Plum Island is a barrier island located just off the coast of northern Massachusetts, and it is just as beautiful, albeit colder, during the winter as during the summer. Take a drive out along the island during the winter months, setting aside a full day to see the island and stopping for a coffee or lunch in neighboring Newburyport.
We thought the island may have been named Plum Island by some happy-go-lucky (and perhaps hungry) settler to keep things fun. We wondered if their was a neighboring blackberry or peach island. It turns out that the island was actually named for the wild beach plums that grow along the sand dunes on the island during the summer. Now that makes me wish even more that their was a nearby blackberry island; one where you could pick a basket full of blackberries to snack on, on your way down to the beach.
The island is eleven miles long and has a number of extra wide shoulders to pull over on the side of the road so that you can take in the views. There are also several beaches and small parking lots along the way to the end of the island. Each one has a wooden elevated walkway out to the beach.
If you haven’t been to the beach in the winter, it is a must. The sand and the water are completely transformed from the summer beachgoer scene to one that is harsh yet full of strength and the subtlety of life, decorated in cool storm washed colors to match.
It will be quite cold along the water, and chances are the wind will feel fierce. So bring hats and gloves and whatever it takes to stay warm. Even a blanket to wrap yourself up in as you walk along the beach would not be out of place. Keep an eye out for a small wooden tower towards the end of the island, which you can climb for an elevated view of the beach and the marshes.
Enjoy and embrace the cold… even if it means scuttling back to the car, blasting the heat, and downing that hot chocolate!
What: Plum Island, a barrier island
Where: Off the northern coast of Massachusetts
When to Go: For a change of pace check it out during the winter months
What else to know:
- Combine it with a stop in Newburyport for a coffee or lunch.
- Keep an eye out for the tower towards the end of the island for the view.
- Also to see are red Winterberries (and beach plums during the summer).
- There is a small entry fee to the park (approximately $5).
- Bring extra hats and gloves or even a blanket to stay warm.