A Down East Beach Draws National Attention
A lovely Maine beach draws some surprising national attention.
Every couple of years someplace in Maine makes it onto a national list of some sort — best small town for left-handed people, best island that only exists on a full-moon tide. Often it seems these lists are compiled by people who have never actually visited the sites personally, and most Mainers can usually rattle off a half-dozen places they would rank higher.
Which is why we were surprised this spring when the Travel Channel’s “Dr. Beach,” a.k.a. Stephen Leatherman, picked practically microscopic Jasper Beach as the “Best Wilderness Beach in America.” Now don’t get us wrong, the pebbly strand in Machiasport, named for its gemlike stones, is a true jewel of a place that every beach-lover should visit. But wilderness? Jasper Beach is just a fifteen-minute drive from the McDonald’s in Machias. (Of course, some people consider all of Maine wilderness, but what are you going to do?) Surely, we thought, Dr. Beach hadn’t actually visited Jasper Beach, but had instead been cajoled into listing the tiny strand by a diehard resident of the Sunrise Coast.
Not so, Leatherman declares. “I used to live in Amherst, Massachusetts, and I went up to Maine a number of times,” he says from his office in sunny Florida. “It’s just a pebble beach, but you usually see eagles there, and it’s just really quiet and nice.” Leatherman says he never rates a beach unless he’s visited it himself, and
admits that Jasper had a tough time beating out some other Maine strands. “I’ve been to every beach in the United States, and Popham is one of my favorites.”
We won’t dispute Dr. Beach’s judgment there. And any kudos that draws tourists to Washington County is aces in our book.