As part of the Crane Wildlife Refuge, Choate Island is the largest of the Refuge’s islands spanning 135 acres of marvelous natural delights and is one of seven such islands in the Essex River Estuary, providing stunning panoramas of marsh, estuary and ocean. Gulls, sanderlings and sandpipers feed along the island’s shore, while Choate Island’s grasslands provide critical habitat for bobolinks and Savannah sparrows. Some of the island’s distinguishing features are the dark spruce forest, planted in the 1930s, which can easily be seen by boat, and attracts Golden Crown Kinglets and Sharp-shinned Hawks. Native Americans established a semipermanent village on Choate Island and gathered shellfish in the estuary. When settlers arrived, Choate Island and Long Island were connected by a causeway, becoming successful farming communities through the 19th century. The Choate House, built around 1730 by the Choate family, is an architectural wonder, and has stayed virtually intact for more than 250 years!