When a friend asks on short notice if you are free to go to the beach the next day, and the day happens to be totally free, you say, “Yes!” That’s how we ended up headed down the highway toward Fairhaven, MA, next to New Bedford. A less well-known town, Fairhaven has some lovely buildings and an interesting history. But our goal was West Island, reached by driving over a causeway, and still technically part of the town of Fairhaven.
We were going to rake leaves up at my friends’ yard summer cottage. After that, it was a short trip down the street to the trail access on DCR property on Fir Street
that offered a wide path directly to a quiet beach front area on the east side of West Island.
The leaves have mostly fallen,
so the sound of shushing leaves followed us the whole way to the shore.
Once there, we had the beach to ourselves, since wetlands offer a barrier between this shoreline and the public beach area just a ways south of where we were.
The breeze was brisk, but the sun warmed us as we walked along the shoreline. Too soon, we needed to head for home, but I look forward to returning to this quiet spot on another visit.
As we left the island, we made the time to check out a few cool buildings in downtown Fairhaven, and then made one last stop at the Hurricane barrier between New Bedford and Fairhaven. Access to this man-made feature is a paved path, which offers an easy walk out to where ships come and go at New Bedford’s harbor.
Additional easy walking is also available adjacent to the hurricane barrier at Ft. Phoenix.
Not actually handicapped accessible, the pavement allows for travel for many who might otherwise have a difficult time spending time next to the shore. Again, too little time, but a reminder to come back another day to spend more time at this intriguing area along the shore.
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a personal historian who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, More Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, and editor of Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed. Just out is her latest book, Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are.
She has been a freelance writer for numerous local, regional, and national publications for the past 20+ years, has helped numerous families to save their stories, and has recorded multiple veterans oral histories, now housed at the Library of Congress.