Fall festival planned for Farandnear Reservation in Shirley

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SHIRLEY — A new visitor center pavilion will be dedicated Saturday at Farandnear Reservation in conjunction with a fall festival at the conservation land.

Run by the Trustees, Massachusetts’ largest conservation and preservation nonprofit and the nation’s first regional land trust, Farandnear is a dynamic community park featuring a beautiful combination of open fields, stone walls, woodlands, ravine, former cranberry bog, and pinetum arboretum offering year-round recreational opportunities and outdoor, nature-based programs for area residents and visitors.

“We are excited to celebrate fall with the unveiling of our new Visitor Center Pavilion which will provide a year-round community gathering place and launching point for exploring the beauty of Farandnear,” says Joanna Ballantine, Trustees Regional Director. “We hope the Shirley community and visitors will take advantage of all the recreational opportunities and offerings here at Farnandnear and find the magic in the moment at this special place.”

The new open air Pavilion will serve as a year-round, outdoor community gathering and venue space featuring seating, restrooms, a fire pit and an interpretive exhibit wall as well as a launching point for the 2.7 miles of trails that meander through the 89-acre property.

Community members are invited to participate in a day filled with events and activities, including an 11 a.m. tree re-planting, followed by guided Pinetum walks with arborist Barbara Keene at 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., kids’ craft activities and a miniature golf course for all ages from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and a 1:30 p.m. dedication by Trustees Regional Director, Joanna Ballantine, family members, and state Sen. Jamie Eldridge. Following the dedication, there will be a 2 p.m. fall foliage walk to the nearby Field’s home where participants can enjoy cider and donuts. Music will be featured in the Pavilion from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and food and drinks will be for sale by Bull Run. Parking shuttles will be provided throughout the day from Shirley Common 11 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.

The pavilion, situated on the site of the former Goodspeed-Banks family home, has been designed by designLAB architects to help tell the story of the property and the spirit of place. The design offers an open, welcoming structure that features a large floor mural created by artist Tom Ennis and an interpretive wall that paints a picture of all there is to see and do at Farandnear, including family history, special natural and property landscape features, trail maps, wildlife habitat, and programs. The structure, built by Stack & Company, is largely comprised of wood, complemented by steel and corrugated metal roof.

The Trustees acquired Farandear in 2011 as a life estate gift from the Goodspeed-Banks family who had owned the property for over 100 years. The Trustees have held a conservation restriction on the Banks’ property since 1995. Farnandnear was the former home of Arthur Banks, an accomplished political scientist and professor, whose grandfather Charles Goodspeed named the property because, at 50 miles from his home in Wollaston, Massachusetts, it was “far” enough to require a two-day journey by horse to reach, but “near” enough to be a vacation home. The Goodspeed and Banks family were perhaps best known for their ownership and operation of Goodspeed Booksellers in Boston from 1898 to 1993, which was a source for rare books, first additions, art books, autographs, etchings, engravings, art prints and mezzotints.

The Trustees acquired Farandear in 2011 as a life estate gift from the Goodspeed-Banks family who had owned the property for over 100 years. The Trustees have held a conservation restriction on the Banks’ property since 1995. Farnandnear was the former home of Arthur Banks, an accomplished political scientist and professor, whose grandfather Charles Goodspeed named the property because, at 50 miles from his home in Wollaston, Massachusetts, it was “far” enough to require a two-day journey by horse to reach, but “near” enough to be a vacation home. The Goodspeed and Banks family were perhaps best known for their ownership and operation of Goodspeed Booksellers in Boston from 1898 to 1993, which was a source for rare books, first additions, art books, autographs, etchings, engravings, art prints and mezzotints.

Perhaps Arthur’s most notable addition to the property was his creation of a unique “pinetum,” containing over 80 species of conifers. The pinetum has been recognized and visited by members of the American Conifer Society, with an article about the property appearing in the spring 2001 edition of their quarterly magazine entitled, Farandnear: A Small New England Pinetum.

The Trustees embarked on a master planning process last year to determine, with community input, the larger vision for the property that would balance stewardship and natural resource integrity with public engagement activities. The plan also includes a detailed assessment of the pinetum, Arthur Banks’ special collection of conifers, the development of the Visitor Center Pavilion, and a sustainable parking area. The Plan can be found on The Trustees website at: http://bit.ly/1ELIRuS.