For 30 years, Dr. Sook-Bin Woo and her husband, Roger Warner, have lived in a family home a stone’s throw from Ipswich’s Russell Orchards, on the road to Crane Beach. An associate professor at Harvard University’s School of Dental Medicine and an oral pathologist and oral medicine specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dr. Woo, 59, and her husband raised two children in the house.
A native of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, she treasures her adopted hometown for its natural beauty. “I love the water,’’ Woo said. “I love seeing the change of seasons in a natural habitat — the migration of the birds and the changing of colors of the marsh in particular. It’s a beautiful green now, but it’s going to turn pumpkin in the fall, then gray, which has its own stark beauty, in winter. It teaches me gratitude.’’
Warner grew up in Washington, D.C., summering with his family in the Ipswich house. A writer, he has led an effort to create a culinary market for the green crabs that have overrun the local clamming industry.
“We really like to use the environment,’’ Woo said, noting that she and her husband have cooked with seaweed, and she maintains a vegetable garden.
“We do live a country life,’’ she said. “I get the best of both worlds. I work at a top-level hospital, then I come home to the beautiful countryside.’’
Dr. Sook-Bin Woo of Ipswich
Number of rooms in the Stuart-style mansion on the Crane Estate. The wealthy Chicago industrialist Richard T. Crane purchased 2,100 acres along the Ipswich shoreline in 1910 and built his grand residence, designed by the world-renowned architect David Adler, in 1928. Fun fact: Comedic actor Chevy Chase is Crane’s adopted great-great-grandson.
Number of children’s books longtime Ipswich resident Ed Emberleyestimates he has written and illustrated. He and his wife, Barbara, won the Caldecott Medal for their 1968 book “Drummer Hoff.’’
Number of First Period (1626-1725) homes in Ipswich, believed to be the most in any town in the nation
The number of residents at Wolf Hollow sanctuary, which is open to the general public and for field trips. The nonprofit North American Wolf Foundation, founded in 1988, strives “to preserve the wolf in the wild, through education and exposure.’’
Natural and cultural heritage
Ipswich sits at the heart of the Essex National Heritage Area, one of just 16 regions of the country officially designated for their cultural and national significance. Crane Beach has more than 5 miles of trails along coastal dunes. Appleton Farms, said to be the country’s oldest in continuous operation, features another 6 miles of footpaths, bridle paths, and farm roads. Ipswich is also home to Ipswich Arts & Illumination, a free annual weekend of performances, creativity, and floating bonfires (Sept. 23-25).
In 2012, a land trust dating to the 17th century was dissolved when 27 acres of prime real estate known as Little Neck were sold for more than $30 million to 166 cottage owners. In his 1660 will, William Paine stipulated that the land never be sold and rent from its use be put into a trust benefiting Ipswich schools. The school system did receive much of the sale money, but the area became a gated community with a private beach.