To view pictures of Popham Beach, Maine, click on:
Many newspapers now take their feature articles from the news wire services. Even small local newspapers are turning to these news services rather than having freelancers---who are familiar with the nuances of their communities---write their feature stories. For example, when I first contacted the newspaper I’d freelanced for about writing a travel article on the Moxie festival in Maine, they told me to submit the article for review. By the time I completed the article, they had started using the wire services for this genre.
The Buffalo (N. Y.) news is no different. While visiting Buffalo, I was pleased to see their headline MAINE ATTRACTIONS. To my disappointment, it was a wire service article.
New England is where I was born and raised until age 11 (when my family moved to Buffalo), where most of my family genealogy research is done, and the location of the historic romance novel I now focus my writing on.
I discovered Popham Beach during a 2003 “coastwalk,” a hike of mainland all the accessible beaches between Lamoine Beach (on Frenchman Bay) and Wallis Sands Beach in New Hampshire. It immediately became tied with the aforementioned coast site as my favorite beach.
In my opinion, the article understates the attraction of this site. It mentions the wild air currents for kite-flying, the flocks of piping plovers and the surf that “always seems a little warmer, and a little calmer” than that of other Maine beaches.
It doesn’t mention what I feel is the main attraction of the beach: its multiple terrains resulting from the tidal changes.
At one end of Popham is Fort Popham, located on an estuary where the water surface is calm, but the water’s edge is such that if you step into the salt water it is quickly over your head: the steep entrance is similar to the slant of a coffee cup. Walking on, a person comes to a section of rough surf, great for those who love to body-surf the incoming waves. The white suds-like crashing waves demonstrate the power of the ocean, even though they are not sumani strength.
The picture shown in the paper is the next area, calm with gentle waves that lap at the sand. There is a huge rock jutting out of the high-tide waters. It is the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. As the tide ebbs, beach-goers stand and wait for the opening sand “dune” that bares what was underwater during high tide. The sand dune provides a path to the rock. People, anxious to get there, wade through rivers of water to be first to climb it to obtain an indescribable view of the ocean. There is the kite-flying spot, for those daring enough to race across the top of this mini-mountain. The sand dune is abutted by shallow waters, where waders can walk out 50 or so feet before the water is over their knees.
Walking on, the surf becomes slightly rougher, but less rough than that on the northern side of the beach. This spot is better for children adjusting to incoming waves than the previous rough surf.
Walkers wanting to hike the entire beach should do so at low tide. The far southern end of the beach has a “river” (stream) that in high tide becomes a deep and wide estuary that cannot be crossed on foot. When I walked the beach, I crossed just as the tide was coming in but before the basin was filled with water.This variation in terrain makes Popham Beach a most attractive walking tour, unlike any other beach I traversed on my “coastwalk.” And THIS is the picture missing in the newswire article that shows only the part of the beach with the “calm surf!”