LEOMINSTER -- We all need a place like Farandnear -- somewhere close enough to feel comfortably familiar, and yet special enough to seem far away from life's everyday worries.
On Sunday, Oct. 6, The Trustees of Reservations invites you to join us for a festive fall event at Farandnear in Shirley, to recognize the property's special place and future in the community.
Starting at noon, the event will kick off with a picnic lunch and activities for children, followed by the annual Fall Foliage Walk sponsored by the town of Shirley's Conservation Commission.
Professor Arthur "Art" Banks knew that his family's summer home, named Farandnear by his grandfather Charles Godspeed in 1902 due to its moderate distance from Boston, sat in a unique and wonderful location. More importantly, he was determined to share it with the community. Banks made a practice of welcoming neighbors to explore the property, which eventually reached 89 acres and even included a small golf course in the 1950s. Once called his town's "ecological benefactor," Prof. Banks included a note with his annual dues to The Trustees of Reservations in 1994, inquiring if the organization would consider protecting the property for future generations. He left Farandnear to The Trustees upon his death in 2011, along with a portion of his household collection that included items from his grandfather's business, the renowned Godspeed Book Shop in Boston.
Today, Farandnear encompasses a remarkable diversity of botanical and visual delights, including a dormant cranberry bog and an unusual pine arboretum, containing dozens of varieties selected by Banks, some of which have been pruned into whimsical, gum-dropped shapes. Another 10 acre parcel containing soaring hemlock trees and a rocky ravine have been named "Paradise" by local residents. The property is accessible by more than three miles of walking trails.
The celebration of Farandnear will include children's activities beginning at noon, as well as remarks by community members, representatives from The Trustees and local town officials, and special guest speaker State Sen. Jamie Eldridge, starting at 12:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served. Visitors of all ages and interests will then have the opportunity to tour their beautiful surroundings on either short or long fall foliage walks, or as part of a short walk focused on the property's ecological diversity.
The celebration and walks are free, and all members of the public are invited to attend. Guests are welcome to bring a picnic blanket and spend the afternoon. Parking will be available on site at Farandnear, 156 Center Road, Shirley. In the event of rain, however, parking will be moved to the town common in Shirley with a shuttle provided to the event. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit www.thetrustees.org.