What is Trails & Sails?

Celebrating its 23rd year in 2024, Trails & Sails is an event series that brings awareness and appreciation for heritage resources around Essex County, Massachusetts, which is a federally designated National Heritage Area. Historically, Trails & Sails has focused on outdoor activities such as guided hikes and excursions on the water, but over the years it has grown to include historic house tours, lectures, community celebrations, special exhibitions, craft demonstrations, and many other diverse activities.


How Trails & Sails Exists Today

Trails & Sails is organized and coordinated by Essex Heritage, the regional non-profit working to preserve and enhance natural, cultural, and historic resources around Essex County. Essex Heritage works with many non-profit, community, and small business partners who demonstrate the importance of these assets during Trails & Sails by coordinating free events. This can take many shapes; a historical society might offer a lecture, a conservation group could lead a guided hike, an arts consortium might coordinate open studios, or a local sailing vessel might offer harbor tours. Once events are in the works, Essex Heritage becomes the marketing engine to promote Trails & Sails. This is done through the digital and print promotion of the entire series including the publication of a printed guide, an online and mobile-friendly website for event listings, and social media advertising.

The Importance of Trails & Sails

Essex Heritage believes that if residents and visitors get a taste of the thousands of heritage assets found in Essex County, they will be more likely to promote and support those places over time. Through Trails & Sails, awareness and appreciation of heritage resources can be catalyzed and all ages can enjoy what Essex County has to offer.

2024 Sponsors