When my kids were small, we would alternate vacations between the western National Parks one year and Ogunquit, ME, the following. I have many lovely memories of frolicking on the beach with them, ice cream, those peculiar red hot dogs, sandy bedtimes at my friend Jan’s cottage, and treks along the Marginal Way.
The Marginal Way was the brain-child of conservationist Josiah Chase (1840-1928). On his retirement, he moved to York, ME and bought a 20-acre strip of land extending from Perkins Cove to Israel Head. In 1925, he ceded the land for the Marginal Way to the town. Since then, other landowners have donated parcels that extended the Way.
In Scotland, I had the luxury of rambling where I wanted without worrying about trespassing. That was also the case in much of Australia. But in the United States we are often blocked from access to these places because our notion of property rights is different.
The men and women like Josiah Chase who gave land into the public trust during the last century were great visionaries. They recognized that the coast would eventually be built up. The common man would need access to it. But the process of preservation is on-going. The same properties need maintenance, particularly where they get heavy use by the public.
I think of the Marginal Way as perfectly groomed, but it has taken some beatings over the years. Fierce storms in 1991 and 2007 destroyed large sections. In 2010, a group of concerned citizens formed an endowment fund to protect and preserve the coastal path. This is the Marginal Way Preservation Fund.
The Marginal Way has two focal points: the ocean breaking against its great granite bowl, and the lovely homes and gardens behind it. I have the same curiosity you do about these gardens, and I’m finally able to satisfy it.
This weekend I will be joining Mary Byrom, Frank Costantino and other invited artists at By the Sea, By the Sea, a plein air paint-out and private garden tour. We start painting on Saturday at noon. The reception and sale will be Sunday, August 28, under a tent at the Beachmere Inn. Click here for more information.