Minot Crossing (Minot Beach Through Cohasset Harbor)

Details: The best place to launch your kayak or other small boat would be right from Minot Beach. Parking in the big public parking lot located at the far end of Minot beach would provide you with easy access to a couple entrances to the beach. You then have to walk your boats to the beach and start by going North around the big rock. From there follow the coastline around the tip of the Glades and into Cohasset Harbor where you follow small streams and marshland back to the parking lot at Minot Beach.

Length of Route (detailed map): about 2 hours and 20 minutes; 4.5 miles (7.24 km)

Difficulty: Medium- This route is a little more challenging that the First Cliff Loop. The Glades is known for its rocky coast with many of the rocks lying just beneath the surface of the water. On a breezy day there could be some swells that angle your boat towards the rocks, but if you stay a safe distance from the rocks you will have an easy paddle around the point. The paddle through Cohasset Harbor and the marshy streams will be easy even for beginner kayakers.

Hazards: Boat traffic, Natural Elements, and Recreational Activity

  1. Boat traffic- Usually the area around Minot Beach isn’t very busy with boats, but occasionally there are people boating recreationally. Staying close to the shore until you are closer to the point of the Glades will keep you safely away from these powerboats. Sometimes there are also commercial fishing boats around the rocks collecting their lobster pots or fishing, so just beware of any buoys that signify the location of a lobster pot and any boats going in and out of the rocks. There will be more boat traffic- including larger power boats, sailboats, and bigger commercial fishing boats- once you round the point of the Glades and enter into Cohasset Harbor. Paddle close to the shore in shallower waters to avoid traffic. If you need to paddle in the channel going into the Harbor, follow the rules of navigation and remain between the channel markers- green cans and red “nuns”- with the red “nuns” on your right. Once in Cohasset Harbor, move out of the channel and just paddle through the boats. The streams and marshlands can only be accessed by small paddle boats, so there is no boat traffic to be aware of once in the marshes.

  2. Tides, Wind, Waves, and Rocks- A very important factor to consider before you paddle this route would be the tide. The marshlands that you have to paddle through to get back to the Minot Beach parking lot are only accessible when the tide is at least mid-tide (about three hours from low or high tide). A higher tide will also be helpful when you enter Cohasset Harbor because there is a large sandbar just outside Cohasset Harbor during low tides. A higher tide will provide you with more water to paddle in and an easier way to avoid any boat traffic. Be aware of the wind and weather conditions before you start this route. High winds, fog, or rain could make this route very dangerous especially around the Glades. High winds can also increase the amount and size of the waves that crash on the Glades. If the swells are big, keep a safe distance from the rocky shore or at least angle your kayak away from the shore to avoid being swept closer to the rocks.

Nature: This route provides a look at many different ecosystems. While paddling along the rocky coastline of the Glades, you might see Laughing Gulls, Black-Backed Gulls, Herring Gulls, and Cormorants flying and dipping into the water. During the winter, especially around the month of February, Harbor Seals use the rocky coastline as a location to mate and rest. Once through Cohasset Harbor and in the marshy streams leading back to Minot, you will be paddling in the habitat of various creatures natural to salt-marsh ecosystems including gulls, Egrets, Cormorants, Diamond Terrapin, and Blue Crabs.   

History: The Glades, also known throughout history by Scituate residents as Strawberry Point, was home to a hotel in the 19th century. However, by 1846 The Hotel at The Glades went out of business due to the lack of customers travelling to this isolated point in Scituate. The hotel became a popular gambling establishment until the Civil War. After the Civil War, the Adams family bought the property and turned the deserted hotel into a summer beach club and residency for not only their extensive family but also many other well-known Massachusetts families including the Ameses, the Loverings, the Hunnewells, the Sharps, the Codmans, and the Saltonstalls. For years, these historic families took refuge at the Glades during the summer months and welcomed any other visitors to what they established as The Glades Club. However, during World War II, the Army and Navy took over part of The Glades Club property and constructed Navy Barracks, which still remain part of the Glades property.

Right off the Glades, stands Minot Light. On January 1, 1850, the first Minot Light was lit. This first tower was a 70-foot tall, iron pile tower- a completely different structure than the thick, stone tower now standing off the coasts of Cohasset and Scituate. In a massive storm on April 17, 1851, Minot Light toppled over in the extreme winds and high waves. Both of the assistant lighthouse keepers, Joseph Wilson and Joseph Antoine, were killed in their attempts to escape the lighthouse that day. The construction of the new Minot Light, designed by General Joseph G. Totten of the Lighthouse Board, began in 1855 and was completed in 1860. The new Minot Light has been called the greatest achievement in American lighthouse engineering and is still standing tall and strong today. Another unique characteristic of Minot Light is the 1-4-3 flash pattern that the light emits. Minot Light flashes once, pauses for one second, flashes four times, pauses for one second, and finishes its sequence with three flashes. There is a local myth that attributes this 1-4-3 pattern to a lighthouse keeper’s mourning wife. The legend goes that one day, the lighthouse keeper ventured out to sea to fish. On the day he was supposed to return home a treacherous storm hit Scituate’s coast. The lighthouse keeper never returned, but his wife changed the sequence of Minot Light to flash in the 1-4-3 pattern to represent “I Love You”. Minot Light would broadcast her love for her husband lost at sea forever. Since the beginning of the 1-4-3 flash pattern, this lighthouse has been known as “Lover’s Light”.

Minot’s and The Glades’s shoreline has been especially dangerous and even deadly for many ships in the past. Many shipwrecks have occurred off of Minot. On March 5, 1889, the brig “T. Remick” was pushed ashore in North Scituate during a massive winter storm. The entire crew was saved, but the ship’s cargo of sugar, molasses, and cocoa was completely lost. On February 12, 1910, a severe snowstorm drove the “Matiana” ashore at North Scituate Beach. All seventeen crew members were rescued by the surfmen of the North Scituate Coast Guard Station. However, the most dramatic rescues on North Scituate’s coast happened on March 4, 1916. A massive storm separated the deckhouse of the barge “Ashland” from the rest of the boat. The entire crew was stranded on the deckhouse as it floated to shore. The surfmen were able to rescue the whole crew except for two men who had drowned before the lifesavers could reach them.

*sources include “Images of America: Scituate” (Scituate Historical Society), historical documents kept at The Scituate Town Library, and “New England Lighthouses: A Virtual Guide” (www.lighthouse.cc/minot/history.html)

The Scituate Historic Trails project formed from a partnership between Scituate Historical Society, People for Active Transportation & Health (PATH), and Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary to create and promote walking paths and bike routes connecting historical sites, beaches, downtown businesses and other fun places to relax, learn, eat and enjoy Scituate, a charming New England seaside town founded in 1636. Scituate is a coastal town located 25 miles south of Boston with nearly 17 square miles of history and centuries old character to be enjoyed on foot, on a bicycle or from a boat! From out of town? Hop on the Greenbush Train from South Station with your bike and enjoy a healthy, historical adventure to Scituate Massachusetts.