On a sunny and brisk October day I drove to the fishing village of Port Clyde, Maine at the tip of the St. George Peninsula. It’s there I booked a 10:30 am departure to Monhegan Island.
The Monhegan Boat Line company offers roundtrip cruises on two different vessels. For this time of day, the Elizabeth Ann ferry was the designated boat. This is a passenger boat only. No tourist cars are allowed on Monhegan Island. The 65-foot-long boat was launched in 1995, and offers seating in 1). a heated glassed-in cabin, 2). on the covered stern, and 3). up on the open sightseeing deck. I decided to sit in the top sightseeing deck. The deck provided an unobstructed view of all the wild and watery things I was about to experience (see photo).
Just a few cruising minutes after lifting out of the launching area, through Port Clyde Harbor, we passed Marshall Point Lighthouse, built in 1858 (see photo).
Once past the lighthouse, the Elizabeth Ann ran into severe choppy waters, and was swaying from side to side. Water was spraying us up on the sightseeing deck, as the waves broke violently against the side of the boat. I kept close eyes on the location of the life jackets, in case I needed one. I am not much of a sailor, so it was spine-chilling for me.
The cruise to Monhegan Island took 55 minutes one way. The island is located about 12 nautical miles off the mainland in Lincoln County, Maine. The population in 2020 was 64 residents. Located in the Atlantic Ocean, and part of the Gulf of Maine, Monhegan Island is 1.75 miles long and .75 of a mile wide.
After a long and splashy boat ride, we finally pulled into the dock. I had a great view of Manana Island (see photo). Manana Island helps form Monhegan Harbor. The former Coast Guard fog signal station on this island can be seen in the photos.
I managed to calm down a little once I stepped off the boat and onto dry land. As I walked up Wharf Hill Road, I could view the magnificent Island Inn.
In 1816, The Island Inn was formally known as the Pink House. And in 1907 the main building was extended to satisfy the need of the increasing number of visitors to Monhegan. It was enlarged again in 1910 to form The Island Inn as it it know today.
I took a turn onto Main Street, and walked around the art galleries, cafes, gift shops, and food stores. The Monhegan lighthouse is seen perched upon a hill above the village. It’s official name is Monhegan Island Light and was built in 1850 (see photo).
Once I was ready for a long, forest hike, I turned and walked up Main Street in the opposite direction, past the schoolhouse, and onto the paths that took me through the woods.
The land outside the village of Monhegan is preserved by Monhegan Associates, Inc. It includes 480 acres of undeveloped forests, cliffs, and rocky coastlines, along with 17 miles of hiking trails.
The forest was dark and mysterious (see photos). It was full of fairy houses built by tourists.
I hiked on the trails through the trees to an overlook where I had dazzling views of the water. The drop-off cliff where I sat had pine trees embedded into the rocks. How their root systems survived the harsh Maine coastal winds is a mystery.
I traveled back into town and shopped a little more as I waited for the 4:30 ferry boat to take me back to Port Clyde.
The cruise going back on the Elizabeth Ann was much calmer and there were no white-capped waves. The sun was going down behind me. By the time I reached the Port Clyde dock, the sun had set and it was pitch-dark.
I was so glad I finally got to see Monhegan Island. It was on my Maine bucket list. It was one wave-splashing adventure with memories vivid enough to last many years.
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