Walking along the cliffs above the Ellisville Harbor salt marsh, I startled a large Blue Heron into flight and then fumbled with my camera trying to get a photo of it. It was a majestic bird with a wide wingspan and I’m pretty sure that I was grinning while I watched it soar effortlessly across the marsh and out toward the barrier beach that separated the salt marsh from Cape Cod Bay.
The journey through the park begins in the parking lot, which holds about 25 cars. On a busy day, like when the seals are present in large numbers, and people have Twittered about it, cars can be seen parked all along the dirt road that leads into the park. I have even seen a police officer on duty on days like this.
Below the parking area you can walk down into the sphagnum bog and salt marsh where many ducks and geese spend the winter. This is also where the Blue Heron was first spotted on my trip.
From the top of the parking area, heading north, you can walk a mile long trail through the woods that leads to cliffs above a coastal beach.
Seals are frequently seen just offshore in winter. There were two out on the rocks while I was there. On rare occasions, whales can be seen very far out if you have binoculars.
There are numerous walking trails, open meadows, thick forest, rocky beaches and cliffs that provide many scenic views of Cape Cod Bay.
In the meadows there are statuesque evergreen trees, very old oaks and rhododendrons. There are small wooden birdhouses nailed to some of the trees and I found that the entire area was alive with the sound of wild birds. This park is a popular destination for bird watchers and naturalists to meet up for group walks and other outdoor activities.
Ellisville Harbor State Park is 100 acres of protected natural resources that have been designated as an area of critical environmental concern and is considered to be a significant resource area in Massachusetts. It is located midway between Plymouth center and the Sagamore Bridge in Massachusetts.
In 1991 the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Management purchased the land to create a new state park.
The park includes two sites discovered as part of an archaeological survey done by Boston University, where materials have been dated back to 6,000 years old. According to the Massachusetts department of Conservation and Recreation, between 2,500 and 5,000 years ago, prehistoric Native Americans hunted, fished, harvested shellfish and made tools here.
The park was also part of the 17th-century farmstead owned by the Harlow family.
It feels fairly unspoiled and natural as you walk through and wildlife abounds in each of the different land types available here. It is a unique habitat in that it is just a few miles drive from a residential area, but you will feel many miles away from town while you are here.
From Boston, take Rte 3 south to exit 2, turn right to Rte 3A north. The park is about 2 miles down on your right. I prefer to just put 14 Manomet Point road, Bourne Ma, 02360 into my GPS and when it says “you have arrived” just keep going straight for 2 miles until you see the park’s sign on your right. The park is not actually in the town of Bourne, but most GPs maps will identify it that way.
Bring a camera and pair of binoculars. Wearing ankle high hiking boots or sneakers will help reduce the tick risk. If it is warm weather, bring bug spray as this is a wetlands region.
There are no restroom facilities here so pass on that large beverage on the ride down, and stop at a rest area on the highway, or one of the many local Dunkin Donuts before arriving at the park. The GPS address listed above will get you to a shopping plaza within 2 miles of the park that has a Dunkin Donuts with a public restroom.
Ellisville Harbor State Park in Winter