Westport’s Gooseberry Island, also known as Gooseberry Neck, has a fascinating history but is also the bomb for surfside strolls and watching the sunset.
Gooseberry Island is a great place to hang out during the day if you want to hike or chill out on the beach. The scenery is fantastic, with east and west facing shorelines. This allows you to enjoy a beautiful sunrise or an even more gorgeous sunset. I prefer the latter.
The Westport Historical Society says, “The construction of a stone causeway in 1924 connected Gooseberry Island to Horseneck Beach and in the 1930s, the Army constructed an Artillery Fire Control base on the peninsula as part of a coastal defense system.”
The Historical Society says, “remnants of the military occupation remain today in this conservation area, including portions of the observation towers, barracks, and supply sheds.”
After World War II, Gooseberry Island was, for a brief time, home to a campground complete with a casino. The island is now part of the Horseneck Beach State Reservation.
By the way, senior citizens are eligible for free parking at the Hoseneck Beach State Reservation.
No records indicate whether the island was occupied before European settlers arrived. The Historical Society says, “Gooseberry Island remained relatively undeveloped throughout the historical period and could have been occupied by Native American residents over the Contact Period (1500 – 1620).”
“In 1602, Englishman Bartholomew Gosnold reportedly landed at Gooseberry Neck in Westport and Round Hill in Dartmouth, where he encountered natives bearing gifts of skins of wild beasts, tobacco, sassafras root, turtles, hemp, artificial strings colored (wampum) and such like things.”
If you’ve never visited Gooseneck Island, it’s worth your time, and it’s not hard to get to.
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