Where It’s At

Beach it up!

Please note: State water access update added July 31.
Wed, 07/29/2020 - 8:00am

    Remember, back when you were a kid (and for some of us teenagers) at the beach on a hot summer day? The scent of salt laced with that of Coppertone in the air … the warmth of the sun on your face ... the cries of the gulls … transistor radios on blankets of blue, white and orange releasing Paul and Linda McCartney’s “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey,” Sly and the Family Stone singing about “Hot Fun in the Summertime,” the Stones singing about those “Honky Tonk Women” while Derek (aka Eric Clapton) & the Dominoes sang of the love of “Layla” to mingle with those olfactory delights …

    Growing up in Connecticut, we went to Rocky Neck, Ocean Beach (complete with arcade and small amusement park), or Hammonasset Beach. All that white sand … the sound of the waves, feeling and watching seaweed whirl around your ankle led by the rhythm of the water …

    The closest beaches to the Boothbay region are Popham, Reid State Park and Pemaquid. Everyone has their favorite.

    Popham is a gorgeous beach with an island you can walk to at low tide in Phippsburg. A lot of people I know say this is their favorite – including my youngest daughter and her daughter. Right now, thanks to COVID-19, Popham is at reduced capacity – 200 cars of people are admitted to the park. That’s half of what it usually is. 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. No masks are required on the beach. Social distancing of six feet is requested. For more info on Popham, visit https://www.maine.gov/

    But for me, it’s Reid State Park all the way, baby. I love the rocks for climbing, OK, walking on; the spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean are breathtaking, really. I think maybe it’s that bit of wildness vibe at Reid that appeals to me, too. There’s the lagoon kids really love… Sigh, I wish I was there right now! Did I mention the sand dunes? Uh-oh! I just had an image flash through my mind of Elvis Presley and Shelley Fabares in “Clam Bake” falling or sliding down a dune? Yikes! I don’t think I’ve thought of that … probably since I saw the movie on TV too many “bakes” ago. I think that’s a good thing too! Reid State Park is in Georgetown and super easy to get to. It’s also admitting only half of the usual number of cars – 375 – and is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

    Pemaquid Beach in Bristol, like Reid State Park, has facilities (shower stand and snack shack) that are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; the beach is open all of the time. The beach is monitored by staff on an hourly basis to make sure there is enough room for social distancing. I call it the sweet little beach. Once I found a piece of driftwood resembling a small bird there. Oh, masks are required at the Nature Center, on the boardwalk and waiting in line at the snack shack … for complete details check out https://www.bristolmaine.org/parks-recreation/pemaquid-beach-park

    Here in Boothbay, swimming hot spots include Grimes Cove, Ocean Point in East Boothbay. Scale the rocks on the left and, if it’s an active wave day, get wave showered! It’s a small beach area, to be sure. There’s a small float out in the cove and in July and August there are lots of people cooling off and having fun in our quite cool waters. But, that’s just what you need when we hit those 90F days.

    Another favorite spot for locals and summer residents is Dog Fish Head Beach on Southport Island. Small island off the beach to climb on – and rocks, good-sized beach area, views of Hendricks Head Lighthouse, too. You’ll find lots of people cooling down from the summer heat here.

    Over on the east side of the harbor is Barrett’s Park. This is an awesome spot just off Atlantic Avenue. Lots of tree-shaded spots to set up your blankets and what-not. It is always filled with friendly people and is dog-friendly too. Just remember to pick up their waste – and having them on a leash is a good idea: lots of little ones are quite wary of dogs, particularly of the mid to large variety.

    The cove is great at Barrett’s. It’s the first area to your right beyond the pavilion. There are small areas on the right as you work your way down to the point at the park where there are small rock groupings and places to wade in the water. Down at the point, lots of folks dive in. The views are outstanding, too. But then, this is Midcoast Maine.

    And, of course, no day at the beach would be complete without the banish gulls dancing, whether it’s performed while you are brandishing a towel or merely using your hands for that ineffective shooshing motion – those flying bandits are always ready, willing and able to descend upon your little blanket town and raid the coffers!

    Yeah, I know. Some things are always funnier in retrospect.

    For updates on Reid State Park and Popham beach, visit:  https://admin.boothbayregister.com/article/updated-water-access-restrictions-popham-beach-and-reid-state-parks/136921