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Written by blazn on 05 Dec, 2000
Plum Island is a small island connected to the mainland by a causeway. One end of it is The Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, over 4,000 acres of protected beach left pretty much as nature intended. This is something you don’t see everyday…Read More
Plum Island is a small island connected to the mainland by a causeway. One end of it is The Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, over 4,000 acres of protected beach left pretty much as nature intended. This is something you don’t see everyday – especially less than an hour from Boston. There is a small fee to enter, worth it if you like your beach time quiet or if you are a birdwatcher.
Plum Island is considered one of the nation’s premiere birdwatching areas. There is so much natural habitat here the birds have kept this place on their migration maps. Even those of us who don’t know birds probably have heard of the Piping Plover, a favorite on the endangered species list. Well, they like it so much here that they have established a breeding area at the south end of the reserve.
The Hellcat Wildlife Swamp area has a boardwalk and deer blinds. The little island deer can live here because of the fresh water impoundments and forest in this section. Standing out there it is easy to imagine the time that the woods and forests ran all the way to the ocean’s edge.
The other end of the island is a jumbled collection of wonderfully tacky summer cottages now interspersed with high-end contemporary beach homes. The whole beach is public but the parking situation tends to keep day visitors congregated at either end of the residential area. You’ll come to the first public parking soon after you cross onto the island. Last time I was there it was $5 for the weekdays and $7 weekend. They have a machine that takes the money so bring the correct and crisp bills. The far end houses a Coast Guard Station and more public parking. The fishing crowd seems to like this area.
If you get your order in early you can rent a cottage for an extended stay. Some cottages have been winterized and can be had for off-season rates through the winter. There is a real-estate office on the left as you cross over to the island or pick up a local paper for listings of just cruise the street looking for 'For Rent' signs.
If you get bored of the beach scene you can stop by the airport on the causeway and take a glider ride or flying lessons. Like they say, there's something for everyone.