View this email in your browser
Friends of Maudslay 2019 October Newsletter
Letter from the President

With every new season Maudslay State Park goes through a transition - autumn is no exception.  But the fall transition is not due only to the natural environment.  Certainly the air becomes chilly as trees and shrubs display their beautiful fall colors and birds migrate through the park on their way to their winter homes.  But there is more that signifies fall.  Perhaps you will find the Newburyport Cross Country team warming up under the Black Oak as they prepare for a practice or a race on their home course of Maudslay State Park.  Or you may stroll through the park in September to view fifty sculptures installed by local artists in the park.  This year’s exhibit was extraordinary (see article and photos to follow).  As the leaves change so too do our reasons for visiting this beautiful community resource.

As you visit the park throughout the year to enjoy the seasons, I would ask you to think about the work that is done by a large group of volunteers who donate their time, sweat, and expertise to this park.  There are many, and they, along with the staff, help to make Maudslay the beautiful place it is.  If you have noticed the pruning of the azaleas and rhododendrons around the pond and at the formal gardens, you are seeing work done by a group of local Master Gardeners and residents working under the Master Gardener’s guidance.  If you have noticed the restoration of some of the many bridges in the park, you are looking at the work of a single volunteer who has worked on bridge after bridge over the past two years.  If there is any carpentry work to be done including replacing the siding at the back of headquarters or repairing the barn doors, there is a volunteer who does that work.  If you have noticed that the amount of bittersweet in the park has decreased considerably over the past few years, you are seeing the work of a single volunteer.  If you have noticed the constant care paid to our pristine and beautiful formal Italianate Gardens, you are looking at the work of a large group of volunteers who work twice a week, spring to fall, to plant, prune, weed, rake and maintain the water fountain.  If last spring you noticed the clearing of shrubs and improved vistas along the Merrimack River by Helen’s property, then you have noticed the work of one husband and wife team. Another husband and wife team have volunteered for over a decade clearing the edges of roads and pathways.  Along the Main Drive, volunteers and staff have cleared the Azalea Swamp area and the islands along the driveway. Volunteers help to create a park that simply would not be as pleasant without their hard work.  All members of the Friends of Maudslay are volunteers, who work to raise money to support our community’s shared vision.  I am deeply grateful for the hundreds and hundreds of work hours these dedicated individuals donate annually.

Finally, I am always eager to make people aware of the work that the Friends of Maudslay and the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) will address in the upcoming year.  The dam will be replaced at the Flowering Pond, hopefully with work starting mid-winter.  The Friends Group, through membership’s continued generosity, made a significant contribution toward that effort.  The brick walls in the formal gardens are bowing, crumbling, cracking or have been vandalized.  The Friends with DCR are paying for an assessment of the work to be done to restore all of those walls.  DCR will put a new roof on the Stone House, repoint the stone and repair the wood that is rotted on the exterior as well as de-lead the wood and repaint.  The Friends are raising money to complete the restoration of the interior once the outside work is complete.  As I mentioned in our last newsletter, we will not hold the Silent Auction this year but instead will be focusing our efforts toward membership.  If you are not a member, please consider joining us in our restoration efforts.  Our goal is to reach 600 members.   Of course not everyone is in a position to donate their time as the volunteers I mentioned above do, but at only $25 a year for a Friends of Maudslay membership, we would raise $15,000 annually toward our efforts to keep Maudslay beautiful.  Please help us communicate the need for a larger membership with all of your friends.  You need only take a stroll through Maudslay in autumn to know that many, many more than 600 individuals love this park, and that it is well worth our support.  Thank you for yours.

Marlys Edwards
President, Friends of Maudslay

Outdoor Sculpture at Maudslay
by Bert Snow
This fall, the Outdoor Sculpture Show at Maudslay celebrated our twentieth exhibit.  Over the years, the show has pioneered a unique, inclusive approach to making and exhibiting art, with wonderful results: over 600 sculptures have been created, by artists ranging from experienced sculptors to children.   

We have never “juried” the show: instead, our approach has been to make the opportunity available to anyone who has an idea they want to express/build, and to help them to realize it.  We believe that all of us are creative, and art should not be exclusionary, and should not require a resume.  One might think that the work produced would therefore be “lesser” but the opposite has proven to be true.  Wonderful, adventurous, beautiful sculptures have been created, and the show always has a sense of adventure and surprise.  

The show has also built a strong community: each year the show is put on by the artists themselves on a shoe-string budget, supported by small grants from local cultural councils, and catalog ad sales.  Many artists say that they feel a freedom to experiment at Sculpture at Maudslay, and we think that is part of the secret to the quality of the work, along with the inspiration we take from the beauty of Maudslay itself.  The park staff has been very supportive, and we feel blessed to be part of the Maudslay family, so to speak!

This spring, from April 22 to May 17, there will be a retrospective exhibit about Sculpture at Maudslay at the Firehouse gallery, featuring photographs, stories, videos and more from the twenty years of the show.
Autumn Birds to Look For at Maudslay
By Steve Grinley
Autumn in Maudslay State Park is a special time.  The cool, northwest winds bring migrating birds.  Look skyward on an autumn day and you may see migrating hawks.   The resident red-tail hawks may be moving around, but this time of year you may see soaring broad-winged, red-shouldered, Cooper’s and sharp-shinned hawks.  These birds will circle high above, moving from north to south on their way to Central and South America.  Turkey vultures may also be soaring overhead, and you may be fortunate enough to see a local bald eagle or even a migrating golden eagle later in October and November.

Walking through the grounds, you will likely come across a number of resident birds to enjoy.  Woodpeckers make their presence known by drilling on trees, so you may hear and see the common downy or hairy woodpeckers, the very vocal red-bellied woodpecker, or the prehistoric-looking pileated Woodpecker.

Also throughout the park you will likely see white-breasted nuthatches, black-capped chickadees, tufted titmice, blue jays and northern cardinals.  Mourning doves and wild turkeys are also ever-present.
While many of the plants and trees are turning vibrant colors in autumn, many are also producing seed and/or fruit.  This abundance of food attracts many species of birds and can make your fall visit more pleasurable.

Flocks of robins, and now eastern bluebirds, are staying through autumn and even into the winter to feed on berries.   Fruits such a bittersweet, viburnam, elderberry and winterberry attract a variety of birds in Maudslay.  Look for the handsome cedar waxwings feeding on fruit, and an occasional hermit thrush or catbird that might linger into late fall.

Warblers and vireos migrate through Maudslay in spring and fall. Look for them especially in the trees and shrubs along the river, but they could be searching for insects in any of the large oak, maple, ash, birch, or beech trees throughout the park.  Common yellowthroats may be found around wet areas and lingering pine warblers in the conifer trees.   Most common will be Yellow-rumped, palm, and blackpoll warblers moving through. The resident red-eyed vireos will be leaving but watch for a migrating Philadelphia vireo.

Even smaller than the warblers and vireos are the kinglets, flitting from branch to branch.  The ruby –crowned kinglets are just passing through, but golden-crowned kinglets may arrive and stay all winter.

You are very likely to see flocks of goldfinches feeding in the grasses and on the flowers that have gone to seed in the garden areas.   They may be joined by several species of migrating sparrows.  This is the time of year when song sparrows are joined by white-throated and white-crowned sparrows, as well as Savannah, Lincoln’s and fox sparrows.  The tree sparrows start arriving in fall and will stay the winter, as will their cousins, the dark-eyed juncos.

Large mixed flocks of blackbirds will be on the move throughout the park in fall.  Flocks will often include grackles, starlings, red-winged blackbirds, and cowbirds.  Keep watch for a rare yellow-headed blackbird that could be among them!
The Spirit of the Garden
Today's Garden

by Lindsay Cavanagh
This past summer the garden at Maudslay had the most successful season it has enjoyed in years. The garden’s volunteer weeders thank Bruce Colby, the Women in Transition and men from the Essex County Sherriff’s Department for their time and their contributions. Two of the beds were replanted this year. The white dogwood behind the north wall of the garden and the white wisteria in front of it beside the fountain started the garden off in May, and (finally mature this summer), the white crinkled peonies began the  June blooming season. The pink dahlias lived up to their promise of dinner plate size and the phlox and roses were extravagantly floriferous, providing a sweet perfume to strollers on the garden paths.

The bones of the garden designed by Martha Brookes Hutcheson in 1912, and reflected in her book The Spirit of the Garden, remain. Today, its basic Italian design elements include vistas, axes and a hint of an architectural presence.  Hutcheson insisted on the concept of a garden as an outside room; hedges, walls and paths should unite the design and bring it to a unified whole. Less structured plantings link the garden with the surrounding landscape. According to Hutcheson’s book, at Maudslay the designer created an Italian giardino segreto – a secret garden where she could utilize her favorite design components: mystery, variety and contrast. Combining roses, vines, perennials, sundial, arbors, fountain and a hedge to hide the greenhouses, Hutcheson created an atmosphere of seclusion and peace.

Today’s garden is decades away from the Country Place Era horticultural extravaganza. Although the boxus and parterres are there, the lushness, variety and extravagance of the original plant materials are gone and so is the massive wood pergola with its climbing roses and varied vines. Today’s gardeners focus on the necessity and importance of safeguarding the original spirit of the garden in a more simplified form. When you pass through the beech hedge into that special space, take a moment to note the peace, to listen to the birdsong and to be aware of the generations of loving care that has guaranteed the continuance of this amazing historic garden.
Theater in the Open
After another wonderful summer of fairy-tales, puppetry and Shakespeare, Theater in the Open's outdoor season will come to a close with Maudslay is Haunted, our annual Halloween fundraiser.  Local volunteers perform spooky and silly vignettes designed for all ages on an hour-long trail through the park.  A beloved family tradition for over 30 years now, we are deeply grateful for the support of the park and our entire community.  The funds raised go to keeping the rest of our outdoor programming free, scholarships for our arts education programs, and maintaining our beautiful historic headquarters on the edge of the park.  If your are interested in volunteering or attending, please visit us at
Edward F. Speck
Artistic Director
Theater in the Open
Copyright © 2019 Maudslay State Park Association, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp