We are ready to commence the 2022 social season at Higgins Beach. You should all have received the spring mailing with your membership form and the schedule of events for this summer. There are a number of new fun events and some traditional ones as well. However there are some important ones, particularly the By-Laws Committee report out later this summer, and the voting at the annual meeting. Be sure to attend these meetings.
June starts off with Bridge, Mah-Jongg, Book Club, members only Organizational Meeting with wine and snacks, and finally the first Wednesday Morning Doughnut Breakfast. See the Calendar page for more details. Details will be updated as conditions warrant so check the page often.
First Donut Breakfast 2022
You know summer has arrived with our first donut breakfast. A surprisingly good crowd showed up for donuts from the Cookie Jar in Cape Elizabeth. It was not 100% like past years, but more of a hybrid with indoor seating for about 50 people and outdoor picnic tables including those at the Inn. Some just chose to take their donuts and return to their cottages. Besides donuts and coffee, merchandise was setup under canopies at the back of the clubhouse. There was also a little art station for children to decorate paper bags for popcorn to be served at the concerts. The weather was perfect and and it was fun to see our neighbors again. Photos are on the Gallery page.
Thank You Higgins Beach Inn and Shade Restaurant
A big thank you to Higgins beach Inn and Shade restaurant and their staff for the wonderful BBQ on Monday June 13. This is the third time in 5 years that the Inn has hosted a BBQ for residents of Higgins Beach. Covid prevented this gathering the previous two years. The food included burgers, hot dogs, grilled chicken wings, pasta and potato salad, corn on the cob, strawberry shortcake, ice cream and cookies. Beverages included wine, beer, fruit drink and water. Music was provided by Delta Knights. It was fun to finally be socializing with our neighbors and friends like we normally did pre covid. Photos of the event are on the gallery page.
The first Wednesday donuts will be June 29. Donuts will be $3 which will include either coffee or water and each additional donut will be $3. People will have a choice to sit at tables inside, sit outside at our picnic tables or at the HB Inn picnic tables or grab and go. Obviously the inside seating could change depending on Covid conditions and any changes would be posted here
July 4th Parade
The July 4th celebration festivities will begin with a parade at 4:00 PM. The Parade theme is Celebrating Freedom in America – thanking first responders and the military.
Let your imagination run wild and participate in the parade, costumed up walking the route or on a float and/or decorating your bikes and wagons!
As a reminder, the possibilities are abundant when you think about the definition of first responder as being quite broad. It includes any person with specialized training who is among the first to arrive at the scene of an emergency and it typically incudes paramedics, fire fighters, EMT’s, nurses, doctors, and law enforcement officers. The military is also broadly defined and includes active members and veterans of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard and National Guard. Let your creativity flow and honor one of these many people.
If you are going to participate in the parade, please click here to fill out a registration form.
You should have receivied your spring mailing with the membership form and a summary of the schedule of events this summer. If you didn't receive the membership form, you can click here for a copy.
The first Doughnut Breakfast is scheduled for Wednesday June 29th. We think that this year we will be back to our normal routine of eating and socializing in the clubhouse. Due to inflation, the price has increased. See the details of the event on the calendar page.
Bridge begins Monday June 13th, and a new event, Mah Jongg begins Tuesday June 14th, both at the clubhouse.
Each month the Communication Committee puts out a Newsletter with interesting, timely and important news and information for our members. The Committee has received accolades from the membership and we can thank MaryBeth Shapiro and her Committee for keeping us informed and aware of events not only on the beach but within the Town. If you would like to submit an article on anything related to the beach or beach history, email it to us, the email address is at the bottom of the page.
Monitors Town meeting agendas of Ordinance, Long Range Planning, Council, etc. for items which may impact the general environment and character of the beach and neighborhood.
Examples of items the Higgins Beach Association Civic Committee has worked on include the 2019 property reevaluation (see August 22, 2019 and September 11, 2019 emails to membership) and the marijuana ordinance (see December 2, 2019 email to membership). Currently following fireworks and 5G licensing.
Engages with Town Departments regarding existing Town ordinances.
Generally these are the dog, parking, fireworks and surfing ordinances. These ordinances went through a lengthy public vetting process in which any individual had multiple opportunities to comment. The final ordinances were carefully crafted by the Town Council to give all stakeholders some opportunities to enjoy the beach. Careful enforcement of these ordinances protects and respects everyone’s beach experience.
Terry Cain, Chairperson
Maine Healthy Beaches
Maine Healthy Beaches - Higgins Beach
Higgins Beach is part of the Maine Healthy Beaches Program. Water is tested weekly, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, for the presence of enterococci bacteria which is an indicator of fecal contamination. Maine Healthy Beach signs are posted at all beach entrances.
Trained volunteers, including some high school students, take samples of the water at various locations along the beach. The samples are sent to a lab and if there is a high bacteria level, advisory signs and a warning flag are posted at the beach entrances. Results are also available on the Maine Healthy Beach website.
The Spurwink River is the primary source of enterococci bacteria on Higgins beach and a Contamination Advisory is posted all summer for the river. Some other sources of enterococci bacteria include bathers, waterfowl, dogs, and runoff. Enterococci bacteria can also be found in seaweed and sand as well as in the water.
There are two types of Beach Advisories:
Rainfall Advisories: These are posted at Higgins whenever there is more than an inch of rain. Higgins Beach has a history of high levels of enterococci bacteria after a significant rainfall.
Contamination Advisories: These are posted whenever the bacteria in the water exceeds an Environmental Protection Agency standard for water contact.
It is recommended that all water contact be avoided when an advisory is in place due to the possibility of illness.
Look for These Advisory Signs if conditions warrant
Posted at Beach Entrances
Click on the Healthy Beach link below for more information Healthy Beaches
This brings you to the Maine healthy beaches dashboard. Select Higgins Beach. There are three sampling sites; one at the river, one at Champion St. and one at Pearl St.
Beach Raking - Higgins Beach
What do we mean when we say “Beach Raking” Thursday mornings at 6:00AM.
There is beach raking and there is “Beach Raking”. “Beach Raking” is the raking and REMOVAL of seaweed from the beach. It is illegal to remove seaweed from the beach. It requires DEP approval to remove seaweed from any beach. The HBA has permission from the DEP to manually remove seaweed from the beach with assistance from the Town. Any person cannot legally remove seaweed from Higgins Beach.
Can I rake a clearing in the seaweed for my chairs and blankets?
If someone wanted to rake a clearing in the seaweed to place their chair or blanket, that beach raking is allowed, you just can’t remove it from the beach.
History of Beach Raking and its effect
“Beach Raking” at Higgins goes back at least to the 1930’s or 1940’s, according to some of the oldtimers. So it has been a tradition that has been kept alive to the current day. To give the summer beach raking some perspective, there are 2 tides per day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, or 730 tides. The beach raking is scheduled for 1 morning a week for about 8 weeks in the summer, and sometimes less than that if the tide is too high at the time of raking, or the weather is inclement. So for the summer months we are raking only 1 tide out of the 14 tides a week or .07% of the opportunities that a tide can deposit seaweed on the beach. There have been times when the beach is raked clean and the next tide deposits a raft of seaweed on the just raked beach. The outgoing tide can also remove the seaweed from the beach.
How much of the beach gets raked?
That depends on the number of volunteers and the amount of seaweed. Usually the area from Houghton St to Ashton St is the only area to get raked. The HBA volunteers show up at 6:00AM and rake the seaweed into piles. The Town comes around 7:00AM with their bucket loader and dump trucks. The bucket loader goes down the ramp to the beach and the Town crew must pitchfork the seaweed into the bucket loader which then dumps it into the dump truck. The use of pitchforks reduces the amount of sand that is removed. The bucket loader will not go near the water and will not go on the beach if the tide is too high.
Why was there talk of eliminating “Beach Raking”?
When we remove seaweed from the beach we are also removing sand. Higgins beach has a unique eco system. The sand on our beach does not exist anywhere else nearby. We cannot go to a quarry and get truckloads of any sand and drop it on the beach. Once the sand is gone, it’s gone. The sand on the beach cycles from the beach to the river to the ocean and back to the beach. It is constantly cycling. Some years, there is very little sand at the Houghton St. end of the beach. Rocks and ledge are exposed. By the end of summer, the sand has cycled back to that end of the beach. Sand leaves the beach in other ways too, on the bottom of chairs, shoes, feet, blankets, towels, etc. Most of that sand stays in the watershed area of the beach. But we should take care to try and remove as much sand from our chairs and shoes as possible. The sand in the removed seaweed does not come back to the beach.
To address this issue, the Board set up an ad hoc committee to explore ways to maintain the tradition of “Beach Raking” and to minimize the removal of sand contained in the seaweed leaving the beach. This will be updated when that report is submitted and approved by the Board.
"The old wreck down by the river has been a part of the scenery here at Higgins Beach so long that most folks just take it for granted. But there are some of us who can remember when it wasn't there and when it came. Way back in 1897, August 11, that was a bad, bad night-foggy! It was so thick it looked as if the space between earth and sky was stuffed with gray-white cotton.
"A bunch of "us kids" rode over to Bowery Beach on our bicycles to a square dance that evening. It was clear when we started; but when the dance was over and we set out for home, it was so foggy we were afraid of running into each other on the river coming down Meeting House Hill and across Spurwink. However, we made it without a mishap. About two o'clock my mother was awakened by loud curdling noises out towards the water, but she could see nothing. When morning came and the fog cleared, we saw a three-masted schooner stationed well inshore near the first point in the river. It was a beautiful ship-majestic-setting there as if at anchor. She didn't look at all like a wreck with a big hole in her hull.
"It was the Howard W. Middleton, strongly built of white oak and yellow pine in 1882 at Camden, New Jersey-a really noble ship. It had left Philadelphia on August 2 with 894 tons of coal for Peter Nickerson and Company in Portland. Captain Shaw was trying to make Richmond Island Harbor inside the breakwater to lay over till morning. Instead, he ran onto that rock near the mouth of the Spurwink. On our geodetic map that rock is charted simply as "obstruction" and it is only about 28 feet (8.5 m) deep there. If you stand at the foot of Champion Street at a very low tide, you may see the top of the rock beneath a breaker. You can always see a breaker there a couple of hours before and after dead low water.
"Well, there was lots of excitement! The crew came ashore and talked with the residents. Tugs from Portland Harbor plied the water for days taking off coal. She had soft coal in her lower hold and hard coal between decks. On August 12th, she was declared a total loss and was placed in the hands of the underwriters. People began to pick up coal on the beach by the buckets and barrels. Mrs. Kenney remembers that her father drove over from Westbrook with a cart and got two tons of coal for winter.
"People were eager for souvenirs, of course, and many of us remember when some big boys stole the ship's bell. But the Captain or the Sheriff made them return it to the Captain. "There she stayed on the rocks, pretty as a picture (although she was really broken in two), all the rest of August and was there when we left in September. Sometime that following winter a storm broke her up and washed her ashore where she now lies. There is a piece of it in the river, too, which can be seen at low tide. There are always changes around the old wreck. Years ago there was quite a big swimming pool around the ocean end of it with water as deep as eight feet near the boat. A twelve year old boy was drowned there one summer.
"Some years the ribs of the hull stand up head high above the beach and perhaps the next year they will be buried in the sand. For years we picked up beautiful iridescent pieces of coal showing red, green, and blue; and even now you may find a lone piece from the old Howard W. Middleton. A few people have a picture of this boat on paper weights. These pictures were taken from the beach and showed this proud, three-masted vessel in her last days of beauty.
"P.S. In talking with several people, I found that my memory did not agree with theirs. I had the date wrong and I couldn 't think of the name, but I did remember the number of tons of coal. However all the facts herein have been verified by the old newspaper records of August 11 and 12, 1897."
The Howard W. Middleton aground 1897
The Wreck Today May 2020
What to do when a Seal or Seal Pup is stranded on Shore
Call Marine Mammals of Maine
More information here
Adult Plover with 2 chicks and a third under the adult
Gallery Page - June 29, 2022
Calendar Page - June 24, 2022
Contacts Page - June 24, 2022
High Tide Page - June 16, 2022
July 4th Parade
July 10 - Ice cream Social
July 13 - Don Campbell Concert
July 24 - Ice Cream Social
July 25 - By-Law Committee Report
Juy 26 - Bocce Tournament
Higgins Beach Merchandise
Available for procurement during Wednesday Breakfast, Ice Cream Socials, and Craft Fair
Higgins Beach Sweatshirts
Pullover Hoodies (adult, youth, toddler) (red, royal, orange); Zip Front Hoodies (adult, youth) (olive, burgundy, gray); Heavy Wgt Crew Sweatshirts (adult, youth, toddler) (navyblue)
Higgins Beach Tees
Short Sleeve (adult, youth, toddler), Long Sleeve (adult, youth)
Higgins Beach Tank Shirts
Higgins Beach Onesies
Higgins Beach Hats
Higgins Beach Aprons
Higgins Beach Towel
30 x 60 inches
Higgins Beach Totes
Higgins Beach Coffee Mug, Wine Glass
Higgins Beach Water Bottles
Higgins Beach Decal
Higgins Beach Bracelets
Higgins Beach Books
Higgins Beach Cribbage Board
Contact Lynn Shryock at 207-329-3070.
Starting Monday June 13, 2021 - 1:00PM
This is Party Bridge. You do not need to bring a partner. There will probably be a variety of skill levels, but this is not a game for experts. Higgins Beach residents, renters and visitors are all welcome at any of these games, and there is no commitment and no charge.
Contact Bob Westburg 207-329-6801
Every Tuesday at the clubhouse at 10:00AM starting June 14
Tuesday July 26 in the afternoon at the clubhouse lawn
The first Higgins Beach Bocce Tournament will be held the afternoon of Tuesday, July 26 with a rain date of July 27th. We’re looking forward to this event at the clubhouse and is open to everyone. Put together a four person team or sign up individually and teams will be organized. Team costumes or outfits, hats, t-shirts, etc. are encouraged along with creative team names. Let’s get together and have a fun afternoon. Bring a cooler with beverages and snacks if you wish. The clubhouse will be open for restrooms and to sit and relax in between matches. Trophies will be awarded at the end of the day and we hope to have some food available. If you have a set of bocce balls that we could borrow, please email firstname.lastname@example.org . At the beginning of July, you can sign up by emailing Kathy Mercier and Rocky Frenzilli who are organizing the event. Sign ups will also be available at the Wed. Donut breakfasts in July. Let’s hope for great weather.
Bill Daisley Memorial Golf
August 1 - Willowdale Golf Course- 8:00AM
Shotgun start followed by lunch in the Willowdale Club House.
Volunteers would be a great help. Contact Gordon Shapiro at DaisleyMemorialGolf@gmail.com
Starts - June 17, 2022 - 10:30AM and continuing every three weeks
All are welcome to attend - RSVP
Contact MaryBeth Shapiro 214-232-3728
Clubhouse available for Member only use. Contact Sue Naiden (207-239-6421) for availability and details.
There are many activities that the HBA organizes for our members. Most of the time it is the same people doing all the work. If you would like to help at any of our activities, contact a Board member or email us.
Want to be a Board Member
Contact Lisa Jesmain 207-415-4169, Nominating Committee Chairperson. Each year three positions become open. See the By-Laws for more information and deadlines.
Higgins Beach is Pedestrian Friendly
Protect the Safety of our Beach
Obey the Speed Limit