West Island Adventure–Fairhaven, MA


Quiet beach area on West Island

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


Save West Island campaign resulted in waterfront acreage being protected form development and preserved for all to enjoy

that offered a wide path directly to a quiet beach front area on the east side of West Island.


Infrastructure was all laid out to develop this beautiful area, until concerned folks raised the money to buy and protect the land forever

The leaves have mostly fallen,


Bernadette offered great company, and lots of foot shuffling through leaves as the delightful accompaniment on our walk

so the sound of shushing leaves followed us the whole way to the shore.


Rocks, sand, and ocean, with civilization in the distance

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.


Headed out to the Hurricane barrier at New Bedford’s harbor,an easy walk along the shoreline

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.


Easy walking paths along the shoreline at Ft. Phoenix in Fairhaven along the shore

Additional easy walking is also available adjacent to the hurricane barrier at Ft. Phoenix.


HIstory on the shoreline

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.


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.

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