Archive for September 19, 2022

The Last Hummingbird – The Abandoned Highover Estate

Posted: September 19, 2022 by kingleser in #postaday, Abandoned, Abandoned Attractions, Abandoned Castle, Abandoned Connecticut, Abandoned Farm, abandoned home, Abandoned House, Abandoned Massachusetts, abandoned new england, Abandoned New Hampshire, Abandoned New York, Abandoned Park, Abandoned Pennsylvania, Abandoned Places, Abandoned Resort, Abandoned Rhode Island, Abandoned Statues, Abandoned USA, Abandoned Vermont, Abandoned Wonders, Art, Birds, Boston, Closed, darkness, Death, Destruction, Exploration, fire, Forgotten, forgotten beauty, forgotten home, Haunting, Hiking, History, House, Information, left behind, lost, Massachusetts, Movies, Mystery, nature, new england, photography, Preserved Ruin, Public Parks, research, Ruins, Safety First, time, Uncategorized, Urban Decay, Urban Exploration, Urban Exploring, Urbex, writing
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The Last Hummingbird

The Abandoned Highover Estate

Written by: Wilk

Photographs by: Lassie

Summer has come and passed. The innocence can never last. Wake me up when September ends. Well, that’s just about now. So wake up, everyone. We’re back. But the summer season has taken its final bow. And we are currently on the fast track toward the end of the year. It all just goes by so fast, doesn’t it? Time keeps on slipping into the future. I close my eyes only for a moment and the moment’s gone. Every year is getting shorter, never seem to find the time. Alright. No more classic rock lyrics. Wait a minute. Is Green Day considered classic rock now? Damn I got old. Seriously, though. I always measure the days of summer by the hummingbirds. We have two feeders sitting outside on our back porch and we love to watch them. The little birds first start sparingly appearing in early June. By July, there are dozens of them waging nasty territorial battles for control of the skies. But by August, things begin to quiet down. The birds fly off one by one into the great unknown. The days fall off the calendar. The sunshine fades away. And the glorious season of summer fun disappears into our collective memories. Gone. But not forgotten. And as I currently write the words of this article, only one hummingbird sits outside.

As I mentioned to you earlier, we’re experimenting with quarterly articles this year as opposed to monthly ones. A: we were just getting too busy with school, work, movies, etc. And B: frankly, we’re just running out of abandoned places to cover that are nearby. For years now, it has become increasingly hard to find quality abandoned places that have a story to tell. But there is one that has been on my list for a couple years now. And interestingly enough, nobody that we follow has covered it yet. So allow me to introduce the subject of Quarter #3 of 2022’s article: The abandoned Highover Estate. Located in what is now Beverly, Massachusetts, this area was once well known as Moraine Farm. It was famously owned by the high-society elite family of Boston: The Phillips Family. For years they lived on and managed the farm, and in 1913 the family built their lavish estate known as “Highover.” But in 1968, tragedy struck and the family mansion was destroyed by a raging fire. The remains were subsequently abandoned and the land sat empty for several long years. It was saved, however, when the grounds officially changed hands to the town of Beverly in the early 1990’s, and the JC Phillips Nature Preserve was established.

We made our trek to the abandoned Highover Estate during the final days of summer 2022. It was a bit of a drive for us. So we decided to make an overnight trip of it. Most people don’t seem to realize it, but there’s actually quite a bit to do north of Boston. Gloucester. Salem. Danvers. All great towns. But maybe it’s better that they stay more low-key destinations. That’s the way we like it. Except for Salem in October. If you dig big crowds, long lines, tourist traps, costumed characters, overpriced beer, and religious zealots yelling at you from street corners, you’ll love it. If you’re an awkward introvert like myself, it will NOT be your cup of tea. Anyhow, this place had been on my list for a very long time. And we were finally on our way to see it. The sun was shining, there was a bit of traffic, and we arrived at the JC Phillips Nature Preserve ready for some adventure. It was a quiet place. A few dog walkers perused the area. But for the most part, we were alone. Just the way I like it. The abandoned Highover Estate is not marked on any map, so we did have to go in more or less blind. But lucky for us, the abandoned estate is rather easy to find. As we meandered down the main trail, we soon found exactly what we were looking for.

The main blue trail of the nature preserve passes straight through the abandoned estate. The old iron gate still stands, though now fully overtaken by wild vine and vegetation. A trail bulletin board with historical facts on it is now rotting into oblivion. But the main attraction of this place lies a short walk up the neighboring hill. The estate’s former fountain still resides amongst the fertile forest floor and watching over it is the final surviving piece of the Highover Mansion. It is quite odd looking, honestly. Almost like a white room standing all alone amongst the underbrush. Three walls and a floor, or what’s left of them. Though now coated with graffiti and full of trash, it still casts a strong sense of character. We honestly took a ton of pictures as its just a very photogenic piece. See for yourself above and below. A short walk down the trail lie a few more broken down foundations and structures. It honestly feels like at this point you’ve seen everything there is to see. But if you continue long enough, you will find a small copper statue perched upon a stone pedestal in the middle of the trail. This was honestly my favorite part of the abandoned grounds, as it still has so much character to it. Even being such a small piece.

To be perfectly honest, there isn’t too much to see here. If you’re a hardcore urban explorer, this place will disappoint you. But if you’re a hiker or a photographer, you will enjoy this one. The photos we got just have their own weird sense of charm and derelict dignity. Looking back though, the abandoned Highover Estate still truly puzzles me. For years, she has sat alone in the forest. Many have come and gone past its ruins. But most never seem to take notice. And those that do notice have not been very nice to it. Time and time again we have seen places like this get cleaned up, renovated, and reborn into places of public interest. But the abandoned estate has had no such luck so far. She just continues her steady decline into oblivion. I encourage anyone who is looking for a good hike and a bit of legal mischief to check this place out. It’s honestly perfect for people wanting to get into urban exploring, but don’t know how. There isn’t too much to see, but what is there is very cool and very photogenic. Because whether by the hands of a local cleanup crew or the slow decay of time, I don’t see this place lasting much longer. Not in the state that it’s in. So plan your trips now. For just like the days of summer, nothing last forever.