A little below the midpoint of the Island's west side lies our largest bay, spanning a mile and a half between the sand dunes which tumble into McFadden's Point at the north and a sequence of rocky spits at the south. A mile and a quarter is in private hands, so that the beach is bordered by public land. It is protected by Greenes' Bluff, a continuation of the dramatic geological feature running down the Island's entire west side. The land below the bluff is a flat plateau, mostly wooded but containing several junipered clearings. The northern two thirds of the beach is sandy, and with the isolation and view of High and Gull Islands, it is a beautiful spot.
When we arrived 25 years ago, there was an old two-track running steeply down the bluff that required four-wheel drive to navigate. At the bottom there were faint remains of two cabins, which we learned belonged to either "White Dan" or "Red Dan" Greene. Twelve families lived here in the 1860's, supporting themselves by fishing. In the mid '70's they migrated to land east of the King's Highway.
This land was "empty" until 1980, when its owner listened to several bids before choosing a developer. (There was talk of somehow preserving the land for the public, but in this pre-Conservatory day, the organization and resources to do this were lacking.) The road was improved, twenty large lots were created, and the hallmark of the Island's new tourist orientation, the construction of expensive second homes, began; the first one built here (the Island's first hundred thousand dollar home) ran on a generator for a year as the developers obtained easements and cleared a route for bringing power from Fox Lake. A Danish industrial genius who was preparing to build discovered part of still another of the old Greene cabins on his lot and decided to locate his home in such a way as to leave it intact.
Other old structures have been reported in the winding area behind the towering dunes to the north, but we have never found them ourselves. Our walks have mainly been to the south, where other features have provided interesting discoveries: low continuous stone piles (we assumed these were made by the Greenes, but others have suggested a Native American origin); another old road coming down the bluff; a stone-lined pit seven feet in diameter and at least three feet deep; huge oak beams on the beach that might have once been part of various ships; and the remains of another old homestead. We had not seen it in fifteen years, and wondered if it was still there and if we could find it. We all had our guesses as to where to strike off into the woods; this time JoAnne's proved exactly right.