Thursday, August 19, 2010

Plum Island

The Parker River National Wildlife Refuge on Plum Island is absolutely one of my very favorite places.

When I was a little kid, the closest thing we had to a family vacation was a weekend at Plum Island with Aunt Becky and Uncle Bill.  I remember that it was usually cold when we went, but it was the beach -- the ocean!  I loved it.  I was quite small those summers we went on these "vacations," but I remember two things very well.

Back in those days I loved butter a lot (um, can you tell?), and one day when we were dining in an almost-deserted restaurant and all of the adults were distracted by the joy of being on vacation or their food or something, I started grabbing butter packets off the tables and eating them.  As I recall, my brother David was assisting me in my butter challenge... I don't know how many I put down before I got caught, but it was quite a few and those golden rectangles of joy were so wonderfully delectable that I still remember the occasion to this day.  (This may have also been the first time I ever even dined in a restaurant and had the pleasure of meeting these single servings of butter.  Possibly the novelty of it all contributed to my need to over-do it.)

The other thing I remember vividly... At low tide the water at Plum Island gets deep very gradually.  This one time my dad carried me way out into the ocean, walking with my Uncle Bill, until they were waist deep in water.  To a little person like me, it felt like we were in the middle of the sea.  Suddenly we were surrounded by a huge school of fish.  It startled me at first -- I felt them rubbing on my legs -- but then I was just amazed at how many fish there were.  The fish were packed in tight, swarming all around us.  I had never even imagined so many!  My adult mind really can't remember how long it lasted, or how big the fish were, but just as suddenly as the fish arrived, they disappeared.  I'm curious whether Bill remembers that time as well as I do; I know my father does.

Anyway... whoa I'm really digressing here... if you're in the area and you haven't been to the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge this year, you need to go.  The only disadvantage to this wonderful spot is also its greatest advantage: the parking is very limited.  That means you might occasionally arrive to find the parking lots full, or you might not get to park out at the "point" of the six-mile long reservation (the best spot in my opinion), but it also means that when you do get a spot, you will get to enjoy a beach that is untouched by commercialism and uncrowded by pesky beachgoers.  It costs $5 to park, and if you're told that the lots are full take a chance on it anyway -- cars are leaving all the time.  The drive through the reserve alone is worth the money and the trip if you ask me, and you can always climb up one of the observation towers to get a good look at the salt marsh if you absolutely can't find a place to park in a beach lot.  If you like your beaches unspoiled, you can't beat Plum Island.

We've gone twice so far this summer, most recently last week when my mother was out visiting.

The ocean around here is a little cold for Bobby at this point in his life, but when the tide goes out it creates little pools that are perfect for him.

(The footprints photo was a bit of a failed attempt -- Bob wouldn't keep his feet still.)

(That's my foxy mom.)

Here's a little-known fact for you: snails are awesome.  Here I am finding a big one in the sand.

At low tide you can find tons of snails.  They fill themselves up with sand...

...and they spit it back out when you pick them up.

They glide around under the water, on top of the sand, like little magic carpets.

(Thanks to Ben for all those great photos above.)

Bob loves Grandmother...

... but now he wants mama back.

The sunsets over the salt marshes are quite lovely, too.

Here are a few pictures from our day at Plum Island with Cass and Kara back in June:

This time it was super hot and windy, and it was a little much for Bob.  Kara dug him this hole to sit in; it was cooler and less windy in there and Bob liked it quite a bit.

He pretended the sand was fun-dip and his pacifier was the candy stick.  It was gross.


  1. Family vaca-s give the best memories! Bob's gonna have some good ones! As usual, your pictures rock. And, you have one flat tummy! Way to rock it. 'Nough said.

  2. Thanks, B! (But I'd be lying if I said I didn't have some much less flattering photos of my stretchy tummy!)


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