Stover’s Point Preserve: A Beach and So Much More

By Ed Robinson

When is a beach more than a beach? When it is wrapped around a salt marsh with wildlife always in view. That description suits 4 acre Stover’s Point Preserve, on a small peninsula jutting into Harpswell Sound. Visit this lovely spot any time of year, at any time of day and you cannot fail to enjoy the sights and sounds around you.

Stover’s Point is shaped like a boomerang, with a mix of sandy beach, gravel roadway and broken ledge. Designated as a Coastal Barrier Zone, the point shelters a small tidal marsh, making this a pleasant spot where you can catch the sun on your beach chair while bird (or people) watching. You may count on seeing gulls cruising overhead and the occasional harbor seal, but many waterfowl and song bird species will be spotted at various times of the year. The edges of the marsh make a good place for children to observe marine life.

I have stopped by Stover’s Point on a sharp, clear winter day and had the place to myself. Absent the wind, it is a lovely place, with views across the Sound to Orr’s and Bailey Islands, and the graceful arch of Cribstone Bridge. Last weekend was a different scene, with numerous families enjoying the beach, and a sailboat race taking place in the protected cove. As we all know, these public beaches are a vital resource in our beautiful town.

The property was originally deeded to the Nature Conservancy in 1970 by the Huston family. In 1971, ownership was transferred to the Harpswell Garden Club and finally to the Harpswell Heritage Land Trust in 2000. HHLT is responsible for protecting the property forever, thanks to the support of its members and the community, and continued public access is assured.

Take Route 123 about 1/3 mile south of the West Harpswell School. Turn left onto Stover’s Point Road, turn right at the first fork in the road, drive down the hill to a T junction, and turn left. Public access is down a sand and gravel road but drive carefully to avoid damaging your vehicle on some granite ledge outcroppings. You may park along the road and on gravel areas but please do not damage the beach or marsh areas. Fires and camping are not allowed anywhere on the property.

If you are looking for a place to feel the sand in your toes, or to sit quietly with a good book, try Stover’s Point. Even a few minutes here will remind you of the transcendent beauty of our community, and you will return home refreshed.

August 2013