Sunday, August 16, 2009

Mount Misery Cove

Years ago I used to keep a list of place-names along the coast that sounded very downbeat; Cape Disappointment, Dismal Swamp, Desolation Sound, etc. Those names intrigued me and I often wondered what the history was behind them. They also most likely created a public relations problem for the local chamber of commerce. I seem to recall a more juvenile list I kept as well, that included places like Intercourse PA, Maggies Nipples WY, and Hooker OK (those ought to bring some interesting Google hits). One local name I had on that first list was Mount Misery Cove, just east of Port Jefferson.
Mount Misery Cove and the surrounding land is referred to on some maps as McAllister County Park, although I have never heard anyone use that name. It is also called Pirates Cove occasionally.This seems to be a recent phenomenon that I have only become aware of in the past few years. The whole fascination with pirates and buried treasure really bores me. There were never any pirates in Mt Misery Cove; the cove was created in the 20th century by companies that excavated the sand at the base of the bluffs.
We recently dropped anchor in Mount Misery Cove on a late afternoon under overcast skies, with some lightning flashes on the western horizon. The thunderstorms never reached us, but the next morning brought easterly 20 knot winds. Strong winds out of the east often create the roughest conditions on Long Island Sound. Waves roll in from the open ocean and fail to diminish as they make their way down the Sound. There is a lot of open water in an east-west direction. The surrounding bluffs fortunately protected the cove from the full force of the winds. It was a comfortable anchorage.
I rowed ashore around 8 AM and walked much of the park's northern portion. A light rain combined with the high winds was much more apparent along this exposed strip of land. I made my way along the ridge of the bluffs which provided a fantastic view despite the foggy skies. West of me was the Port Jefferson Ferry passing the breakwaters of the harbor. To the north and east was the Sound which looked like the North Atlantic with waves crashing on the beach below. I could hear the roar of the surf, a rare feature for these waters in August. South of me was the anchorage, all quite and calm. No pirates, no misery.
Wikipedia: Belle Terre


Jeannette StG said...

Mount Misery Cove is beautiful!it reminds me on the cove by Laguna Beach in CA (I don't know if it has a name). Glad for you that there were no pirates (in my eyes they are just criminals).

The Hunter's Wife said...

Looks like a beautiful place. And I've never heard of those other cities. Kind of funny!

Anonymous said...

I think they get these names to keep strangers out of wonderful places.

Chance said...

I grew up directly accross the harbor form The Cove in Poquott. Thats all we called it back then. There were a few old sand scows beached there as well as the remains of one of the older ferries. As I recall Mt. Misery got its name after survivors of a wreck on the sound side climbed up the sand and when they got to the top they were said to say "Oh what a mountain of misery!"
I am slowly adding old photos of Port Jeff Harbor to my facebook site.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the insight Chance.
It is a great place.
I am going to check your photos on Facebook.