Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Day at Crane's Beach

One of the main reasons we live on Boston’s North Shore is the vacation feel up here because of the proximity to some of the best beaches and vacation spots around. One of those is Crane’s Beach. If you’ve never been there, it’s a gorgeous beach with miles and miles of soft sand. Even on the busiest of summer days you can still find plenty of beach space (if you can find parking – get there before 10am or the lot gets filled up). The other day wasn’t a beach type of day at all, with temperatures still in the 50’s and a gusty wind, but we still made a morning out of a trip up to Cranes. It’s a perfect day or half day trip. As an itinerary, start with the grounds at Castle Hill on Crane’s estate, then over to Crane’s Beach, and then to Russell Orchards for refreshments before heading home. You'll get some amazing pictures, and the kids will take a GREAT nap after this trip.
Crane's Estate - still gorgeous even on a gloomy day
Great photo opportunities!
Peaking in the windows at the back of the estate
The view down to the ocean
The ruins at Crane's
We call Castle Hill on Crane's Estate the “toilet castle” because it was built in 1928 by the Crane family, who are involved in the toilet bowl business. The grounds are amazing, and include “ruins” from the original ornate pools and fountains that are scattered on the property.  The views out to the ocean are nothing less than stunning – especially on clear blue summer days and colorful fall days, but even on cloudy rainy days that give the estate more of a mysterious feel.

After touring the grounds at the estate, the next stop is Crane’s beach, which is about 500 yards from the entrance to the estate. We visit the beach all the time even in colder weather. It’s perfect for hours of play in the summer, but also great for a brisk walk in cooler weather.

Russell Orchards - for more pics and info:
After exhausting yourself from walking the estate and the beach, make sure to stop at Russell Orchards on your way out for refreshments before heading home. The Orchards is on the left side, and is way more than just a gigantic apple orchard. It took us a few years of living here to realize this – we thought it was just a place to pick apples in the fall but it is so much more. After touring the estate and the beach, you’ll have earned the right to munch on one their awesome baked goods – Bean’s favorite is the apple cider doughnut, and my personal favorite is the mixed berry scone. They also have homemade ice cream, fresh apple cider all year long, and all kinds of breads, jellies, jams and spreads. It’s even a winery, and they sell several types of sweet wines made on site. The best part about Russell Orchards is the outdoor area, which is totally free and open to the public – something I love to find these days. There are picnic benches and plenty of places to eat, as well as all kinds of farm animals roaming the area for the kids to see.  Bean loves to see the bunnies, the baby chicks, the giant 70 year old pig, and the goats. There are also plenty of chickens and guinea hens running around for the kids to chase.  
If you’ve never been up to Crane's, it’s so worth it and it can be a half day or full day trip any time of year except the deepest of winter. Happy Travels!

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