In Falmouth be sure to visit Highfield Hall and Gardens to enjoy art exhibits, gardens, workshops, performances or even just a picnic on the impressive grounds.
The History of Highfield Hall
The 19th century estate was constructed in 1878 for the Beebe family, heirs to a mercantile fortune. The sprawling grounds, acres of woodland, and lavish buildings were enjoyed by the family until 1932 when the last Beebe died, and the property bounced around to a variety of owners. It was purchased in 1949 by DeWitt TerHeun, a lover of art and theatre who converted the estate as a training ground for student actors. After TerHeun’s death in 1962 the property was slated for residential development, but the plans were held up and fell through. The estate was purchased in 1972 by Josephine and Josiah K Lilly III who gave 400 acres of the Beebe woodlands to the town for preservation, and the buildings and grounds to a local arts organization. Sadly, the Tanglewood building was demolished in 1977 and Highfield Hall spent two decades neglected and subject to vandalism. After a close call with demolition in 1994 the community rallied behind the structure, working to obtain and restore the property to its current glory. The renovations were completed by 2007 when the hall opened for its first full year of operation. Since then, the hall has welcomed over 125,000 visitors.
The Gardens of Highfield Hall
The woods of Highfield Hall have pleasant trails, with gardens that are are immaculate and serene. The Sunken Garden replicates the Beebe Family’s original herbaceous garden as documented, and the West Garden was the family’s flower cutting garden. Beebe woods offers 387 acres of land with trails and old carriage roads. The 2012 Beech Tree Path meanders through the stand of beaches planted by the family.
Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for Seniors and Veterans, Free for kids 17 and under, active military, and members. They are open Tuesday – Friday from 10am to 4pm. Opening 10am on Saturday and Sunday as well, but closing at 2pm. The trails, gardens and Music Garden on the grounds are open from dawn to dusk.
Programs, Exhibitions, Concerts, Classes and More!
In addition to the impressive grounds, visitors can enjoy world class concerts, workshops, classes, art exhibits, cultural programs, and more. This summer Highfield Hall hosts the Boston
Sculptors Gallery as they celebrate their 30th anniversary. Over 40 artists will create sculptures on site designed for the grounds, gardens, and public spaces inside the house. The exhibit will have two parts, an outdoor installation from July 5th through October 30th with approximately twenty large works. The galleries inside will also display more than twenty works from July 12 – August 21.
Kids and families can enjoy an outdoor scavenger hunt and story walks put on in collaboration with the Falmouth Library Youth Services. The fairy houses are back for 2022 starting July 1st. “Elements” explores the unseen magical world inhabited by nonhumans like fairies, sylphs, mythical water creatures, all of which are from the 4 main elements of earth, air, water, and fire.
There is a busy calendar of events at Highfield Hall and Gardens for every age group and interest, including outdoor estate tours, cooking demonstrations, piano concerts and curatorial tours of the current exhibitions. They even get your pets in on the fun with their Hounds of Highfield events taking place on June 25th..
Next door, the Highfield Theatre also hosts performances by the College Light Opera Company. The non-profit theatre organization trains up and coming college performers in an 11-week intensive program that produces 9 musicals and operettas. Check out their current schedule to find a show for you.