Eight self-guided trails meander through Ashumet Holly Sanctuary, a 45-acre sanctuary in East Falmouth. (Don’t go without a map — you’ll miss the informative interpretations of what you’re seeing). Catch sight of some of over 130 species of birds known to live here or pass through, including 35 nesting pairs of barn swallows.
More than 65 varieties of holly provide the raison d’etre for the place: Wilfred Wheeler cultivated them due to his concern for the over-harvesting of the iconic berry-bearing greens during the holidays. Josiah K. Lilly III bought the place after Wilfred’s death in 1961 to ensure its preservation. Large franklinia flowers bloom in late summer and early fall, along with rare, pink Plymouth gentian, which blossoms around Grassy Pond. Rhododendrons and dogwoods burst into bloom in springtime. Sign on for a guided bird walk, or reserve in advance for a sailing trip to Cuttyhunk Island.