Guest Author - Lynn Newcomb Gaziano
The Sandwich Boardwalk is 1000 feet of personalized planks laid down across Mill Creek and the Old Harbor Marsh in Sandwich Massachusetts. It is a lovely walk from March to November here on Cape Cod. The boardwalk starts in a small public parking lot on Jarves street which is very near the center of town. From there you can walk the boardwalk all the way to a lookout deck over Town Neck Beach which offers panoramic views of Cape Cod Bay and a glimpse of the east side of the Cape Cod Canal.
The marsh is full of fish, fowl and various invertebrates that live in the shallow, reed encased saltwater creeks and children always enjoy visiting here. There is so much to explore. During the summer months, children and parents alike jump from the highest section of the bridge into the water at high tide, so be mindful of them if you are kayaking or canoeing through this area of the marsh.
In 1991 the boardwalk was nearly destroyed during Hurricane Bob and supporters, many of them residents, raised money to repair it by selling personalized planks and volunteering to install them. I love to wander along reading all of the names and messages on the boards. Some are the names of whole families, others are dedicated to a favorite pet and some of them have uplifting messages like ď laugh oftenĒ. You need to keep your bearings while gawking at the planks though, as there are no side rails on the bridge.
Mill Creek is a wonderful place to kayak or canoe, especially when itís hot in the summer. Many people also fish here and saltwater gear is best even though it looks like a fresh water river. Itís a lovely ride through meandering marshlands full of heron, egrets, cranes and other interesting birds and wildlife. If you put in at the boardwalk parking lot beach at high or incoming tide, youíll have an easy paddle all the way to the Daniel Webster Inn in Sandwich, and if you time it to come back on the outgoing tide you will have an easy paddle back out again.
It is possible to get a little lost among all of the different branches of the marsh but even my first time there, after a couple of tries, it was fairly easy to get into the main branch of the creek and stay in it. A little easier still if you can follow other boaters who are nearby.
If it is near dusk then bring bug spray as it is a wetlands area.
There are no restroom facilities at the boardwalk unless you cross to a second parking lot on the beach side of the bridge. This second lot has porta-potties and can be reached by walking from the boardwalk or driving from Town Neck Road to Wood Avenue but it is restricted to residents with a sticker in the summer season.
Take a walk, sit on the beach, jump off the bridge for a swim, or kayak through the meandering marshlands of Sandwich. Itís all here and there is something for everyone.