Crane Beach on the Crane Estate, quite close to the orchard in Wednesday's post. The beach has trails and dunes and rippled sands where little rivulets of Atlantic Ocean water create channels and trenches and bluffs.
Great House, summer residence of Richard T. Crane, Jr. (Which is to say this vast property was not named after long-necked birds.) Castle Hill joins Fishers Island in the category of "very valuable real estate once owned by John Winthrop Jr." Honestly, had I remembered that Winthrop founded Ipswich as well as New London, I probably would have paid more attention to Ipswich. And had I known that Crane Co. - the Chicago company Richard T. inherited from his father, giving him enough money to build this little seasonal diversion - was now based in Stamford, I would have...I don't know what, exactly. Felt some sort of Connecticut pride, I suppose.
From the front, the house is a little dreary. It's heavy and cold and looks like any other way too large summer home built by people who had more money than they knew what to do with. (Though they obviously knew much better what to do with it than people who have too much money these days.) But the front is fooling you, like a ball gown that's staid and forgettable face-to-face, until the wearer turns around and you discover the gown is extremely low cut with an elaborate bustle.
This is, by the way, the second house the Cranes built on this hill. The first one was torn down after ten years because Mrs. Crane didn't like it. But now, the likes of me can traipse through her garden. So that's something.
A little travel note: Ipswich is very well laid out for lazy visitors. The Crane Estate, Russell Orchards, and everything else you'd probably want to see are all situated close together with obvious signs pointing the way. It's almost like John Winthrop Jr., and the little group of settlers he brought with him when he first sailed up in his shallop (no, spell-check, not in his shallot) had thought of this.