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From Board President Marlys Edwards

Welcome to the first Friends of Maudslay electronic newsletter. We hope to use this venue to update readers on whats happening in Maudslay State Park and to share some of the progress we are making on recent projects. If you are not familiar with our website, I encourage you to visit it to notice three new pages. The first is a 2-minute survey that will give us feedback on why you visit the park and how we might improve your visits. It will be live until June 11 so please take it soon if you havent already done so. The second is our calendar so that you can be up to date on what is happening in Maudslay. If you cannot make it to Maudslay as often as you would like, check us out on Facebook or at our website at the new page, Whats in Bloom”. This link will inform you of what beautiful flowers are presenting themselves in the park. We try to add photos once or twice a week to keep people informed.


We are also using this letter to launch our Friends of Maudslay Membership Month. There are numerous projects in the queue, the most urgent the repair of the brick walls in the formal gardens. With membership funds and donations, we hope to raise enough money to receive a 2:1 matching grant from DCR. Our portion is $10,000. Please help us if you can by becoming a member.

Thank you for your support of Friends of Maudslay. We hope to publish our next newsletter in the fall. In the meantime, please save the date, November 2, for our third annual Silent Auction to raise money for the Stone House.

We’ve all look forward to the beauty of June in Maudslay – the flowering trees and shrubs, the wild flowers. But before the flowers appear, the trees send out their first leaves in a color that we see for just a few days each year. The black oak in the field and the pine forest were both stunning this year.


The Laurel Picnic,
from member Lindsay Cavanaugh

The Mosley family made their first Curzon Mill Road acquisition around 1860, prompted by Mrs. Charlotte Moseley, who loved the stand of indigenous laurels that grow along the river and still brighten the woods in June. Before the Moseley purchase, William Ashby, drawn by Newburyports intellectual and bustling economic environment, moved to Newburyport.

An abolitionist, active in the world peace movement and friend of the movers and shakers of his day, Ashby began a 20- year tradition of June picnics organized around the time of the Kalmia latifolia bloom. An early collationat the Ashby home was followed by a parade of carriages, stages, and hacks headed for the laurel picnic grounds. There was always an amazing and varied guest list, including astronomer Maria Mitchell, poet Lucy Larcom, abolitionist leaders, ministers, free soilers, publishers, writers and politicians. John Greenleaf Whittier described the day in 1859: ... the day was “a little too fashionable and conventional for that comfortable lapse into savage freedom that a picnic implies...The day was intensely hot, but river, trees, and flowers were never more inviting.Whittier describes the laurels in his poems The Laurels”, “June on the Merrimackand Our River”. 1865 marked the end of the Civil War, and that June 300 picnicking revelers shared a celebration of slaverys end. Many came up from Newburyport by steamboat. The Newburyport Herald described the balloons and gondolas towed behind the boat and reported:

....river, so that several miles of scenery of the charming Merrimack passed before their eyes – the little green islands, and the romantic chain bridge...The company was conveyed to the Laurels by the the people of Lynn started early, with a keen zest for enjoyment, and on their way back took in the elite of Salem, who were joined by some of the choicest spirits of Newburyport, with a good share of some of the best genius of our country, which happens now to be located in Essex County, and all together such a party was formed as rarely assembles except at an Ashby picnic...


From the Garden Committee

Maudslays Formal Gardens

Hidden behind a tall hedge of beech trees and brick walls, the formal gardens installed for the Moseley family in the early 1900s by Martha Brookes Hutcheson continue to attract and de- light their visitors. The earliest spring blooms include the Lemon Glow daffodils in the courtyard beds and the white wisteria around the fountain in the Italian Garden. Large pink rhododendrons are now in bloom, rising over the wall of the lower Rose Garden. Soon to make their arrival are the Heritage roses in the Rose Garden, and in the upper Italian Garden the Krinkled White peonies, the pink and white phlox, and the August finale, Ottos Thrill dinner-plate dahlias. In the courtyard, Blushing Bride hydrangeas provide a flowery introduction to the formal gardens, all summer long. The boxwood parterres in the Italian Garden and the vertical boxwoods highlight the gardens structure. Many visitors walk through the gardens, especially on a lovely early summer day, walking their dogs, introducing their children to the joys of flowers, taking pictures (one family returns every year on their wedding anniversary to take the annual family photo), getting their daily 10K steps, or just breathing deeply and enjoying the beautiful surroundings.

Those surroundings, of course, dont stay beautiful without some effort, and a corps of volunteers appears on most Saturday and Monday mornings to weed, prune, plant and fertilize, while enjoying each others company, learning more about gardening and stretching some muscles that dont always get a workout. If you would like to join us, for a single session or for more, or you would just like to learn more about the MSPA Garden Committee activities, send us an email ( or contact the Park Headquarters. The gardens will welcome your participation!

Stefanie Hufnagel,
-chair, Garden Committee


Its easy to do.

If you'd like to help in the formal gardens,
contact Stefanie Shattuck
-Hufnagelat sshuf@MIT.EDU

If you'd like to do volunteer work with the association or prune azaleas or rhododendrons, please contact
Marlys Edwardsat

If you'd like to volunteer in the park working with staff,
contact Rob Kovacs directly at (978) 465


From the Executive Committee

The survey results are in! Thank you all who took the two minutes to take our recent eight question survey. After three months, the survey now has over two hundred and twenty responses. We have gained wonderful information, especially from the eighty comments on how you think the Friends of Maudslay can make everyones experience at the park even better.

We are now in the process of reviewing and analyzing all the data, and working on plans to focus on specific actions. You should start to see changes soon.

Please stay tuned for future surveys. We want to hear from you!

Libby Bucsi, Membership Committee

From DCR Maudslay State Park Supervisor, Rob Kovacs:

Trail Etiquette

Many of the trails in the park are designated multiple use so it is important, for the enjoyment of all users, to follow the right-of-way trail etiquette as depicted on the trail markers. Bicyclists should give way to hikers and equestrians. Hikers and bicyclists should give way to equestrians. To further enhance the experience for all visitors and to protect the wildlife, dog walkers should keep their dogs leashed at all times and pick up after their dogs and properly dispose of the waste. Mutt mitts are provided in the parking lot. Dog waste barrels are provided at various points in the park. Thank you for following these rules for the benefit of all park visitors.

Stone House Restoration

The Stone House, circa 1917, was designed by William Rantoul in 1903 and used by the first superintendent, O.C. Bailey, and then by his successor Charles Gattrel as office and storage space. This building is also known by several other names including the superintendent's office, head horticulturalist's office, and gardener's cottage. The Stone House is 600 square feet on the main floor with storage in the attic and cellar. The cellar is currently used by the Garden Committee volunteers while the rest of the building remains unused. There are plans to renovate this building including its roof, wood work, masonry, windows, and doors. The building has been bat and flying squirrel proofed. Garden, interpretive, and theater programs are being considered as future uses for this building. The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and the Friends of Maudslay are partnering to restore this building and put it to good use for the benefit of the public.


Flowering Pond Dam Rehabilitation


The over 100 year old dam will undergo a full rehabilitation this year. Planning and design have been underway since last summer and are continuing, with every effort being made to preserve the historic character. For example, the rock wall on the downstream side will be removed and then placed back over the new concrete structure. The spillway and dam crest will be made more functional and aesthetically appealing. Handicapped access, benches, and new railings will be provided to insure safe and enjoyable access for all visitors. Changes will be as discreet as possible while complying with dam construction codes. This is a DCR and Friends of Maudslay partnership project. Permitting and construction will take about six months with anticipated completion by December.

Questions and comments, about the above three info pieces and any issue related to the park, are welcome. Please contact me at:

and/or 978.465.7223.

Warm regards, Rob

Robert A. Kovacs DCR Park Supervisor Maudslay State Park

From Theater in the Open

Our 40th season has begun! Our deepest gratitude to those who made it out to our season launch party at wonderful Riverwalk Brewing, and to all those whos support and hard work over these many years make our free performances in Maudslay possible. Currently in the park you can catch A Peter Pan Panto!, performing between the two beautiful Dawn Redwoods along the Long Border. Appropriate for all children, ages one to one-hundred and one, this adaptation stays true to the original while adding a bit of panto fun and flare in the TITO tradition. It runs Saturdays and Sundays through June 16th at 2pm, and is free to all.

Up next is William Shakespeares The Tempest, Saturdays and Sundays in July and August, so keep an eye on our social media accounts or visit us at:

See you in the Open!

Edward Speck
Artistic Director Theater in the Open
Vice President Friends of Maudslay


To assist in the operation of Maudslay State Park and to serve as liaison between the nearby communities and the Department of Conservation and Recreation. To promote the wise use of the natural and historical resources of the Park, foster its use and enjoyment by the public consistent with the protection and preservation of its environment, and engage in such educational, scientific and civic activities as will assist the State in the formation and operation of the Park. The Association is a 501(c)3 organization in the State of Massachusetts and all donations are tax deductible as allowable by law.

74 Curzon Mill Road
Newburyport, MA 01950

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Maudslay State Park Association · 74 Curzon Mill Rd · Newburyport, MA 01950-6254 · USA

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