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5 issues to do when visiting Topsfield


Try trails, festivals, and the Topsfield Truthful.

A ferris wheel on the Topsfield Truthful. John Tlumacki / The Boston Globe

Topsfield is a small rural city with an enormous presence when its involves pure magnificence, mentioned Erin Merrill, assistant city clerk and a resident for almost 20 years.

“I completely love residing right here,” Merrill mentioned concerning the Essex County vacation spot positioned about 25 miles north of Boston.

The city, established in 1680, has a inhabitants of about 6,500 residents and is probably greatest identified for The Topsfield Truthful, America’s oldest agricultural honest. However Topsfield has nice occasions and packages all 12 months lengthy, Merrill mentioned.

“There’s the farms, there’s the honest, it’s fairly, it’s handy to the ocean, we now have loads of open house,” Merrill mentioned.

Forward, Merrill shares her picks for what to see and do in Topsfield.

The Topsfield Truthful, America’s oldest agricultural honest, is at the moment in full swing. The annual honest kicked off Sept. 29 and wraps up on Oct. 9.

The honest, which has been operating for greater than 200 years, brings distributors, animals, carnival rides, meals, contests, and dwell leisure to the Topsfield Fairgrounds each fall.

“It’s very nation,” Merrill mentioned. “There’s loads of agricultural stuff.”

The Beekeeping & Honey Present on the Topsfield Truthful is the biggest in North America. There’s a rodeo, horse and oxen pulling contest, Budweiser Clydesdale hitch demonstration, goat, sheep, and poultry exhibits, awards for vegatables and fruits, baked items, livestock, the favored large pumpkin weigh-in, and extra. The honest can also be dwelling to New England’s Premier Flower Present. 

Hungry fairgoers have many meals choices, such because the “Gobbler,” a Topsfield Truthful favourite described as a Thanksgiving dinner in a sandwich, apple crisp, deep-fried Oreos, German fries, chocolate-covered bacon, and extra.

Merrill mentioned her youngsters have at all times cherished the rides on the honest, which vary from carousels to rollercoasters. A brand new experience, The Vertigo, seats three riders throughout on a chair swing excessive within the sky.

“My favourite factor is when it’s cool and also you stroll round and also you get a sizzling cider and benefit from the smells and the sights,” Merrill mentioned.

Do your self a favor and take a tour of the Parson Capen Home, Merrill mentioned.

The Topsfield Historic Society, which owns and maintains the house, calls it “one of many best surviving instance of Elizabethan structure in America.”

“It’s fairly neat,” Merrill mentioned about the home.

It’s the former dwelling of Reverend Parson Capen, the city’s minister from 1684 to 1725. He constructed the house, now a Nationwide Historic Landmark, in 1683.

Capen was minister throughout the Salem witch trials in 1692, and members of his congregation had been hanged for witchcraft, in keeping with the Salem Witch Museum.

“Capen, who led his congregation for forty years till his demise in 1725, seems to have been a relaxed and affordable voice throughout the dramatic and tragic occasions,” in keeping with the museum’s web site.

The 1710 Gould Barn, additionally positioned on the property, homes weddings and particular occasions. It was constructed by the Goulds, one of many founding households of Topsfield.

“They’ve occasions there and so they do historic talks,” she mentioned.

3. Attend a competition

Topsfield hosts a number of festivals all year long, and Merrill’s favourite is the annual Vacation on the Inexperienced, held in December.

The free occasion options the lighting of the City Widespread, an Artisan Village, meals vans, musical performances, dwell animals, Santa’s Workshop, a canine pageant, adorned picket snowmen, a bonfire, and Santa’s arrival by firetruck. There’s additionally a Vacation Stroll involving city companies.

“Space companies open up on Major Avenue and so they have snacks, and you’ll stroll in and say hiya to everybody,” Merrill mentioned.

One other in style competition is the annual Topsfield Strawberry Competition on the City Widespread. The June occasion brings greater than 60 effective artisans promoting the whole lot from artwork to jewellery to clothes. There’s additionally meals and music, youngsters’s video games, excursions of the Parson Capen Home, and loads of strawberry shortcake.

“Folks come from throughout for that,” she mentioned.

Topsfield additionally hosts a Tomato Competition on the Proctor College grounds in September, with video games, a farmers market, dwell music, a downtown scavenger hunt, artwork stations, a homegrown tomato contest, tomato consuming contest, tomato recipe tasting contest, and extra.

Bikers at Bradley Palmer State Park in Topsfield. – Jim Davis/Globe Employees

4. Lace up and hit a path

For train and contemporary air, there are many choices in Topsfield, together with the Topsfield Linear Widespread/Rail Path, Merrill mentioned.

“It goes proper by downtown,” Merrill mentioned. “You’ll be able to safely experience your bike downtown and get a slice of pizza or go to Gil’s, our little nation retailer.”

The four-mile path is a part of the bigger Border to Boston path that may stretch from Boston to the Salisbury, N.H., border when accomplished, she mentioned.

One other glorious out of doors spot is Bradley Palmer State Park, Merrill mentioned, a former property on 721 acres with intensive trails, a pavilion, picnic areas, a twig deck, and extra. It’s located alongside the Ipswich River within the cities of Topsfield and Hamilton.

At Mass Audobon’s Ispwich River Wildlife Sanctuary, of us can discover 12 miles of trails that wind by forests, meadows, and wetlands and embody options similar to a vernal pool, commentary tower, boardwalks, and a well-liked Rock Grotto inbuilt 1905. Guests may also discover the Ispwich river by canoe or kayak.

“There’s loads of nature packages,” Merrill mentioned.

In the course of the spring and summer season, Merrill enjoys spending time on the HomeGrown Market.

The market, which takes place each third Thursday of the month between June and September, affords fruits, greens, handcrafted gadgets, and extra.

“It helps native farmers and companies,” Merrill mentioned.

The market, organized by Topsfield Recreation, helps Topsfield and North Shore companies and in addition options meals vans, beer and wine tastings, performances by native musicians, info cubicles by nonprofit organizations, and different actions.

“We consider the North Shore as our yard and there are such a lot of great small companies and gifted people who deserve to indicate off these skills and thrive!” organizers wrote on the occasion web site.

What readers advocate:

“All the good actions for households,” wrote @erica.dexter4

Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary — @jessie.sigler

The Topsfield Truthful — @vee.nick, @jeanabeling, @mish_amato, @kristenmulkerin

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