About the Property
Once part of the 18th-century farm of royal Governor Benning Wentworth, this coastal hideaway borders the shoreline of tidal Sagamore Creek. You’ll find remnants of the old estate, including Creek Farm Cottage built in 1887. The short trail around the property follows the shoreline past a canoe/kayak launch and a man-made tidal pool. At low tide, you can walk across the connecting strip of land to Goose Island. If you come to paddle, haul your craft across the lawn to the put-in, then head left toward Portsmouth Harbor for views of the Wentworth Coolidge Mansion and Wentworth by the Sea Hotel. Or go up Sagamore Creek and stop by BG’s Boat House for a lobster roll.
Creek Farm Series
What will you see and do at Creek Farm? We hope you'll join us along with local organizations as we gather and celebrate the natural beauty of this coastal hideaway. Check this page for the latest news and events happening at Creek Farm.
One of the most entertaining ways to fish for striped bass in the salt water is from a kayak. There’s no guarantee you’ll hook into a large fish, but if you do, a mini-version of what is called the “Nantucket Sleigh Ride” is lots of fun. A larger striper can pull you around the salt creeks and inland bays near Creek Farm!
Sagamore Creek is a salt creek that flows in and out with the tides. You can access a lot of interesting water from the kayak and canoe launch at Creek Farm (carry your boat from the public parking area the 200 yards to the launch.) If the fishing is slow, there is still lots to see either paddling “upstream” to the salt marshes at the Urban Forestry Center, or “downstream” toward the Wentworth by the Sea hotel, or Leaches and Pest islands. If you go at mid-tide, you can paddle under the Rye/New Castle Bridge and take a break on the bayside beaches of Odiorne State Park.
NH Forest Explorer
Want mobile maps of the trails to take with you? Try our new web-based trails app called NH Forest Explorer! To see our mobile maps and trails interpretation, go to forestsociety.org/FE in your browser and select "Creek Farm" from the drop-down menu. Enter your email address to register and start exploring!
Goose Island Trail
The trail at Creek Farm Reservation offers a short but scenic walk over level terrain. The trail from the parking area proceeds toward the waterfront along Sagamore Creek. A right at the first fork will bring you to a carry-in canoe/kayak access. The Goose Island trail passes through woods, fields, and a pear orchard to views of Goose Island, Wentworth Coolidge Historic Site, and Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. Return to the parking area along the same trail.
The Creek Farm Cottage and other structures are not open to the public.
The Sagamore Creek area holds significant agricultural heritage. In fact, the site of Creek Farm, believed to have been occupied by early settler Nicholas Rowe in 1640, was one of the earliest places in New Hampshire to be cultivated by European settlers. It was later part of the 18th-century farm of the royal governor of New Hampshire, Benning Wentworth. Some of the fieldstone boundary walls that cross the property define ancient property lines that were recorded on early maps of the area.
The main house and grounds were created beginning in 1888 for Arthur Astor Carey, a leader in New England’s cultural and artistic life. He purchased 40 acres of the original Benning Wentworth farm for a summer home and commissioned Alexander Wadsworth Longfellow, the nephew of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, to design it. Creek Farm served as a focal point for artists summering at the Seacoast and also hosted delegates to the Portsmouth Peace Treaty in 1905, ending the Russo-Japanese War.
In 1957 Lillian and Chester Noel purchased the property from the Carey family. Shortly after her husband’s death in 1997, Lillian “Billie” Noel granted a conservation easement on the property on all but the house and five acres to the State of New Hampshire. In September of 2000, she conveyed the entire property at a bargain sale to the Forest Society, with the intent that it remain as a conservation area in perpetuity. The property serves as an outdoor education resource, tree farm, bird sanctuary and wildlife reservation.
We are grateful to Billie for making this tremendous gift of open space and for all who contributed toward its purchase.