Isolation Adventures: Portland Coast

In our ongoing attempt to get out into the parks for as long as they remain open, we opted for a Sunday stroll on the beaches and cliffs of the Portland coast.

Social Distance at the Beach

Our first destination is my niece and nephew’s favorite: Crescent Beach State Park. (It turned out that they had been there just a few hours before us, but it’s just as well that our paths didn’t cross, since little kids don’t understand social distancing.)

Partially sheltered by Richmond Island, the surf at Crescent Beach is typically relatively calm, with lobster pot buoys and a few lobster boats dotting the water of the cove.

We decided to do a little beachcombing down on the rocky southern section of Crescent Beach first.

Suitably warmed up, and with a collection of egg-shaped beach rocks in our pockets to paint for Easter, we headed back up to what is a rare treasure of the Maine coast: a sand beach!

There were more people there than Mom and Dad had expected (the governor says that state park attendance has doubled in the pandemic), but everyone was being very conscientious about their social distancing.

“Gotta keep that social distance!” followed by a distant wave.

“Six feet apart, doggos! Six feet apart!”

Though walking on the slightly loping sand of the beach works its own unique set of muscles, this was a nice easy stretch of the legs after straining up to the Peabody/Fitch quarry yesterday.

Two Lights State Park

For my parents, lighthouse enthusiasts and lovers of the coast, you can’t go to Crescent Beach without also visiting the cliffs of Two Lights State Park, even if the name is a misnomer and the twin lighthouses of Cape Elizabeth are neither in the park, nor even visible from it….

This isn’t the first time Mom and Dad have taken me on this, one of their favorite Maine Coast day trips — years ago we went to Two Lights together to attempt to capture the grandeur of Atlantic Winter Waves crashing against the cliffs. Now it’s nearly springtime, a bright sunny day, with much calmer seas this afternoon.

The park area was the Cape Elizabeth Military Reservation in the 1940s, a coastal defense battery to defend against the German Luftwaffe, or perhaps the U-Booten…? In any case, it never saw any action, was soon decommissioned, and eventually converted into this lovely park, with a series of secluded picnic areas, and a beautiful cliff’s-edge walk along the ocean.

Here at the end of winter, there wasn’t all that much green to be seen as there is in other seasons, but there was color and interest. My attention was particularly drawn to the bright red stems and berries of whatever was growing along the path, and that brilliant orange of the lichen on the rocks.

Altogether a beautiful afternoon stroll!

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