|Black Head from White Head Cliff
This week I finally got back out to Magical Monhegan. Monhegan is a small island 12 nautical miles out from the coast and a world away from our 21st century lives. The island is just 1.75 miles long and .75 miles wide with much of the “development” clustered around the harbor on the east side. The single dock hosts ferries from Port Clyde, New Harbor and Boothbay, and is protected by the mostly uninhabited rocky island of Manana. Monhegan has artist galleries, a few guest houses and a couple of seasonal hotels that have surprising good food, but it is the island’s quiet solitude which is its essential feature. The western side is undeveloped and has tall rocky cliffs facing out to the restless Atlantic rollers. It is reached only through a system of meandering foot paths. It is a great place for painters, birders, poets and, of course, photographers.
|Misty Manana Island lies across from Monhegan's Harbor
I first visited Monhegan about seven years ago. It was an all to brief day trip as part of a workshop through Maine Media. I had enough time to run from the boat across to one spot on the western cliffs and then back to see the lighthouse. One of the island’s best features is the chance to relax and focus on your art, but that couldn’t be done in one hectic afternoon. I wanted to go back at least for a week, but an agreement for two days was the most I could get from Susan. I took the deal!
|Angry Passage to Monhegan
|Window on Port Clyde
After exploration of the classic Maine fishing village of Port Clyde, we took the ferry for the hour long trip to the island. The protection of Monhegan’s harbor was welcome after a rough voyage. We knew that the weather was going to be marginal for our two days so, after quickly settling into our room at the John Sterling House, we ran out to take advantage of the decent conditions for a hike to the cliffs on the western side of the island.
The rocky shore is classic Maine, and we worked our way south from Burnt Head to Lobster Cove over irregular terrain. The Cliff trail is a spectacular combination of dramatic sheer cliffs and paths cut through lovely wild autumn vegetation. This time of year the Asters are especially thick and colorful.
Toward the southern end of the island, Lobster Cove features the rusting wreck of the “Sheridan”. On a fogy night in 1948 this 100-foot ocean-going tug lost its way and fetched up on the rocks. Most of the islands many wooden wrecks deteriorated quickly, but this iron vessel has remained a reminder of the unforgiving character of the northern Atlantic.
|Wreck of the Sheridan
Misty Cliffs and Fairy Villages
|Marshall Point Blooms
Marshall Point Light
Our return trip to the mainland was foggy and uneventful. Ending up at Port Clyde, I had to make a quick stop at nearby Marshall Point Lighthouse. The harsh mid-day light was a problem but I have enjoyed visits to the lighthouse in much nicer conditions. This time I focused on the flowers around the keeper’s house and then surrendered to Susan’s insistence that we get on the road for the long drive home.
Monhegan is a uniquely magical part of the Maine coast. It is definitely worth a trip. I will definitely be back. I would love to settle in for a relaxing week or two, but until Susan is ready to escape to write her great American novel, I may have trouble getting her to dessert civilization for that long. In the meantime, I have work to do as I wade through the 700 images from this visit. Perhaps more pictures next week, but autumn is coming! and I have to prepare for my Fall Foliage Workshop coming up on October 14-16th.
I will place images of Monhegan as I get to them in a gallery on my web site.