate is a magnificent property situated on 2100 acres and is most famous for its 59-room mansion, Castle Hill, which was built in 1928 for Chicago Tycoon Richard Crane. 

Today, the Crane Estate stands as a magnificent reminder of America’s storied past. You can spend time taking guided or self-guided tours of the estate or just relax on the expansive lawns and meander through the gardens. However you choose to experience the Crane Estate, we know you’ll love it. 

Visiting the Crane Estate is just one of the many great things to do in Ipswich, MA though. Ipswich, MA is a charming coastal town with beautiful beaches, bountiful seafood, and the perfect blend of small-town New England charm. It’s a delightful place to spend a few days, especially when you stay at our Select Registry Bed and Breakfast located here. 

Not only is this Bed and Breakfast situated in a historically fantastic location, but it also brings 50 years of top-notch hospitality industry excellence with the Select Registry brand. Our Innkeepers are the best in the business, attending to every detail of your stay with attentiveness and a warm sense of welcome. Like all of our Select Registry Bed and Breakfasts, our property in Ipswich, MA is rated as one of the best places to stay in the country. Don’t miss your chance to stay with us – book your room today!

a fountain at the Crane Estate in Ipswich, MA

Visit the Crane Estate in Ipswich, MA

Take a step back in time with us this summer, and enjoy the breathtaking Crane Estate in Ipswich, MA. Though the Castle Hill Mansion is exquisite, there’s something quietly alluring about the grounds that beg to be explored. 

From the rolling Grande Allee to the beautifully landscaped grounds and gardens, there’s plenty to see and do at the Crane Estate. You can easily spend a couple of hours here. The Crane Estate is home to three different properties: Castle Hill, Crane Beach, and the Crane Wildlife Refuge. Take your time to explore and appreciate this stunning property and all three of its features. 

Guided tours of the Crane Estate are offered throughout the year, and reservations are not required. 

Castle Hill

Castle Hill on the Crane Estate is one of the most iconic homes on the eastern seaboard and is without a doubt the highlight of any trip to Ipswich, MA. Like most opulent homes of its age, Castle Hill has a deep and storied past.

Richard Crane and his wife purchased the Castle Hill property in 1910, at which point they transformed the Crane Estate from farmland into the sprawling European-inspired country estate you see today. The Stuart-Style Great House that exists today was built in 1928. It’s a great way to experience what it was like to summer in this magnificent place, just as the Crane family did in the early 1900s. 

Guided tours of the Great House are offered hourly and include visits to the family bedrooms, bathrooms, and guest rooms. Though you can purchase tickets onsite, we recommend buying them in advance, especially during the busy summer season.

While at Castle Hill on the Crane Estate, don’t miss the chance to tour the Italian Garden and Rose Garden. There are also trails that wind their way through the gardens, lawns, and paths around the property. One of the many buildings you’ll find on the property is a renovated farmhouse-turned cottage now known as The Inn at Castle Hill.

Crane Beach

After thoroughly touring Castle Hill on the Crane Estate, we recommend you spend some time at the beach. Crane Beach is a part of the estate and is a popular place to spend the day. There are a variety of trails and boardwalks at the beach that wind their way through magnificent sand dunes and salt marshes. 

The highlight of Crane Beach, though, is the stunning white-sand beach and its surrounding habitat. Here, you’ll find 1200 protected acres of maritime forest, dunes, and beachfront, which serve as a model for conservation. 

Crane Beach is one of the most important nesting areas for piping plovers, too, so if you’re an avid birdwatcher, you definitely won’t want to miss a stop here.

If a day at the beach fits into your plans, then know that advanced passes are required. 

Sunset on Crane Beach, part of the beautiful Crane Estate in Ipswich, MA

The Crane Wildlife Refuge

Another must-see at the Crane Estate is the Crane Wildlife Refuge. It’s a beautiful combination of habitats across Castle Neck and seven islands in the Essex River Estuary. With various intertidal zones, salt marshes, and island habits, you can expect a broad range of wildlife diversity here. More than 200 species of birds have been sited here alone!

There are great trails for hiking on Choat and Long Islands, but you can also see this incredible refuge via water for a memorable experience. Castle Neck Boat Tours run daily from June through October. You’re also welcome to enjoy a guided kayak tour of the area. 

Events at the Crane Estate

The Crane Estate also hosts a variety of fun events throughout the year. Here are just a few coming up this summer and fall to keep on your radar. 

  • The summer concerts are the most popular events of the year at Castle Hill. From Folk and Jazz to Afropop and blues, there’s no more beautiful place to relax and enjoy an outdoor summer concert! They’ll take place from July – September. 
  • Experience Castle Hill after hours with themed cocktails, self-guided tours, and music at Cocktails at the Castle.
  • Each August, Castle Hill at the Crane Estate hosts The Roaring Twenties Lawn Party, which is a spectacularly good time reminiscent of what life would have been like with the Crane family. 
Enjoy a sunset view over the river after visiting the Crane Estate in Ipswich, MA

7 More Things to do in Ipswich, MA

It’s easy to see why the Crane Estate is rated #1 regarding things to do in Ipswich, MA. However, that’s not all there is to this sleepy yet charming coastal town! There are a surprising number of things to do in Ipswich, MA – and we’ve listed some of our favorites below. 

  1. Visit the Ipswich Museum, housed in three different historic homes and featuring 400 years of history through its art collections and exhibits.
  2. You’re in coastal Massachusetts, so don’t miss your chance to dine on some deliciously fresh clams. We recommend grabbing some fried clams at The Clam Box. 
  3. If you’re looking for other beaches besides Crane Beach, head to Sandy Point State Reservation. This unspoiled beach is one of the most peaceful in the area and is perfect for swimming, beachcombing, fishing, hunting, hiking, and birdwatching.
  4. Enjoy a delicious rum tasting at Privateer Rum distillery.  
  5. There are several farms and orchards surrounding the town, and visiting them is one of the top-rated things to do in Ipswich, MA. Appleton Farms is a favorite stop for many, as it’s one of the oldest farms in the country, dating back to 1653.
  6. If you’re looking for a nature break, enjoy walking through the salt marshes and wildflower meadows at Hamlin Reservation. 
  7. The 1634 Meadery is a great place to relax in the afternoon with a cold pint of mead. Mead production dates back thousands of years and is done by fermenting honey with various fruits, grains, spices, or hops. Their flight is a fun way to sample a variety of mead. 

With so much history and natural beauty in one place, you’ll want a few days to yourself to enjoy it all. One of the best places to stay in Ipswich, MA is our Select Registry Bed and Breakfast. Book your room today!

The Best Place to Stay in Ipswich, MA

The Inn at Castle Hill

It’s about time.

Time. Our youth was filled with it. We endlessly searched for tomorrow, finally arriving where we are today. Life has brought its challenges…and its rewards. Yet, our aspirations continue, and our responsibilities grow. What’s next? Probably, an escape.

All the rooms at the Inn are uniquely appointed and many feature stunning views over the salt marshes, sand dunes, and the Atlantic Ocean. Though no two rooms are alike, all promise a great night’s sleep and the excitement of waking up in the magical world that is Castle Hill.
Take tea on the veranda and gaze across the spectacular coastline. Read quietly upon a sun-bathed window seat. Stroll along the miles of shoreline. All are part of your stay.

Whatever your pleasure, we will help you find it. The Inn at Castle Hill is a property of The Trustees of Reservations. All proceeds support the land conservation and historic preservation work of The Trustees. Since 1891, The Trustees of Reservations has been saving the Massachusetts landscape for people to enjoy. Our conservation work has helped protect more than 53,000 acres across the state. We care for 25,000 acres on over 100 reservations and inspire conservation awareness through a variety of educational programs. We are a nonprofit organization supported by our 40,500 members.

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