Last week, a lovely couple from Virginia stayed with us for several days as they researched the islands in Penobscot Bay and elssewhere; they hope to buy a place here for those golden retirement years! Alas, I am a land-lubber at heart, boating not being my thing (ruins the hair). Yet, their visit focused me on the islands nearby Belfast, and they are a real treasure.
Islesboro, reached by the Lincolnville ferry, is a 14 mile long, 700 acre island populated by a whopping 604 people. In 1692, the English arrived only to find the French and the Indians who they promptly booted out. Well, remember who won the French and Indian War! The island has a long and colorful history annotated in various places including the Maine Memory Project.
Monhegan Island which proudly refers to itself as the place time forgot is an artists’ colony where personal cars are forbidden. Now, try this for quaintness, one can arrive via the US Mail run operated by the Monhegan Boat Line, in operation since 1883. This is on my list of things to do.
Isle au Haut has a thriving community of 74 – Islesboro eat your heart out – and boasts a part-time grocery store, one room school house, library and lighthouse. In 1943, the local community gave one half of their island to the feds, and now that half is part of Acadia National Park. To get there – you guessed it — one must take the US mail boat departing from Stonington.
So much to do and so little time…….