ISLAND
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IslandThe islands of Penobscot Bay.
They rise like long-kept secrets, just waiting to be explored.

General Information

Penobscot Bay is Maine’s largest coastal waterway. Approximately 30 miles long by 30 miles wide, it contains the major islands of Vinalhaven, North Haven, Islesboro, Deer Isle, and Isle au Haut. These five large islands and numerous smaller ones provide protection from the open sea and make the bay a very popular sailing, pleasure boating, and sea kayaking area. The numerous harbors, coves, estuaries, and hundreds of islands offer solitude, plentiful wildlife, and miles of coast to explore. A major portion of Maine’s more than 3,400 mile coastline—and the most its islands—are located in Midcoast Maine, with Penobscot Bay as its center.

Boat Transport: Matinicus Excursions, Captain George Tarkleson at 207-691-9030;Penobscot Ferry and Transport, Capt. James Kalloch, 207-691-6030 (cell) or 207-594-5163; Maine State Ferry Service, 207-596-2202; Equinox Island Transit, Captains Susan Conover & John Morin, 207-236-6890, boat cell 207-691-6891.Air Service: Air service to area islands is provided by Penobscot Island Air, located at Knox County Regional Airport. They also provide charter service to and from many destinations in the United States and Canada, sightseeing flights, and many other services. Penobscot Island Air, Kevin Waters, 207-596-7500.

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Island Trips

You can easily travel from Rockland to the islands of North Haven, Matinicus, and Vinalhaven and reach Monhegan from Port Clyde or New Harbor. Most residents of the islands make their living from the sea by fishing and lobstering. Trips average a little over an hour—except Matinicus, which takes more than two hours to reach by ferry or private boat charter, and whose trips are also less frequently scheduled.

Monhegan Island

Monhegan is undoubtedly the most famous island in Maine, thanks in large measure to the art of George Bellows, Edward Hopper, Rockwell Kent, Jamie Wyeth, and many others who have been drawn to paint its dramatic cliffs—the highest on the New England coast. These artists are credited with popularizing the island, whose summer population is tenfold that of the winter. Located ten miles out to sea, Monhegan is 1.4 miles long and .7 miles wide. A wildlife sanctuary with more than 600 varieties of wildflowers and 200 species of birds—including peregrine falcons, ospreys, and northern harriers (marsh hawks)—and a peaceful stretch of spruce and moss called Cathedral Woods make Monhegan attractive to naturalists and hikers. Its 17 miles of trails and breathtaking walks, inns, shops, an artists’ colony, museum, swimming beach (for hardy souls who like cold ocean water), and lighthouse make this a trip worth taking.

Boat Service: Reached by daily boat services Monhegan Boat Line (207-372-8848) from Port Clyde and Hardy Boat Cruises (800-278-3346 or 207-677-2026) from New Harbor; Penobscot Ferry and Transport, Capt. James Kalloch, 207-691-6030 (cell) or 207-594-5163; Equinox Island Transit, Captains Susan Conover & John Morin, 207-236-6890, boat cell 207-691-6891; Balmy Days Cruises (207-633-2284 or 800-298-2284), from Boothbay Harbor.Year-round population: 75

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Matinicus Island

Located about 20 miles south of Rockland and the most remote of the inhabited year-round islands, Matinicus is an Indian name meaning alternatively “grassy islands” or “the place of the wild turkeys.” Matinicus Harbor is one of the few in Maine that’s home to almost exclusively working vessels. It’s almost two miles long and one mile wide, with about 750 acres filled with hundreds of species of plants. The shores are rocky—the eastern shore being mostly granite—but there are two large beaches with beautiful fine graying-white sand and numerous small pebble beaches. Matinicus has some cottage rentals and one bed & breakfast. The small village has a single post office.

Staying at Matinicus Island is much like going back in time; arrivals and departures, comings and goings—indeed life itself moves at a pace set by wind, weather, and tides.

Boat Service: Matinicus Excursions, Captain George Tarkleson at 207-691-9030. Reservations required. Boat trips are subject to wind and tide conditions; Penobscot Ferry and Transport, Capt. James Kalloch, 207-691-6030 (cell) or 207-594-5163;Equinox Island Transit, Captains Susan Conover & John Morin, 207-236-6890 or 207-691-6891 (boat cell); Elaine Brown, 207-867-2098 or 207-557-5777 (cell).Air Service: Most of the larger islands can also be reached by air from the Knox County Regional Airport in Owls Head. Penobscot Island Air provides service to Matinicus, Vinalhaven, North Haven, and other island destinations. Penobscot Island Air, Kevin Waters, 207-596-7500.For information on cottage rentals, the island, and transportation, contact the Matinicus Island Chamber of Commerce (Harriet Williams) at 207-354-8354. Mooring rentals available from Josh Ames at 207-366-3937 (Channel 19 on VHF).Year-round population: 66

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North Haven Island

North Haven is a working island community with many large private summer residences tucked along the shore. The community has a general store, two gift shops, two restaurants, and accommodations (Nebo Lodge, 207-867-2007; Our Place Inn & Cottages, nightly and weekly, 207-867-4998 & The Mill Stream House, weekly rentals, 207-867-4862).

Boat Service: Penobscot Ferry and Transport, Capt. James Kalloch, 207-691-6030 (cell) or 207-594-5163; Maine State Ferry Servce, 207-596-2202; Equinox Island Transit, Captains Susan Conover & John Morin, 207-236-6890, boat cell 207-691-6891.Air Service: Most of the larger islands can also be reached by air from the Knox County Regional Airport in Owls Head. Penobscot Island Air provides service to Matinicus, Vinalhaven, North Haven, and other island destinations. Penobscot Island Air, Kevin Waters, 207-596-7500.Year-round population: 332

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Vinalhaven Island

Incorporated in 1789, Vinalhaven at one time had a booming granite industry that attracted settlers who worked in its quarries or finished the granite before it was shipped to cities and towns along the Atlantic seaboard and as far west as St. Louis. Many famous buildings in Washington, D.C., New York City, and elsewhere were constructed with Vinalhaven granite. The abandoned quarries are now spring-fed swimming and fishing holes. The island is about nine miles long and five miles wide. It has several restaurants, gift shops, and a museum. An island brochure is available, which depicts the various points of interest (parks, swimming holes, hiking, biking, lighthouses) for visitors. Overnight accommodations are available year-round.

Boat Service: Penobscot Ferry and Transport, Capt. James Kalloch, 207-691-6030 (cell) or 207-594-5163; Maine State Ferry Service, 207-596-2202; Equinox Island Transit, Captains Susan Conover & John Morin, 207-236-6890, boat cell 207-691-6891.Air Service: Most of the larger islands can also be reached by air from the Knox County Regional Airport in Owls Head. Penobscot Island Air provides service to Matinicus, Vinalhaven, North Haven, and other island destinations. Penobscot Island Air, Kevin Waters, 207-596-7500.Year-round population: 1,300Summer population: about 6,000For more information and a brochure, contact:

Vinalhaven Chamber of Commerce
P.O. Box 703
Vinalhaven ME 04864
207-863-2262
vhchamber@gmail.com
www.vinalhaven.org