Letter from the President

As the hazy, hot and humid days of summer settle over the North Shore, many people are finding relief in Maudslay State Park.  The specimen trees and the breeze off of the Merrimack River offer a cooler day away from the blistering heat of August.  Recently the park has been abuzz with groups of bikers - young and old, people on horseback (no greenheads in Maudslay in the summer), joggers and walkers, photographers, artists and more.
With so much activity in the park, safety is always an important consideration.  In the last newsletter, Rob Kovacs, Maudslay Supervisor, discussed the right-of-way DCR trail guidelines.  For additional clarity, I have attached the symbol that represents those guidelines as well as a photograph of a rider in Maudslay wearing a vest that clarifies even more.  Please remember that horses always have the right-of-way, And let riders know when you are approaching from behind.  Thanks for considering others’ safety when enjoying the park.
On another note, the Friends of Maudslay have applied for 2:1 Partnership Matching Funds from DCR to support restoration of the brick walls in the formal gardens; you may have noticed in recent years that they have begun bowing in a number of locations while other areas need pointing or rebuilding, from either fallen trees or vandalism.  The Italianate Formal Gardens are a gem in our park; we feel it is tremendously important to work with DCR to maintain these gardens, as well as restore the Stone House, and we will continue our focus in those areas.

Formal Garden picture taken sometime in the 1950's

At the July board meeting the Friends of Maudslay determined that rather than holding the Silent Auction this year we would like to focus our energies on increasing membership.  As we negotiate with DCR staff in Boston, as well as the people here at headquarters, we know that the more members we have in our organization, the more influence and resources we have in our corner.  For a $25 annual fee, members have a voice, and collectively, with a strong membership, we can make ourselves heard.  To this end, we have posted temporary signage about membership at park entrances, revamped our website, added an Instagram account to our digital presence, and are asking for your help in launching a word-of-mouth campaign.  If you are not already a member, please consider joining, and pass this newsletter on to as many people as you know who enjoy the park.  With a strong membership, we will have power to accomplish our shared goals not only in the formal gardens but in other areas of this beautiful park.  Thank you for your consideration. 
Marlys Edwards
President, Friends of Maudslay
Friends of Maudslay Survey – What You Had To Say?

As a part of our March through June survey, a third of you took the extra time to provide your thoughts, comments, and insights on how we can make everyone’s experience at the park even better.  Thank you!
We have analyzed all of the comments and found that a majority of the suggestions fell into (5) themes or categories on how we can improve – regarding dogs, signage, horses, parking and park maintenance.  Below are the details, with each theme’s suggestions in order, by number of comments.

While these are all about how we could do better, there were just as many comments on how you love the park, consider it a local treasure, and talked about what a beautiful place we have to enjoy.  So nice to see others appreciate the park as much as the Friends of Maudslay.
We also received a couple of comments on how to better address the disabled and mobility impaired with regards to assess and parking, so everyone can take pleasure in our park!
Thank you again for those of you who provided input and we look forward to everyone’s participating in future surveys.  We want to hear from you.  Your voice makes a difference!
And remember, if you are interested in becoming a member click here.

From Rob Kovacs, DCR Park Supervisor, Maudslay State Park

Surveys and other communications are important tools to help us guage how the park operations, maintenance, and programs are managed. We strive to provide a safe, clean, highly maintained, well programmed, and aesthetically pleasing park for a broad range of uses by individuals and groups. Recently, we were given the results of a survey conducted by the “Friends of Maudslay” with 85 participant comments and other very helpful statistical information. It was heartening to receive so many compliments, but, more important were the expressions of concerns which we are endeavoring to address more proactively.

Perhaps the most serious concerns are the unleashed dogs and the plastic dog waste bags littering the park. Most dog walkers respect the rules and we appreciate that. There are plastic waste bags and receptacles provided at the main entrances to the park. We may add more if the problem persists. Park staff courteously enforce all park rules whenever possible to create a harmonious setting for all park visitors and to protect the wildlife.

Another concern is the graffiti which was cleaned up by a contractor at the end of June. This two day project with heavy duty equipment, materials, and contractor employees at a cost of nearly $5000 was funded through a deferred maintenance account.
Any new graffiti will be dealt with quickly and we ask the public to report it, if seen.                       

The need for more descriptive and directional signage was mentioned. We will be adding an additional 24 signs, depicted in photo, to better help visitors navigate the 16 mile trail network. We also encourage visitors to obtain a map at one of the brochure boxes located in the parking lot or at park headquarters or to view the map on a mobile device. Over the years some signs have been vandalized, stolen, or obstructed by encroaching vegetation. Also, 4X4 pressure treated posts marking locations of each  feature noted on the trail map will replace the missing or deteriorating ones which stood for decades. These improvements are planned to be done by October.
We recognize that most visitors to Maudslay venture out on their own often times with map in hand to explore the over 480 acres of park with its 21 special features. While there are four interpretive waysides at key entrances that offer some basic historic and other information, we hope to attract more visitors to the many informative and entertaining programs and walks offered by park interpretive staff.

Photographer Unknown

Maudslay’s interpretive programming, provided seasonally from May-October by Donna the DCR Park Interpreter, will enhance the public’s appreciation and understanding of the rich historic, cultural, and natural features of the park. A myriad of landscapes, flora, and fauna are presented in interactive day and evening walks and programs. Over the decades thousands of children and adults have enjoyed and learned from these well planned and conducted programs. 

Photo by Maudslay State Park Staff

The Park Interpreter also collaborates both with a variety of special guests, who provide a host of natural and cultural programs, and with photo/videographers who provide some fantastic wildlife content. These are provided in this newsletter for your viewing pleasure made possible by this partnership. We hope your future participation in a Maudslay program will be an enjoyable and educational experience.   

In the near future look for fox family videos on our Facebook page and our website.

Photos of Foxes by Steve Moore

Park staff and volunteers work hard, whether maintaining the buildings, bridges, and grounds, or interacting with the public through permits, programs, and general visitor services, to make Maudslay State Park a special place for everyone who comes here.
The program calendar can be viewed on the MSPA website or visit For any other information or to report any concerns please contact park headquarters at 978.465.7223 or email to

Best regards, Rob
Robert Kovacs
DCR Park Supervisor, Maudslay State Park
The Spirit of the Garden
August MSPA newsletter
Part 1
Martha Brookes Hutcheson, one of the first women in the United States to earn a professional degree in landscape architecture, designed the entry drive and grounds around the main house of Newburyport’s Maudslay estate, as well as its formal walled garden (1904-1906).

To those in the landscape world, the age of the industrial robber baron had resulted in an expansion of horticultural work; today that period of expansive and expensive homes is known as the Country House Era. The Moseley’s Newburyport estate was an example of that time.  Perhaps the growing realm of elaborate properties punctuated with domestic pleasure gardens demonstrated the cultural and social aspirations of newly successful Americans in a young and growing country. Reflecting the politically progressive ideas of the time, Hutcheson felt that these new early 20th century gardens could be a social and cultural force for improvement benefitting both individuals and communities.

Like many of her colleagues, Hutcheson turned to Italy’s classic garden and landscape designs as models that could be adapted to her clients’ properties. What visitors see today in the Maudslay garden is not the original Hutcheson’s design. That plan would be too labor intensive. In today’s world volunteers are the garden’s sole caretakers. Originally, three greenhouses and many full- time workers ensured that Hutcheson’s design was continued. Visitors to park headquarters can see photographs of the garden’s earlier stages and they can ask to see Hutcheson’s book, The Spirit of the Garden, which includes both photographs of the garden’s construction and its lush established stages.
Cross Country Runner Info
from Coach Don Hennigar
The Clipper XC Relay meet will be held the morning of Saturday, September 7th. This is a large race, attracting many runners as well as spectators making parking tight the first half of the day; if you anticipate walking, biking or horseback riding in the park, please plan accordingly.
September to late October, every afternoon from approximately 3pm to 5pm the High School, Middle School, IC, and Charter School XC teams will practice or hold meets.
Theater In The Open

"The arts are blooming in Maudslay State Park, from our Summer Arts Workshop at the Gate House to William Shakespeare's The Tempest under the Dawn Redwoods.  Join us for our Circus Smirkus performances at Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm this Friday and Saturday, for free performances of The Tempest August 10th and 11th, or for our Summer Theater Festival on August 17th and 18th, including fairy-tale puppetry, A Peter Pan Panto, The Tempest, Lost Songs, and a live reading (over craft brews) of Julius Caesar at the Rocky Hill Meeting House.  The Fall will bring with it Edgar Alan Poe and Maudslay is Haunted, but for now please visit for more information on our Summer offerings."

The Tempest

Summer Arts Workshop at the Gate House
Maudslay Arts Center

Whether you’re sitting under the stars on a moonlit evening, or lounging on a blanket on a Sunday afternoon, the Maudslay Arts Center Summer Concert Series provides the perfect setting for your entertainment pleasure. August concerts include The New Black Eagle Jazz Band on Saturday, Aug. 10, The Hal McIntyre Big Band on Sunday, Aug. 11, and multi-styled vocalist/pianist Amanda Carr with Sax-Man Elan Trotman on Saturday, Aug. 17. Maudslay Arts Center is located at 95 Curzon Mill Road, Maudslay State Park, Newburyport MA 01950.

For an up-to-date summer schedule, to purchase tickets online, or for further information about the performers, visit the MAC website at The series is supported by The Newburyport Bank, dedicated MAC volunteers and patrons, and the staff of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). The Saturday evening performances are sponsored by The Newburyport Bank.

Outdoor Sculpture at Maudslay
The 20th annual Outdoor Sculpture at Maudslay exhibition will be on view September 8 to September 29. In this celebratory year, close to 50 artists of all ages will have sculptures or installations in the park, to the theme “20/20”. The event is open to artists from the region, non- juried, and free to the public.  Free printed catalogues will be available to guide visitors through the exhibit. The official opening, guided tour and meeting of the artists is scheduled for Saturday, September 14, 2019 at 2:00 pm.
Copyright © 2019 Maudslay State Park Association, All rights reserved.

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