UNITED STATES  |  The Seacoast, Massachusetts Travel Guide
Friday, July 3, 2020
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Plum Island

Plum Island

Less “civilized” (but also very popular for summer guests) is Plum Island, a narrow strip of land hanging off the northern corner of Massachusetts into the sea. It’s not quick to reach, as there are only narrow roads through small agricultural towns to get you there, but it’s worth the trip if you are a birdwatcher or a lover of untamed places. From Boston, you can get to Newburyport, the town at the edge of Plum Island, by taking Route 1 in a straight (but trafficky) line; from Cape Ann itself, meander on Route 133 to Route 1A, again staying off the roads at rush hour, and get a feeling for the underlying coastal quietness of the land. A small bridge takes you onto Plum Island, which is largely preserved land, especially the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge. Aim for the fall and spring migrations of waterfowl, making sure to bring camera and binoculars to make the most of the sights. Boating, beach pleasures, and fishing are also popular; just stay away in July, when the greenhead flies bite fiercely. Keep an eye out for the piles of discarded clam shells still to be found among the dunes here – they are left from the time of the Agawam Indians, who summered on the island until the arrival of European settlers in the 1630s. The island is named for the beach plum bushes that covered it in those days. Later, during the American Revolution, salt marsh hay from the island was smuggled into Boston, where it was used as livestock feed during the British blockade of the harbor.

Last updated March 30, 2008
Posted in   United States  |  The Seacoast
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