Hadley: a place so cool it only needs one name. Everybody knows it. Everybody has stayed there. Everyone that is, except me. Why, oh why, did I wait so long to stay in Hadley Harbor? Oh yeah: because it’s too beautiful. That’s right. It’s so beautiful that you can’t find room on a nice day. Lord knows I have tried. Even in mid September, we are extremely fortunate to find an open mooring and it is the very last one.
Guess what? All the moorings are free of charge! Compliments of the Forbes family, your gazillionaire friends who live here on Naushon Island. In fact, they own the whole place, all the Elizabeth Islands except Cuttyhunk and Penikese, and they invite us boaters to come and enjoy it, including the beaches. All they ask is that you please not wander through their backyard and don’t trash the place.
This is my adaptation of a sign on shore:
“Hello happy boaters. Enjoy Hadley harbor, but please don’t go ashore on the main island because it is our home. You wouldn’t want strangers walking through your back yard would you? No of course not. Instead, have this other island, Bull Island, to explore and enjoy. Bring a picnic lunch. Bring your dog! Thank you in advance for picking up after yourselves. Have a wonderful day, your good friends, the Forbes.”
Nestled between, and protected by these three islands: Naushon, Uncateena, and Nonamesset, you’d be hard pressed to find a calmer harbor. The heat of the summer is no longer with us, yet we are comfortably warm here out of the wind and salty air. We could actually hear conversations from boaters way on the other side. My wife reminds me to keep my voice down. It is really that quiet here.
I help her take her kayak off the roof and watch as she glides effortlessly off. Three strokes and out of sight; it’s that calm. After more than an hour, she’s back with tales of her adventures as she traversed the width of Naushon. I’m so glad I’m here to witness her happiness, and of course, her life. After securing Kayanne back on the roof, she proclaims kayaking in Hadley is “very entertaining”.
We interrupt this program with some exciting news: WE GOT A NEW MOTOR FOR SALTY! Yes indeedy doo. As mentioned in our last installment, when we got home from Padanaram, we purchased a brand spankin’ new four-stroke Mercury 9.9 with an electric starter. Our aging, well-travelled Honda, who served us honorably and faithfully for many years, has found a good home on the back our next-door neighbor’s boat. And now, back to our regularly scheduled program.
We could hardly believe our eyes when we saw a ferry come through this small harbor. It’s not a car ferry so they must use a winch for the little pick-up truck on the deck. According to the last Massachusetts census, 80 people live here. That’s a lot of Forbes.
Veckatimeset, Pasque, Nashawena, Nonamesset, Uncatena, Naushon, Weepecket, Gosnold: these are names of real places in Massachusetts. Most Bay Staters have never heard these names, and thanks to the Forbes family, you probably never will. I just think it’s so cool that one family has kept these islands pristine and unchanged. I imagine they could make quite a profit if they sold them. Like billions of dollars. But no, not only do they keep them safe from developers and wealthy sheiks, geeks, and freaks, they allow the boaters to enjoy pretty much all the accessible areas like Tarpaulin Cove, Kettle Cove, West Beach, The Weepeckets, The Unnamed Bight, and of course, right here, the shining star of the Elizabeth Islands: Hadley Harbor.