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The Beauty of Maudslay State Park

Four months ago, Rob and I explored a a beautiful state park in Newburyport, Massachusetts. It has what I call a “secret garden”, a pet cemetery, and 480 acres of greenery and historical building remains. 
 

Formerly called Maudesleigh, the 480 acre horticultural and agricultural estate was owned by the Moseley Family from 1900 until 1985 when it became the property of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. During it’s heyday, a staff of 40 tended to the Main House, the Helen Moseley House, the houses for the Coachman, the Forester and the Head Gardener as well as three greenhouses and hot houses.  While most of the buildings are gone, espaliered fruit trees, a formal vegetable and cutting garden, a 500 foot perennial border, an Italian garden, rose garden, and collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, and specimen trees in addition to the laurels that occurred naturally on the estate are still here. Miles of carriage roads and walking trails crisscross throughout the property over stone arch bridges, past a flowering reflection pond and through spectacular fields and meadows. 

On our first visit, we walked around the property but because of the size we didn’t get to see it all. This time around, we biked and got to see much more (and more quickly!). I wanted to share my photos so that you can all experience this wonderful place.
 
Ready to go! It even looks like I know what I’m doing.
 
This is the pet cemetery behind the stables where the Moseley’s many beloved Jack Russell terriers and horses were buried. Tinker, Tsampo, Barney, Lancha, Akela, Gypsy, and Dennis. I’m not sure which are dogs and which are horses, but it doesn’t matter – I just hope they’re all resting in peace. 
 
 
One of the seven graves.
 
After the pet cemetery, we made our way to the “secret garden” (also known as the Italian Rose Gardens). Unfortunately, with fall upon us much of the greenery was gone and it wasn’t nearly as beautiful as it was in May. But either way, I still love this spot. There are legends of ghosts that haunt the property, and strangely enough I got this weird feeling that something was watching me….
 
 
Just kidding! I decided that to make up for the lack of shrubbery and flowers I should googly-eye things. 
 
 
Rob even got in on the fun – he was more than happy to climb around like a monkey to help.
 
Doesn’t it look like it disapproves of something?
 
The “Gates of Hell”. Clearly, it’s terrifying. 
 
While googly-eyeing the “Gates of Hell”, something caught my eye in the distance. I stopped and looked, and realized it was two deer! They were a little freaked at first, but then they stopped caring about me and my picture taking altogether. I got some gorgeous shots of the two babies – I’ve named them Adorable I and Adorable II. 
 
She was letting me know what she thought of my last picture – it didn’t show off her good side.
 
 
After spending entirely too much time taking pictures of the wildlife, we found ourselves at the Coachman’s House & Outbuildings. The Coachman’s House is completely boarded up, as are the rest of the buildings in the park. It looks like something I would buy – ya know, without the graffiti and dilapidated foundation. 
 
 
As we biked past the House, we found that there are two cottage-like buildings behind it – one at the top of the cliff overlooking the Merrimack River, and the other at the base on the beach. The best part about the river is that it feeds from the ocean, so it smells like salt water. 
 
 
 
We decided to eat our picnic lunch on the porch of the clifftop house and watch the boats on the river. While walking the bikes up the hill, I found a small gravestone that reads, “Whiskey My Pretty Boy”. I’m guessing it is for a dog, but I wonder why he wasn’t buried with the rest of the pets behind the stable. Perhaps he belonged to a caretaker and not to the Moseleys. Whoever he belonged to, he certainly found himself in a beautiful spot that I would count myself lucky to call my final resting place. 
 
 
View from the cottage house.
 
And of course… I googly-eyed a tree. Look how shocked he is!
 

We made our way down to the beach to check out the other house. Next to it was a boathouse, and even a boat. After looking around, it appears that this house was likely a barn due to the big doors and overall design.

 
 
 

There’s also a relatively creepy cellar-type structure that was built into the side of the hill. It was probably for electricity or something normal, but the graffiti brings quite the creepy “get the hell out” kind of vibe. It’s hard to want to leave such a beautiful spot.

Annnnnnd I googly-eyed the boat. 
 
To finish our trek, we headed to the dam where Rob likes to take pictures. I didn’t really take any, but I did take one quick picture of our bikes getting a well-deserved rest.
 
As an added bonus, here are photos from our first visit back in May where everything was blooming and there was must more color:
 
 
This structure was completely gone on our most recent trip. 
 
I can’t help but meme this. 
 
I highly recommend you visit Maudslay State Park – for more information check out the Mass.gov site and the Maudslay State Park Association.

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