A Return to Monhegan Island, Maine

It has been at least 30 years since our first and most recent voyage to this artist and nature island in Maine. Monhegan Island, which attracts many artists over the summer, currently has 19 studios (only a few open on the day we visited) and is laced with hiking trails that climb most of the 200-foot bluffs that overlook the ocean.

After a drive down the St. George Peninsula, we took a pleasant 20-mile, 70-minute cruise on the mail boat from Port Clyde to Monhegan island.

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Upon arrival, we headed straight for the hiking trails, heading north to the northern-most tip of the island and well over half-way around the perimeter via the seaside Cliff Trail. Although we took few unintentional detours on the poorly and confusingly marked trails, the trails were lovely and we hit some of the island’s most scenic sections, including Pebble Beach and the Seal Ledges, Pulpit Rock, Black Head (the highest spot on the island at 160 feet), Squeakier Cove and Little Whitehead. A wonderful hike that with its many ups and downs, provided some much needed exercise. And let’s face it: it is a small island and you can’t get too lost.

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By then, we were ready for a wonderful lunch (a delicious chilled raspberry soup, two generously stuffed lobster rolls and an okay slice of blueberry pie a la mode) at a window table of the pretty and beautifully situated Island Inn.

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We then walked an additional third of the island, through residential areas, with their gardens, community memo walls, stored lobstering equipment and into a few of the 19 artist studios and galleries that are open to visitors on select days.

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We strolled down to the pretty Lobster Cove, stopping at a few artist studios and galleries and taking a break at the Monhegan Brewing Company for a sample of four beers (a very interesting Berliner with wild Maine blueberry juice, Blond Ale, IPA and finishing off with a stout).

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Then, after climbing Lighthouse Hill at the center of the island, we admired the view and took quick stops at the island’s history museum and primary Mohegan art exhibit space (which had an exhibit of oils by Lamar Dodd), before heading back to the ferry.

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The return voyage was via the scenic route, out of the harbor and along the cliff-laced east coast of the island that we had hiked that morning. A very different and much cooler perspective of the coast we had recently hiked and seen from above.

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A lovely return to an island we had only once visited and a wonderful way to spend a day in mid-coast Maine.

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