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Hanging Onto a Piece of the American Dream

I will never forget the first hike to that spot, which I made by myelf when I was 14. I was returning to camp, with almost two miles of empty beach stretching out before me, when I was suddenly attacked by a pair of lesser terns, who decided I was too close to their nest. They divebombed me again and again, drawing blood with their rock hard beaks. I was wearing only my bathing suit and had nothing with me but a Kodak pocket camera. Bloody scenes from Alfred Hitchcock's movie "The Birds" flashed before me and I panicked. I must have been a hilarious sight, though luckily no one was there to see me, running, screaming, and twirling my camera over my head like a propeller to ward off the terns. Despite the terrfying attack from above, Ive made that trek a yearly tradition. This year my husband and children came along with me, and though we made our walk during midday, we only saw seven people. And no wrong terns.

Not only is the beach empty on weekdays, but so too is the bay. There is so little motorized traffic on the water you might think there was a law forbidding it..

"The beach was more occupied when I was a boy," my Uncle Jim recalls. "A number of families spent their entire summers on the bay, not just the weekends." That was back in the day when local potato farmers could afford to own a camp on the bay. When a single teacher from New Jersey, widowed by tuberculosis, could afford to buy a camp here That woman was Jim's Aunt Sarah, and he and his two sisters spent there entire summers with her in her cabin. Next door thre was even more family--and luckily or Jim that included seveal male cousinsspent their summers along with their half a dozen children.

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