September 27, 2021 by Jean
During my recent Downeast Maine vacation, I spent a day at Roque Bluffs State Park. I had been here before – almost forty years ago, during the first years I was living in Maine and as part of one of my first solo camping vacations. At that time, Roque Bluffs was not yet a state park, but was designated as a “state beach.” It is a particular type of beach called a “barrier beach,” a strip of sand and dunes parallel to the shore that separates coastal wetlands on the back side of the dunes from the ocean. At Roque Bluffs, the beach separates a fresh water pond from the Atlantic Ocean. Barrier beaches are common along the Atlantic seaboard of the United States, but unusual this far east in Maine, where the coast is mostly rocky rather than sandy.
The first time I visited I visited Roque Bluffs, I swam in the fresh water pond and then crossed the road to the beach. It was a cool, partly cloudy day, and very few people were there. I felt like I had the beach to myself as I walked its length in both directions. I was particularly enchanted by the smooth, colorful, ocean-tossed rocks that lined the shore, and I took many photos of them. The following year, a friend who is a photography enthusiast encouraged me to get one of those photos enlarged into a poster size and framed. It still hangs on my living room wall.
On this trip, Roque Bluffs was both the same as I remembered it and different. In the transition from state beach to state park, additional land had been added and several miles of hiking trails had been created. I spent the morning hiking through old orchards and wildflower meadows to a tranquil wooded path that led to a quiet overlook.
After my hike, I enjoyed a picnic lunch by the pond and then headed across the road to walk the beach. Once again, I was enchanted by the ocean-tossed stones washed up on the beach. This time, I found myself especially drawn to those with iron-influenced colors of yellow and orange.
Roque Bluffs delighted me as much on my second visit as it did on my first.