Community Open Spaces

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A number of towns and cities throughout the watershed are playing an important role in acquiring open space and recreational lands. This section highlights some of the parks and conservation lands which are open to the public, and suitable for the uses described in this guide.

Protected land is the key to recreational opportunities in the watershed. Hats off to all those who work to conserve this beautiful landscape and its habitats, and develop and maintain trails and recreational facilities!

* Upper Watershed (Andover, North Andover, Reading, North Reading, Wilmington, Burlington)
* Mid Watershed (Boxford, Topsfield, Middleton, Danvers, Peabody, Lynnfield)
* Lower Watershed (Beverly, Wenham, Hamilton, Ipswich)

Upper Watershed

Andover
Andover, which includes land in the Ipswich, Merrimack and Shawsheen Watersheds, is blessed with over 4,300 acres of protected land. The most well known are Harold Parker State Forest and the Ward Reservation, including Holt Hill, the highest point in the Ipswich River Watershed and Essex County.

The town also protects over 1500 acres through the Conservation Commission, and has a terrific citizens group, AVIS (Andover Village Improvement Society), which has worked for many years developing an extensive network of reservations and trails through the town. AVIS publishes an excellent guide, incuding maps showing trails and key features, and descriptions of the properties mentioned here.

1. Skug River Reservation and Hammond Reservation
The Skug River Reservation and the Hammond Reservation are both accessible from Salem Street. The reservations, comprising 75 acres, protect the headwaters of the Skug River and connect the Ward Reservation area with Harold Parker State Forest.

The Skug River (after a misspelling of skunk) once powered a profitable sawmill and gristmill. The miellrace stone walls are visible in Harold Parker State Forest. William Jenkins quarried soapstone here, and was also a renowned abolitionist. His home on Jenkins Road was a station for the Underground Railroad and a gathering place for William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass and Harriet Beecher Stowe.

The regrowth woodlands were once cleared farm fields. The stone and earthen causeway in Hammond Reservation was originally a dam, creating an ice pond and livestock watering hole. In addition to the forest, wetlands and brook itself, the largest glacial erratic in the area is just west of Jenkins Road along the Bay Circuit Trail.

2. Amy Gordon Taft Reservation
The Amy Gordon Taft Reservation is located south of Rt. 125 between Salem Street and Wildwood Road. America’s first poet, Anne Bradstreet, moved from Ipswich to Andover, and her family owned this land in the 1600’s. There was a grinding mill in the 1700’s and a sawmill in the 1800’s, harnessing power from a branch of the Skug River. This 60-acre reservation is a wonderful site to observe wildflowers. The property is to be preserved forever “wild,” thanks to a donation by Rebekah Lockwood Taft in memory of her mother.

3. Peggy Keck Reservation
Formerly known as the Rocky Hill Reservation, this property is 40-acres just north of Rt 125 and east of Gould Road (parking at junction), with trails looping around the property across to Rocky Hill Road (parking). The property includes ancient rock formations, and rocks with glacial striations, or scratches, exhibiting evidence of the movement of the Wisconsin glacier.

4. Goldsmith Woodlands
The Goldsmith Woodlands includes a network of trails traversing knolls and pine forests on the southeastern side of Fosters Pond. The pond, once an area of small summer cottages, is located on the natural boundary between the Ipswich and Merrimack River Watersheds, and once drained in both directions. The outlet stream which flowed to the Ipswich was dammed.

North Andover
Most of the town of North Andover is in the Ipswich River Watershed, despite the common misconception that it is all part of the Merrimack Basin. The southern 2/3 of town is part of the Mosquito/ Fish Brook and Skug River subwatersheds – lovely despite the names! This is also the highest portion of the Ipswich River Watershed. North Andover hosted a downhill ski slope at Boston Hill, just west of Rt 114 for many years.

North Andover includes much of Harold Parker State Forest, including the popular Berry Pond and Stearns, Sudden and Salem Ponds. There is additional state forest land in at least six locations east of Rt 114, and the Sharpners Pond area of Boxford State Forest, and the Foster cedar swamp area just to the north of the old ABM site.

Off Dale Street is the Town Farm Area, including a picnicking site and trails up and over the drumlin between there and South Bradford Street. To the south, a network of reservations include the Farnsworth Reservation and James Swamp on Mosquito Brook, Purgatory Swamp, Bruin Hill, and the Lost Pond/Brookview Pond areas.

Reading
Reading is a relatively densely developed community, but has done an outstanding job of protecting land along the Ipswich River, making a continuous protected river corridor. This continuous corridor on the Reading side of the river was made complete by the acquisition of the Marion Minuteman Woods property, just east of Mill Street on the southern shore of the Ipswich River. The acquisition of this historic property is a tribute to the dedication and hard work of Reading citizens who are working to protect the Ipswich River. This property includes beautiful forested riverfront land, and was also a staging area for the militia during the Revolutionary War.

Just upstream, adjacent to Marion Minuteman Woods, Lob’s Pound Mill is another site of both ecological and historical importance, where the sawmill that is on the Town’s seal was located in the 1700’s. The town canoe landing is now located at the Lob’s Pound Mill area where there is parking access for both the canoe landing and Marion Minuteman Woods.

The Town Forest, bordering the south shore of the Ipswich River, is one of the most important open space properties in town, including over 100 acres with extensive frontage on the Ipswich River and trails for hiking, walking and cross-country skiing. The Town Forest is protected water supply land.

Abutting the Town Forest across Franklin Street is Kurchian Woods, a forested upland with nice trails which allow a longer excursion, linked to the Town Forest.

Fairbanks Marsh is located just downstream of Rt 28.

Cedar Swamp, on the eastern side of Reading, includes much of the Bear (aka Bare) Meadow Brook subwatershed. The land is ecologically important, but not easily accessible for recreation. Nearby on the west side of Haverhill Street is Schneider Woods, a small forested property with a beautiful vernal pool.

North Reading
Ipswich River Park is the crown jewel in North Reading. Rescued from development with state grant funds, this wonderful park was reclaimed from and old sand and gravel pit which was littered with tons of debris. Today, it is a beautiful park, with amenities like picnic areas, a gazebo, paths and sports fields. The park lies along the south shore of the Ipswich River and includes a canoe landing at the Central Street Bridge.

On the opposite (north) bank is town conservation land, which offers a less formal place to enjoy the river. Just upstream, also on the north bank (and along route 62) is the town’s North Parrish Park, which is a quieter alternative for a picnic or place to access the river (access is fairly steep at this location).

North Reading also includes some of Harold Parker State Forest on the north side of town. In particular, the forest around Bradford Pond off Marblehead Road is a good place to walk, fish, bike, cross-country ski, etc.

The town of North Reading enjoys the distinction of having one of the longest reaches of the Ipswich River along and within the town boundaries. The river winds its way for miles, with many road crossings. For the most part, spring canoeing this part of the river is very enjoyable, retaining a sense of wilderness, even so close to developed areas. However, downed trees and tight turns may make the going slow, and low water levels in many summers make canoeing more difficult. Some people enjoy tubing in the section from Chestnut Street to Ipswich River Park.

North Reading has acquired conservation land abutting both Swan Pond and Eisenhaures Pond. You can access Swan Pond by parking at Fox Run and walking north. There are several walking trails in the vicinity. There is a beautiful highbush blueberry shrub swamp directly east of Swan Pond, with a glacial deposit of rocks in the middle – a wonderful spot to climb up to sit and look over the landscape. Land to the south and west of Eisenhaures Pond is also owned by the town.

Wilmington/ Burlington
Wilmington and Burlington do not have as much open space as some other communities, and are relatively densely developed. However, there are some lovely areas to explore by foot, bike or kayak.

The section of Burlington in the watershed is quite small, but does host a beautiful resource along Sawmill Brook, as well as the Mill Pond Conservation Area around the town’s reservoir.

Burlington and Wilmington are working to protect land along the beautiful Sawmill Brook, which traverses hilly terrain forming the southwestern boundary of the Ipswich River watershed. Sawmill Brook is quite unique in the watershed, as it cuts a deep ravine in Wood Hill, graced by lovely hemlocks. This beautiful brook was the site of several mills of historical importance, and the Trust for Public Lands acquired 7 acres including a mill site.

Remnants of the mills are visible, and the properties are near the old Middlesex Canal, thus allowing a wonderful opportunity to explore both history and nature. The property is accessible from Sawmill Lane off Mill Street/ Hillside Way, right at the Burlington/ Wilmington boundary. The Middlesex Canal traversed the region from Boston to Lowell, and was a major transportation link until superseded by rail travel in the 1800’s. Remnants of the canal cross Wilmington, and provide a chance to enjoy the outdoors as well as the region’s history.

The Wilmington Wildlife Preserve is a 53-acre property which flanks the Ipswich River at the Burlington/Wilmington line. This area has some rough trails and big glacial erratics. Wilmington also has protected 60-acres at the confluence of Maple Meadow Brook and the Ipswich River; this area is wonderful wildlife habitat, though the land is wet and does not have trails. Additional conservation land, including a cranberry bog and land along Lubbers Brook, abuts Wilmington Town Hall off Glen Road.

Mid-Watershed:

Boxford
Boxford State Forest, the Bald Hill Reservation and the John. Phillips Wildlife Sanctuary, parts of Willowdale/ Cleaveland Farm State Forest, and part of Georgetown/ Rowley State Forest provide a core of open space in this community. This core is enhanced and linked by lands protected by Essex County Greenbelt Association and BTA/BOLT (Boxford Trails Assoc./Boxford Open Land Trust) as well as some private land where public access is permitted, forming a wonderful recreational resource.

Boxford has an outstanding network of foot- and equestrian trails, developed and maintained by BTA/BOLT and the Boxford Bay Circuit Committee. Their Boxford Guide to the Bay Circuit Trail is wonderfully informative. This guide provides detailed descriptions of about 15 miles of of the Bay Circuit Trail, plus maps and descriptions of many highlighted properties.

Some of the highlights in Boxford include Boy Scout Park including a section along Fish Brook; the Lockwood and Moore Lands (public access along brook trail only), Chapman Lane, the Wildcat Conservation Area, the Perley-Spofford Woods, Maddock Wildlife Refuge and Livermore Woods. Round Top Park is what remains of a site of historical interest — a military encampment and training area used from colonial times til after World War I.

Boxford is an equestrian’s paradise, as well as wonderful biking terrain. Please be aware of, and observe, restrictions on access or use to some of the properties.

Boxford has more ponds than any other community in the watershed. Though some have swimming beaches, they are either private or restricted to town residents. Stiles Pond has a boat ramp at the western end, and is stocked with trout and smallmouth bass by the state. There is canoe access at Four-Mile, Spofford and Stevens Ponds, and along Fish Brook, which also has some of the best stream fishing of any place in the watershed.

Topsfield
The Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, Bradley Palmer State Park, and Willowdale State Forest – what more can you ask, right? Thanks to Bradley Palmer’s land donations, Topsfield boasts some of the most extensive and exquisite open space in the region, including state park and forest as well as town forest.

The John Nutter Town Forest, honoring Topsfield’s own “man who planted trees,” borders Hood Pond on the southwestern side and adjoins Willowdale State Forest. The Town Beach is located adjacent, at the southwestern end of the pond. Access is from Rt 97, and non-resident use is permitted when the beach is not too crowded. There is canoe access from the Ipswich side of Hood Pond on the north bank.
Nearby to the southwest, the town is currently developing a park adjacent to conservation land abutting Pye Brook. The Haverhill Road Conservation Area and new park extends between Rte 97 and Bare Hill Rd, and offers both sports fields and trails.

Topsfield is blessed with one of the longest sections of the mainstem of the Ipswich River, which shapes the lovely landscape at the heart of town. There are a number of canoe landings at the bridges (which are also popular fishing spots). The popular “Sliding Hill” off Salem Road is great for sledding.

Middleton
There are about 100 acres of protected land along the Ipswich River in Middleton. The town has been working to improve access to the river, and to create parking areas and canoe landings at Rt 114, Rt 62, Boston Street and other sites. From the Boston Street bridge downstream to Thunder Bridge is one of the nicest stretches of the river to canoe, given enough water.

Middleton’s town beach is located at Thunder Bridge on East Street. There is no parking allowed except for Middleton residents, but access for those biking or canoeing is allowed.

Middleton has a number of long trails, both in the vicinity of Emerson Bog (also called Emerson Brook Reservoir) and south of Boxford State Forest. One of the nicest trails is a public right-of-way called Thomas Road, which is unmarked and looks like a driveway. It is just west of the Peabody Street crossing of the Ipswich River. (Please respect the abutter’s desire for privacy.) On the east side of the river, you’ll also find protected land which is a lovely spot for a short walk or rustic picnic.

The Middleton Conservation Commission has been doing a fine job working with riverfront landowners, and as a result has protected a number of properties along the river. The Commission owns land off Mill Street which abuts the Ipswich River, and provides a rustic camping experience. This primitive campsite is accessible from the river, and is open to the public with prior permission from the Conservation Commission; call 978-777-1869.

Danvers
Danvers is quite densely developed, and the portion of the town in the Ipswich River Watershed is relatively small. However, there are some nice recreational and scenic assets.

Danvers owns open space/recreational areas along the banks of the Ipswich River off West Street. These areas provide a pleasant place to fish or swim, and used to be connected to the Middleton side of the river by a log bridge, part of an ancient cart path dating from the 1600’s, running from Salem to Andover. Plans are being developed to build a new footbridge here, which would be be a tremendous benefit for hikers and bicyclists.

This site is one of the few “riffles” on the Ipswich River – swift, shallow sections which are very important ecologically, and also a fun place to spend a summer afternoon! The Danvers Fish and Game Club owns a good deal of the riverbank downstream.

Danvers has acquired some land along the river along the Middleton boundary, which will help preserve the canoeing experience between Boston Street and Route 114. The Town Forest is located at the confluence of Norris Brook with the Ipswich River.

The Hathorne area of Danvers, along Rt 62 west of Rt 1, has some nice areas for recreation. The town is working on plans to protect 75 acres at the old Danvers State Hospital Property, and create trails linking it to Essex Agricultural and Technical School and other nearby conservation land. It’s fun to explore the Danvers State Hospital property by bike or foot – the views from the top of the hill are wonderful. There are lovely areas at the rear of the northern portion of the Essex Agricultural School campus (across Rt 62 from the administration building). This links directly via a dirt path to the rear of North Shore Community College, which is next to a lovely conservation area around the Ferncroft Pond area on Locust Street.

Endicott Park is just outside of the Ipswich River Watershed, but is worth mentioning as a great recreational area in Danvers. The 165-acre property offers a multitude of recreational uses, with many activities for children. The park adjoins Glen Magna, an estate house with lovely formal gardens. There is a winter sports area with a sledding hill across Forest Street from the main park. This is the old Salem Village, actually part of Danvers, which is famous due to the Salem Witch Trials of the late 1600’s. The historic Rebecca Nurse house is nearby.

Land around the Salem-Beverly Water Supply Board’s Putnamville Reservoir is open to the public via a trail network. The reservoir is located just east of Route 1 near the Topsfield boundary with Danvers, and is accessible from North Street. The Water Board publishes a brochure noting the trails at Putnamville.

Peabody
West Peabody is densely developed, but retains some lovely spots around Crystal Lake and on the south side of Devils Dishful Pond.

The historic Brooksby Farm south of Rt 114 and east of Rt 95 is a lovely historic farm in the North Coastal watershed region.

Lynnfield
Biking is probably the best bet for recreation in Lynnfield. The roadways are pleasant and usually not too busy.The Broad Meadows Conservation Land and Keenan Conservation Land, near the river, are lovely but do not have easy public access. The Pocahontas Greenbelt area is at the head of Wills Brook. The Wildewood, Stafford Road and Jordan Road Greenbelts are located in the southeastern portion of town, near Suntaug Lake, which is a public water supply reservoir for the City of Peabody.

Lower Watershed

Beverly
Beverly is a study in contrasts, from the urbanized center near the harbor, to the idyllic villages of Prides Crossing, Beverly Farms and Magnolia along the spectacular coastline, to the commercial, residential, and open space areas of North Beverly.

The most important open spaces in North Beverly are Long Hill, the J.C. Phillips Wildlife Sanctuary and Moraine Farm, and city-owned land adjacent to Norwood Pond. Burnt Hill and several Greenbelt reservations provide additional protected land.

The J.C. Phillips Wildlife Sanctuary is a beautiful property located on the western shore of Wenham Lake, just south of the Wenham town line. The property and the adjacent Moraine Farm formed a farm/estate owned by one of the foremost conservationists of his day, J.C. Phillips. Enjoy the beautiful tree-lined carriage roads here and at Moraine Farm, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. The Sanctuary’s trails provide views of the lake from the Lake Shore and Esker trails. Trails here link to those on Moraine Farm, allowing walking along much of the western shore of Wenham Lake. IRWA is grateful to Mimi Batchelder and her late husband George Batchelder for donating this beautiful property to the City of Beverly as a wildlife refuge, and also ensuring public access here and at Moraine Farm.

Moraine Farm is a 180-acre property just south of the Phillips Sanctuary in North Beverly. The two properties were part of one estate-farm until the Batchelder family generously donated the Phillips Sanctuary to the City of Beverly. Now, Moraine Farm, which recently became the headquarters of Project Adventure, is also protected and open to the public the second Sunday of each month, from sunrise til sunset. The Phillips and Batchelder families carefully maintained the property as it was originally designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. Walking trails wind through shady forest groves and meadows, and open up to wonderful views of Wenham Lake. The trail which parallels the lake shore goes through extensive plantings of rhododendrons, azaleas and other flowering shrubs, almost like a tunnel – so you may want to plan a walk during the spring to see these in bloom. Mrs. Phillips’ lovely small garden, dating back to the turn of the last century, is a more formal spot below an enclosed gazebo. No horseback riding, camping, swimming, fishing or hunting.

The conservation area at Norwood Pond is a small oasis of great beauty tucked behind a densely developed area of North Beverly. This property is a wonderful gem – with beaver lodges, several vernal pools, and a forest with very old, stately oaks and pines. There are 8 trails, including an outstanding esker trail which forms a peninsula into the lake, with water on either side of the trail. While the subdivision on the eastern shore of the lake intrudes on the view somewhat, the property as a whole has a sense of remote beauty; you’ll think you’re somewhere far away… Look for lady slippers and trillium in spring; or turtles trekking to lay their eggs. You may see coyote, fox, mink, raccoon, opossum, deer, cottontail, beaver or muskrats. Bird watchers can find a multitude of species, including hummingbirds, thrushes, warblers, orioles, woodpeckers, great blue herons, egrets, wood ducks, hawks, owls or wild turkeys. Or witness the woodcock’s courtship ritual.
Directions: Take Rt 128 to Exit 20A. From Rt 1A north, take a right onto Dodge Street. You’ll have to park on a side street (Red Rock Lane or Elnew Ave). There is a small public access point just to the east of Elnew Ave. This property is a ½ mile walk along Dodge Street from the North Beverly train stop, on the Newburyport line.

Wenham
The town of Wenham includes a number of important open space and conservation areas, most notably those of the Massachusetts Audubon Society. The Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary includes considerable land in Wenham. A real gem is the Cedar Pond Wildlife Sanctuary, a wonderful area for birding and “passive” recreation – it is really a wildlife sanctuary first and foremost. The Sanctuary is a 165-acre retreat which protects a kettle hole pond, numerous smaller isolated pools and pondy wetlands, and a landscape of knolls and basins which was sculpted by the last glacier.

This is a place where you can picture the dynamic nature of the time when this area was covered by thousands of feet of ice. Imagine a huge block of ice broken off the glacier and partially buried in the soil, leaving the pond’s basin filling with water as the earth warmed. And within the glacier as it melted, streams of melting water dropped their loads of sediments in snaky patterns on the earth – forming the eskers which are the curving ridges at this sanctuary.

The Cedar Pond area includes numerous small ponds and wetlands, along with the larger pond, and an Atlantic white cedar swamp. The property is linked to a larger part of the sanctuary to the north of Cherry Street, which has frontage on Rt 97 to the north.
Directions: There is very limited parking for Cedar Pond Wildlife Sanctuary off Cherry Street in Wenham, about ½ mile east of the junction with Rt 97. There are access points from Cedar Street and Rt 97 as well.

Gordon College is located at the southeastern part of the watershed, in Wenham, and has some nice trails open to the public, as does the Iron Rail property at the junction of Grapevine Road and Route 22.

Also in Wenham, the Salem-Beverly Water Supply Board’s canal is a nice spot for birding and very easy walking. It is a couple of miles walk from the pump station, north of Cherry Street (off a dirt road called Old Town Way, just west of Pleasant Street) to the banks of the mainstem Ipswich River.

Pleasant Pond, off Pleasant Street, has the town beach for Hamilton and Wenham residents. The area around the pond is densely developed, but the area also abuts part of the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary. The Miles River is one of the Ipswich’s major tributaries and traverses Wenham, providing lovely flat water canoeing/ kayaking.

Hamilton
Bradley Palmer State Park, Appleton Farm and Grass Rides, and Chebacco Woods are the cornerstones of open space and recreation in Hamilton. The 400-acres of Chebacco Woods, owned by the towns of Hamilton and Manchester, has a great trails network amidst forest and ponds. A new path allows access along Bridge Street.

The Discover Hamilton Trail leads from the footbridge entrance to Bradley Palmer State Park, through the park, across Highland Street through the Appleton Grass Rides, across Cutler Street into the Harvard Forest, across past Town Hall, along Bridge Street, then along Woodbury Road and across Rte. 22 to Chebacco Woods. There is easy access from the trail along Route 1A to the downtown area, including nice eateries and the train station.

The town recently completed Lizzy’s Trail, which is wheelchair–accessible, along the river at Bradley Palmer State Park. The Miles River is one of the main tributaries of the Ipswich River, and flows through Hamilton, making for lovely scenery, great wildlife habitat and some canoeing opportunities.

Ipswich
Ipswich is the only coastal community in the Ipswich River Watershed. The town has a number of the region’s most outstanding properties: Crane Beach and Castle Hill, Appleton Farms, Willowdale State Forest, Sandy Point State Reservation (on Plum Island), Greenwood Farm and the Hamlin and Julia Bird Reservations.

Ipswich is unusual in that the Ipswich River flows right through the downtown area. The historic Whipple House on South Main Street and Sally’s Pond just behind it, are located opposite the Visitor’s Center and provide a view of the town’s historical and natural treasures. Heading toward the downtown, the Ipswich Mills Dam and Fish Ladder are on the left; if you’re lucky, you can witness the return of river herring in April and May. (Be respectful of the private property of the grey house to the left of the fish ladder.) Just beyond is a lovely “pocket park” with a great view of the river, at the Quebec-Labrador Foundation’s headquarters. The Riverwalk, a recronstruction of a historic footbridge across the river, leads to neighborhoods and the train station on the opposite side.

Worth special mention is Nichols Field, a true gem along the Ipswich River and Labor-in-Vain Creek. This 15-acre property, including an 8-acre field overlooking the estuary with distant views of the coast, is a wonderful spot for a quiet walk, picnic or birdwatching. Our thanks to Gilman and Ellen Nichols and all the individuals and organizations which contributed to its recent protection! Directions: from the Ipswich Visitors Center on Rte 1A, take the first right turn on Elm Street; left on County Road; first right on Green Street; left on Turkey Shore Road; and right on Labor-in-Vain Road. The property is .7 miles down on the left. It’s about 1 ½ miles walk from the downtown area.

The Reverend Daniel Boone and Arthur Wesley Dow Parks, off Spring Street in Ipswich, offer trails and some views of the coast and estuary to the north. These parks are within walking distance of the downtown area.

Ipswich is also the home of our new headquarters, Riverbend. This beautiful 15-acre property, with almost a quarter-mile of frontage on the Ipswich River, is located in Ipswich on County Road (Route 1A) and includes a canoe dock, 1/4 mile riverside trail, green building, water-wise demonstration projects, and gardens, offices and future visitor center. Bring your lunch and enjoy a wonderful riverside view from our picnic bench by the river!

Pavilion Beach is another lovely spot in Ipswich, at the end of Little Neck Road. The small beach links the Great Neck and Little Neck drumlins, and offers fantastic views of Plum Island, Crane Beach and Plum Island Sound. This is a nice swimming spot, open to the public (no fee; in July-August, be prepared for a crowd on hot days, along with greenheads and salt marsh mosquitos.) It’s also a favorite location to begin sea kayaking explorations of the coastal waters, and for windsurfers as well. The beach is a fine birding spot; in winter you can often see loons, and shorebirds are abundant during migration periods. Harbor seals also frequent the waters off the beach in winter, and can be seen at low tide on the rocks at the “Spindle,” a navigational marker just southwest of the tip of Plum Island.

The Ipswich Town Landing on East Street is a public boat ramp. There is a fee for use on weekends. Those using the landing are asked to please not leave trash behind – it invariably ends up in the river.

Ipswich Bay Ocean Kayaking on Jeffreys Neck Road offers guided and unguided sea kayaking, and Foote Brothers Canoe Rentals on Topsfield Road rents canoes and offers overnight camping at an island along the freshwater section of the river.

The town has acquired land and conservation restrictions on a number of wonderful properties, including the coastal Wendel Property off Jeffreys Neck Road (opposite Greenwood Farm) and the Scott property, which has extensive river frontage on the west side of Mill Street. The Wendel property, known as Strawberry Hill,  is open to the public, though currently there are no plans for public access at the Scott property.