Island Stories

Of the more than 3,000 islands off the coast of Maine, only 14 have year round inhabitants. One is Islesboro with a population of less than 600 people. It has a K-12 school and, unlike most islands, it is accessible by ferry leaving from Lincolnville Beach which  makes it possible for islanders to work and attend school on the mainland.

At the ferry landing there is a lighthouse which, like so many others, is no longer active.

If one doesn’t mind climbing narrow, rickety steps to the top,  there is a nice view of Penobscot Bay and the mainland.

There was a time when Indians summered on Islesboro, fishing and trapping.  Early white settlers earned their living farming and fishing.  Some of the history of these early inhabitants is in the Islesboro Sailors Memorial Museum and the Islesboro Historical Society and Museum.

At one time, Islesboro was home to the largest commercial shipping fleet in Penobscot Bay.  Life on the island changed, however, in the late 1800’s when wealthy folks from away discovered it and built stately homes, many of which are being used today by fifth and sixth generations of families.  As wealthy folks began spending time on Islesboro, the islanders adapted to their needs by becoming  carpenters and gardeners thus livelihood became more dependent on summer people.   Would you be surprised to learn that it took some time for the islanders to develop a cordial relationship with their new neighbors?

Islesboro, with its beautiful vistas, is like stepping back in time.

It is peaceful and a wonderful setting for relaxing or exploring.  A number of celebrities have found it a place to spend time without being bothered. For many years the pace was slow and transportation was by horse drawn carriage. It wasn’t until 1932 after summer people were gone that islanders voted to allow cars on the island.  That was a radical change, but it made life easier for those who were there year round.

Islesboro is just one of Maine’s islands with a rich history, and it’s fascinating to learn about past and present life on many of them.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

A Beautiful, Beautiful Bay

There are many reasons I enjoy time in Maine.  Primarily, it’s the natural beauty of the coast, especially as seen from the water which is my happy place.

Penobscot Bay is our cruising ground, and it is one of the most perfect boating places on either coast. I like nothing better than setting out in the early morning when the sea is calm and the sky a brilliant blue.

winter/lobster boatsExcept for an occasional lobster boat that left its mooring long before us, it is not surprising for there to be no other boats around early in the day.

Out in the bay, there are islands, hundreds of them created thousands of years ago by volcanic action.

islandMost are uninhabited, covered with spruce. Looking at them, I am reminded of the Tlingit stories having to do with regrowth that were heard recently in Alaska. How is it that nature can recreate without help from man?

Here and there a building is spotted, giving indication of life there now or in an earlier time.

Pumpkin Island lighthouse

Many of the islands have lighthouses, some still active but most not.  I always try to imagine the life of the lighthouse keeper whose job it was to keep boaters safe.

Some islands are connected to the mainland by a bridge.  This recently constructed one goes to Deer Isle where the much visited Acadia National Park is located.

Heading north from Rockport Harbor, islands are not all we see. High above Camden are the rolling hills which is why Camden is described as Where the Mountains Meet the Sea. What a wonderful combination!

Pipe DreamsAs we go along, I study the charts which identify the islands and make notes about islands that may hold possibility for picnics and new discoveries.

Moon over Penobscot 2 - Version 2Yes, Penobscot Bay is a beautiful, beautiful bay, Spruce covered headlands jut boldly from its shores, jewel like islands float on its surface and the gentle, glacier rounded contours of the Camden Hills look down on its broad reaches. 

Louise Dickinson Rich, Coast of Maine.

I so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

On To Yarmouth

Swan's Island

Trekking back to the boat after last night’s concert, fog was settling in,

Swan's Islandand by morning Swan’s Island was completely socked in,

Swan's Island/lighthousequite a contrast to yesterday.

Though traveling in fog is not my favorite way to boat, thanks to great radar equipment we headed on out, destination Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.  The fog never lifted, so we saw nothing along the way, and Yarmouth was as foggy.  Bummer!

YarmouthLuckily, near the wharf was an antique shop where I know many of you would have found a special treasure.

antiques/bottlesAs for me, I’d like to have had a few of these bottles, but I had no cash and the dealer didn’t take credit cards.  Oh well, I probably didn’t need them anyway.

YarmouthWalking back to the boat, I glimpsed this window in a marine supply store.  It added color to an otherwise gray day.

Yarmouth/fishing boatsWhen the fog lifted, there were some interesting sights, like the fishing boats that left early evening to throw their nets at night.  I guess that is so they don’t interfere with daytime boat traffic.

Yarmouth/fishing boatThey carry little boats on the stern.   If any of you know what the purpose of the smaller boat is, I’d love to know.

YarmouthAs the sun began to drop, gulls and cormorants flocked to an island near the wharf and made the most raucous noise.  Interestingly, I was told, the island used to be covered with trees but now there are only a few stubs thanks to the acidity of the gull poop.  You never know what you are going to learn at a marina!

Yarmouth/sunsetLuckily, the fog began to lift just as the day ended letting the magnificent colors of sunset shine through.  Once again I thought what an incredible artist God is.


Speaking of art, this photo taken early morning reminds of an abstract painting, but it is a large anchor silhouetted against the sky.  You never know what is going to capture your eye through the lens of a camera!

YarmouthSo much for Yarmouth.  After a quiet night, we are once again prepared to move on.  As we left the harbor, what we hadn’t seen the day before bid us farewell.

Yarmouth/lighthouseWho knew there was a lighthouse at the outer harbor?  If it had welcomed us, we totally missed it!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

A Day to Remember

The Wyeth name is a familiar one on the midcoast of Maine.  Andrew and Betsy met here, their children grew up loving the midcoast and its islands and Betsy and her sons continue to be a presence in the area.

Following in the tradition of his grandfather N.C. Wyeth and his father Andrew, Jamie Wyeth is an accomplished painter who spends much of his time on one of the family’s private islands and draws subject matter from the bounty of Maine.

The island’s lighthouse now is deactivated, but until 1937, it was a working one

with a bell tower that sounded warnings to ships when the fog was thick.  Now, both are part of the island’s charm and have been subject for a painting or several.

Iris at Sea, Jamie Wyeth

I can’t believe my photo is almost identical to the painting!

Dr. Syn, Andrew Wyeth

Dr. Syn is sitting inside the bell tower which Betsy created  to be reminiscent of Lord Nelson, a hero of Andrew’s.

The island is a visual delight with each detail a natural fit, however, I suspect nothing,

from the lobster buoys hanging in the trees

to the anchor resting on the grass

to the painted rocks laying casually on the wall, is an accident.

Everything, even the stacked piles of wood, is eye catching and looks like subject for another painting.

Sometimes what might have no special meaning to you or me catches the artist’s eye and becomes part of something that has permanence.

Wreck of the Polias, Jamie Wyeth

Walking down the shell path to the dock to head back to Rockport Harbor, my head is spinning with the delight of a beautiful Maine afternoon.  Thank you, Jamie, for letting us share your special place in the sun.

Sharing this post at

Seasonal Sundays

Wow Us Wednesday

An Unchanging Sentinel

At the entrance to Rockport Harbor is Indian Island with its quaint lighthouse that once signaled sailors to beware of the rocks that are hidden beneath the water at high tide.  As with many other lighthouses, it has now been replaced with an automatic beacon, and the island is a private getaway.  For me, however, it is the sight that welcomes me home after another day on the water.

It is always there, unmoving.

I love it from all its angles

and at any time of the day.

It is there, an unchanging sentinel that symbolizes safety.

Joining Alphabet Thursday for the letter I.

i love your comments, so jump right in and share yours