Monhegan is an island in Lincoln County Maine, about 12 nautical miles off the coast. I ended up there one summer with an ex-boyfriend, kind of by accident. He was from Maine originally so knew the island but I think we were somehow on a golf frenzy for him and landed ourselves on a boat far away from a course and on this precious island of fish and art.
The population was 75 at the 2000 census. No joke. Like I said, a gem of a place that has a tiny number of residents but does attract artists coming here to paint.
When we were there, we hung out for awhile at the established Island Inn, which is the most well known….well THE hotel on the island. Hot tea, crumpets and then a hike on rocks.
It was visited centuries ago by Basque and Portuguese fishermen, a plaque, adjacent to the island’s one room schoolhouse, commemorates a more recent visit in 1614, by John Smith, who was an English Naval Captain and Governor of Virginia. The nostalgia from that time seems to have never left.
Today, its most definitely all about fishing, and as I mentioned, a haven for artists. Anyone into nature and natural beauty, flora and fauna, and birds, will love this place. The island is now a home to a working lobster fishing village and an art community of international reputation. The Monhegan Historical and Cultural Museum, established in 1960, is housed in the old Lighthouse Keepers Cottage which, together with the adjacent Lighthouse, provides a record of its art, history, and the achievements of this remarkable island.
Monhegan, which is about 1.7 miles long and 0.7 miles wide, offers a an exceptionally beautiful environment, two thirds of which is protected as a nature preserve by the Monhegan Associates, an island trust which has accepted the responsibility of holding and maintaining the land in its natural form, for all future generations to enjoy. 17 miles of natural trails meander and climb throughout the island ‘wildlands’, through the forests and meadows, out to the headlands and along the coves and ledges. The cliffs on the east side of the island are some of the highest on the coast of New England and offer a magnificent panorama of the Atlantic.
On the south end, Lobster Cove will show you the might of the ocean where the wreck of the D.T. Sheridan lies scattered across the rocks. Harbor seals can be seen on the Duck Rocks near Pebble Beach, migrating birds use the island as a resting place on their various journeys, and whales can be seen in their movements north and south. The sunsets and sunrises, both over the ocean, offer a magnificent display of nature’s most unbelievable colors and, on a clear night, the display across the skies, of the heavens and their stars, glisten unpolluted by ground light and city air. The Northern Lights are also evident at certain times toward the end of the summer offering a ghostly shimmering of light across the northern sky. It won’t quite be like Iceland or northern Scandinavia, but its decent by North American standards.
Photo credits: www.islandinnmonhegan.com. All my shots were taken on old fashioned film and never moved to digital.