|Ocean Hotel, Star Island|
On Saturday we rode a converted lobster boat 6 miles out into the gulf of Maine for a brief visit to the Isles of Shoals. The Isles of Shoals is a starkly beautiful collection of dry rocky islands which straddle the border between Maine and New Hampshire. We cruised around the major islands of the group and had the opportunity to briefly explore Star Island. Over the centuries the islands have been used as a fishing base for native Americans and early settlers, and more recently as an isolated summer retreat. The islands vary from small tidal ledges to Appledore Island, which at 95 acres is the largest of the group.
The second largest island, and the only one with public ferry service, is 45 acre Star Island. This island is used as a religious conference center affiliated with the United Church of Christ and the Unitarian Universalist Association. During the summer the organization sponsors conferences covering a broad range of religious and secular topics. In addition to the formal conferences, visitors can come for a “personal retreat” staying for one night or a few days. Day visitors are also welcome to explore the rocky landscape and its well preserved
historic buildings. The conferences are held in the old Oceanic Hotel and Gosport House, which are the remaining examples of the Isles of Shoal’s “Grand” hotels that were popular during its peak as a summer retreat. There are also many surviving old stone structures dating back to the original settlement. The most striking of these is the classic 150 year old Chapel which proudly overlooks the surrounding islands from its perch on the modest height of land.
|The Ferry from Portsmouth is in.|
|White Island Light|
from Star Island
|White Island Lighthouse|