Finding Solitude at Ferry Beach, Scarborough


[I’m hopeful and looking forward to what summer might bring since spring has nearly leveled us – unprecedented times. As I looked through potential posts, this one struck me. It says so much about me and how I’m coping with sheltering-in-place (as an introvert, I’m ok) but it also shows the beauty & calm in simplicity and solitude....especially in the state of Maine.]

“Who’s got it better?” he said, smiling, as he walked by me. “Front row seat!”

I gave him a thumb’s up.

Yup, I know what I like and I know where to find it.

I have a treasured memory of one of my favorite days. I was in my 20’s, so it was many moons ago. My-then-boyfriend-now-husband was deep sea fishing, like he is today. It was the day of the Old Port Festival, I recall, which may be why I was the sole sun-bather on Ferry Beach in Scarborough.

For me, that was like winning the lotto! I had never been the only person on a beach before, the only person for miles around. I absolutely reveled in the solitude and quiet except for the gentle waves of the cove lapping rhythmically against the shoreline.

Frank doesn’t like Ferry Beach much. He’s a legacy devotee of Scarborough Beach just around the point of Prouts Neck. Because of the south-facing direction of Ferry Beach, Frank says he has to sit or lay “upside down.” He still feels compelled to sunbathe absolutely facing it head on – no back-to or sideways chairs or beach blankets. So, at Ferry, that means that sometimes you’re turned toward the sun, and your chair is leaning upward on the sand or sideways. Ferry has some altitude, more so than flat Scarborough Beach. The tides in the cove come in fast and completely change the topography of the beach at Ferry. This means he sometimes feels “tipped” in his chair…sideways.

That doesn’t concern me in the least. I love the beauty of Ferry – so much quieter than what Scarborough Beach has become. Locals and lots of sweet, young families with adorable kiddos wearing arm floaties in the early morning drop their wagon loads of gear just off the path from the parking lot. I remember when, with littles, we couldn’t walk too far down the shore and needed to stay closer to the entrance for tiny little legs.

But not anymore!

Today, I re-created that treasured day from so many years ago.

I wasn’t the only one on the beach this time, but I walked far enough that I was the last person and looked ahead to no one. It felt like I was all alone.

A heat wave was predicted, but as I neared Prouts Neck, the temperature on my car’s dashboard dropped by ten degrees. When I arrived at 9:30, taking almost the last spot in the lot for $15, it was low tide. I love low tide at beaches when the sand goes on forever and beach goers aren’t all crammed into one another. Instead, we can spread out, take long walks, look for pretty shells.

At Ferry Beach at low tide, there are sandbars everywhere. In the Scarborough River channel, people walked half way across in knee-deep pools to the white sand islands. I dragged my chair into the crystal-clear water, facing the Blackpoint Inn, the white Adirondack chairs gracing their green front lawn, gorgeous Prouts Neck homes, and lots of blue and white hydrangeas.

People were kayaking to a jetty jutting out from Pine Point Beach across the inlet. I could see the myriad white boats moored off the Prouts Neck Yacht Club. A couple boaters pulled ashore at Ferry to spread blankets, catch some rays, eat a picnic lunch, and throw a football around in the waves.

It’s quiet at this end of Ferry. I love this beach due to its natural beauty – long dune grasses bordering the golf course, a gray cliff below the point of Prouts Neck.

My picnic lunch was a turkey sandwich on pumpernickel, Poland Spring water and home-made iced coffee. Reading Maine Home & Design and Williams Sonoma’s French catalogue gave me a chance to dream. Spending such a glorious day alone in this setting, I was able to think, write, meditate, imagine. I was able to rebuild myself; summer busy-ness can take a toll, but days like this replenish. Pure heaven. Gratitude flows easily in a spot like this on the Maine coast.

Being deliberate and intentional, I am so grateful to live where I do, be at this age, and focus on all that is good in life during this unprecedented time....and at all times.