Sunday, July 19, 2009

Isles of Shoals

Star Island is just one of the Isles of Shoals, near Portsmouth, NH, USA.

I want to share a few tidbits about some of the other islands in the group. After this post, I promise to move on to other topics!

Celia Thaxter
was a famous Shoaler in the 1800's. She was a writer, poet and painter who spent many years on Appledore Island.

John Appleton Brown painted this view from her front porch on Appledore Island.

Celia Thaxter's house and gardens were between the windmill and the grey house on Appledore Island today.

Volunteers recreate the gardens each year. Shoals Marine Laboratory, operated by Cornell University and the University of New Hampshire sponsors garden tours through Portsmouth Harbor Cruises.

We sailed on the MV Thomas Laighton, named after Celia Thaxter's father who was an innkeeper on the Isles of Shoals. The Isles of Shoals Steamship Company operates this boat - which I like because it's big - so I'm less likely to get seasick. (I always take bonine or dramamine too - I'm definitely prone to seasickness!)

As the ship left Gosport Harbor, it passed in front of several privately owned homes on Appledore Island.

The Smuttynose Rangers visit Smuttynose Island each summer to maintain the trails on the island. Smuttynose, named for a black rock at the end of the island, was home to fishermen and their families.

A murder in March 1863 was was dramatized in a book and movie.

Plus, Smuttynose Beer is a local favorite.

White Island (with the lighthouse) and neighboring Seavey Island as seen from Star Island.

White Island Light

Seavey Island is home to the Tern Restoration Project, where the NH Fish & Game, NH Audubon and other groups are restoring the breeding population of arctic, common and roseate terns in NH.

Winter ice lasted longer than usual to the north of us, so more birds are nesting on Seavey Island than in years past. Recent counts estimate 2400 nesting pairs of terns.

In June, the colony was almost abandoned due to an immature snowy owl on the island. The owl was captured and relocated to northern NH so the terns would have a chance to nest.

Heading back toward Portsmouth, Mt. Agamenticus is a prominent landmark. It's a small mountain, but it has been used by sailor's as a landmark for finding Portsmouth Harbor for many years.

Smooth Sailing!

Our trip to Star Island was wonderful...but being back on the mainland is wonderful too!

Related posts:
Cruising Portsmouth Harbor
Star Island


Delighted Hands said...

We have travelled the whole country but not the very Northeast...thanks for the tour; beautiful area! (I especially like the history you include!)

Janice Zindel said...

I am thoroughly enjoying your photos of the New England coast, and love the photo of the stone house on Star Island! Hoping to get back out there again in a couple years or so. I've been out to N.E. three times and love the fantastic scenery and history.

Barbara G. said...

My husband and I met on Appledore at the Shoals Marine lab 30 years ago. 4 years later we married on Star Island in Gosport Church. As a young child, I made an annual late spring visit to Star with my father, an electrical engineer, who did pro-bono work to design, install and maintain the island's little power plant. These islands are very dear in my memories. Thank you for taking us all for a visit!

Life Looms Large said...

Glad you guys are enjoying a little virtual visit to the Northeast!!

Barbara, Thanks for stopping by and sharing your great stories about the islands!!! It really is magical out there!!


charlotte said...

Thank you for the beautiful pictures and the interresting facts! The wooden houses remind me a lot of Scandinavia.

Life Looms Large said...

I know that fishing families from Scandinavia, maybe even from Norway, lived on Smuttynose in the 1800's. Those houses very well could have been built by those families.


Theresa said...

Sue, as always delightful pictures and text. Those islands are wonderful! Seems the New Engand coast is littered with lovely little islands. Around Marblehead/Salem/Beverly etc. are a number of them too. I can't remember the names of any but one,
Children's Island ( some call it Cat Island) on which a quarantine hospital was built to deal with smallpox
in the 1700's. The YMCA now uses it for a summer camp

sheilabythebeach said...

Your photos are outstanding and I am REALLY enjoying my little vacation with you! Honestly, I didn't know how beautiful the "other coast" is. What a wonderful country!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the Appledore pics. I'm fascinated by Celia Thaxter's life and work and hope to visit myself some day.

Small world: I just heard about the bizarre 19th century murders -- and Anita Shreve's novel about them yesterday -- so thanks also for mentioning the film, that I did not know about.

Your lobster came out adorable. Good work : )

Life Looms Large said...

I do hope to visit the Boston Harbor Islands some day. We haven't had cooperative weather for most of the summer so far.....but there's still time!

The movie made from The Weight of Water by Anita Shreve played at the Music Hall in Portsmouth, NH to a packed audience. I remember meeting a friend there to watch and we ended up in the very full balcony, lucky to get seats. The movie was filmed in Canada however, so they aren't the actual Isles of Shoals featured.

On rainy mornings like today, I like looking back at my pictures from our sunny day on Star Island!