Stormy day at Gooseberry Island, Westport


Gooseberry Island, looking out into Long Island Sound

We are not your typical beachgoers–sunny, hot days, time spent lying in the sun. Nope, not what I can do. But when the weather clouds up, cools down, and most folks stay away from the beach, that’s just perfect for me! After the hottest days of August, we have had some cooler days recently, and lots of rain. Yes, just right for a jaunt to the ocean to my favorite spot, Gooseberry Island in Westport.


Clouds of swallows soared above and into the beach grasses near the shoreline

We had recently traveled to Halibut Point in Rockport and noticed clouds of swallows in the brush next to the ocean there. When we arrived at Gooseberry island we saw similar clouds of birds swarming over the greenery that fills the middle of this small spit of land that juts out into Long Island Sound, near Horseneck Beach in Westport.

watchtower closeup

Watch towers from WWII era still stand overlooking Long Island Sound

We decided to walk first up the path that cuts a line through the middle of this small island (there’s a causeway out to the island, no boats required to visit). At the far end is a WWII watchtower, left from a time when German U-boats prowled the shoreline, threatening the east coast. On our way out to the far end of the island, we took a side path to the west side of the island, an area I usually miss since that shoreline is filled with many more large cobbles, difficult footing for me.


Rocks (and lots of birds–cormorants and gulls) just offshore

When we got out to the water’s edge we noticed rocks showing (it was low tide) but then realized that one of the “rocks” kept appearing and disappearing.


Our “disappearing rock” turned out to be a seal!

A seal, right off shore.


Glorious beach roses covered the island in June

On a previous visit earlier this summer the island was filled with colorful blossoms, but now, late August,


In the place of roses, colorful rose hips cover the beach rose bushes in August

the flowers have mostly passed, and instead, brightly colored rose hips covered the bushes.


King of the mountain, this young juvenile eider duck managed to climb onto this slippery rock, only to have a large wave wash over him moments later

Eider ducks often hang out in this area, but we spotted only a few this time. One eider, apparently a juvenile, struggled to climb onto a rock just off shore. He finally got up, settled in, only to have a large wave wash over him and the rock he was perched on. I guess this is how they learn.

After a two hour leisurely walk we were done, and found a spot to enjoy lobster rolls and fish sandwiches. The business there is steady this time of year, but before long, they will pull down their shutters and shut down for the season, awaiting summer’s return next year.

Once the weather gets more winterish, the gate to the causeway leading to Gooseberry Island is locked, (really rough weather can cause waves to wash over the causeway). But a parking area is just next to the causeway that allows for parking in the winter months. Access in winter is still relatively easy, and offers a quite different view of the beach than many beachgoers ever take in, for sure.

In searching for links to help readers learn more, I came across this website–amazing pictures, history of Gooseberry Island and much more. Enjoy!


beech cliffs 2018

Marjorie Turner Hollman is a writer who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionMore Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionEasy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed, and Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. Her memoir, the backstory of Easy Walks, is My Liturgy of Easy Walks: Reclaiming hope in a world turned upside down.


Filed under Blog posts--Easy Walks

3 responses to “Stormy day at Gooseberry Island, Westport

  1. This is a favorite spot in MA for me. I remember basking like a seal at Horseneck Beach every weekend, but those days are gone. Good memories!

  2. Pingback: Return to Gooseberry Island | Marjorie Turner Hollman

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