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 Salisbury Beach Ocean & River Trail - 3/26/16 
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Hiking Forums Are My Crack
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Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:37 pm
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Location: Exeter, NH
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 Salisbury Beach Ocean & River Trail - 3/26/16
Nothing special, but another of the little trips in AMC Nature Walks Along the Coast guide book. Trip #13 to be exact and they call it the Ocean and River Trail so I will too, even though thee really is no trail at all.

My wife wanted us all out of the house the day before Easter so she could do whatever it is she needed to do, so I took the girls and we headed down to the beach. Salisbury Beach is first rate, and in season there is a fee to use the beaches, as well as a huge campground with way too many sites on top of each other for my liking, but, if you want to camp at a beach on the ocean I guess your options are somewhat limited. It also has a great playground, and then the little walk in between visits to the playground worked out nicely. After a lengthy visit to said playground we headed across the dunes on the boardwalk before making a mile long stroll of the sandy beaches, one on the ocean and after you turn the corner you are actually following the banks of the mighty Merrimack River for a mile or so. Nice view along the coast, across to Plum Island and up the river. Plenty of birds flying about and enough seashells to keep the kids busy for a while.

Boardwalks cross the fragile dunes, home to protected bird species as well as lots of sand and grass
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High tide and rough surf mean no walking on the jette for us today
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But we did walk on the beach
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The sea... err, riverwall holding back the Merrimack River
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Plum Island across the river, home to the Parker National Wildlife Refuge
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The Black Rock Beacon, aka Ben Butler's Toothpick
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Nice spot to bird watch or fish I guess
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Since the tide was coming in the beaches were getting smaller, and by the time we made it to the Black Rock Beacon, better known as Ben Butler's Toothpick, it was impossible to go back the way we came, so we cut through the empty campground for about half a mile. This thing is huge, maybe 300 sites, all of which are mere feet from one another with nothing in between them but a few random pine trees. Quite frankly it looks like it would be a horrible place to camp unless you are a real people person. I don't dislike people myself (that may be a lie) but I have no desire to be camping right on top of total strangers and within earshot of hundreds of voices, people snoring, cars coming and going, kids screaming etc when I'm trying to relax. Not for me thanks! If I want to camp near the ocean it's off to Acadia for me! :D Anyhow after crossing the campground we used the playground again before heading home. Everyone had a great afternoon here even in the off season. As usual with these places it's not really a destination, but if you're in the area...

Butler's Toothpick was our exit point from the beaches
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Didn't see any piping plovers hiding in the grass today
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This just looks like, well, not fun
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This however was plenty of fun to start and end the afternoon
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Mon Mar 28, 2016 8:45 pm
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Sovereign Woodsman

Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2012 2:40 pm
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 Re: Salisbury Beach Ocean & River Trail - 3/26/16
I've taken my granddaughters there several times. Everyone loves it. I never knew they called that thing Ben Butler's Toothpick. Years ago, my great aunt had a cottage at Salisbury. My mother and one of my aunts took the bunch of us to the jetty and couldn't find their way back (even though Salisbury at the time had like three street :oops: ). Thank God we didn't take after them or we'd be in real trouble every time we go into the woods!

All kidding aside, another nice seaside place is Hermit Island (not that I know this from personal experience - my supervisor went there every year). But it's really hard to get a reservation there.

Who WAS Ben Butler?


Mon Mar 28, 2016 9:16 pm
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Hiking Forums Are My Crack
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Joined: Wed Apr 14, 2010 8:37 pm
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 Re: Salisbury Beach Ocean & River Trail - 3/26/16
Beckie and Prema wrote:
Who WAS Ben Butler?


This guy... https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Butler_(politician)

Apparently he really liked sailing around Newburyport and pushed hard to have this thing built.


Mon Mar 28, 2016 9:47 pm
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