In the current issue of Design New England (in stores and online now!), we take a stroll through Appleton Farms, the longest continually operating farm in the United States. The focus of our story is the renovation of its Old House, which dates to the 18th century. Now a farmhouse museum, administrative offices, and education center, the building earned platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
But more than the high sustainable building standards of its owners, the laudable Trustees of Reservations, the Ipswich, Massachusetts, farm is meant to stir interests in New England’s agricultural legacy. This is a working farm, with a full herd of Jersey milking cows, fields of produce, eggs and poultry, and all the joys and heartaches of raising food, as well as what to do with it.
At the heart of the farmhouse renovation is a new state-of-the-art professional teaching kitchen, a sleek space for learning how to use and preserve farm-fresh food. With a peaked ceiling, refurbished rafters, and a large stainless steel block at the center, the kitchen meets 21st-century standards (though it is just down the hall from a library and front parlor restored to reflect the farmhouse’s 1790s origins).
Appleton is also a bucolic setting for doing no more than enjoying the beautiful countryside. With 685 acres of walking paths and riding trails, towering ancient trees, and poetic stone walls, it is a place for contemplation and rejuvenation. There’s six miles of paths through grasslands and woods to explore and you can hike along the delightfully inviting Grass Rides, an English term for carriage paths.
If all this makes you hungry, you can find fresh milk and dairy products from the farm’s own herd as well as beef, eggs, pork, sausage, maple syrup, honey, bread, artisan crafts, and artwork.
Farm Store Hours
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, 2–7 p.m.
Tuesday and Friday, 11 a.m.–6 p.m.
Saturday, 9 a.m.–3 p.m.
The farm is open daily and there is a full roster of special events slated for the fall.
Family Farm Day
Music, pony rides, animals, and activities.
September 16, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.
Members: $20/car. Nonmembers: $25/car.
Farmstead and Old House Tour
September 23, October 21, November 18, 3–5 p.m.
Members: free. Nonmembers: $5.
A walk that discusses Appleton family stories and a visit to the dairy during milking.
Members: FREE; Nonmembers $5.
Sunday Afternoons at the Old House
October 28, November 4, 2–4 p.m.
In October, Cindy Brockway, the Cultural Resources Program Director will share More than a Farm: Landscape Stories of Appleton.
In November, Susan Hill Dolan, the Cultural Resources Manager will share From Portraits to Pony-Carts: The Historic Collection of the Appleton Family in Ipswich.
Members: $15. Nonmembers $20.
September 18, 25; October 2, 9, 16, 30, 10–11:30 a.m.
For ages 3-5 with an accompanying adult, the programs invites children to explore the fall season with activities, stories, songs, and games.
Members: $80. Nonmembers $100.
Discovery walks and workshops to teach children and adults to plant seeds, compost, harvest, milk cows, clean stalls, shear sheep, churn butter, etc. are held at various times.
Join or volunteer with the Trustees of Reservations
An insider's look at must-have products, fresh trends, and inspired spaces from the team at Design New England magazine.
Gail Ravgiala is editor of Design New England and a fan of both the region's historic architecture and its growing inventory of modern houses and public buildings.
Courtney Kasianowicz is associate editor of Design New England who scouts the area for new design, charming products, and local artisans both innovative and daring.
Jill Connors, Design New England's editor-at-large, is an antiques maven and design scout and will post about trends and discoveries in the field.
Bruce Irving, Design New England's contributing editor for architecture & building, is a renovation specialist who will share his insights on design and construction.
Estelle Bond Guralnick, Design New England's style & interiors editor, will post about interior design and interior designers and her favorite finds.