Trying to get away from it all? Visit Monhegan Island, Maine! A square mile in area, the island is only accessible by boat. Commercial boats leave from Port Clyde, Boothbay or New Harbor and if you have access to your own boat, there are a few private mooring spots as well.
Once your step off the boat, you quickly realize there are very few cars. This makes for beautiful scenery to explore and undisturbed views, but also means that cell phone reception and places to stay are limited. If you’re planning on staying overnight, make sure to make reservations in advance!
There are seventeen miles of hiking trails that criss-cross the island. The hike around the outside of the island can be a bit strenuous so make sure your children are wearing sturdy shoes and are up for a climb over the rocks. You also need to keep an eye on the clock if you’re just making a day trip. The Monhegan associates rate them for difficulty and length of time to complete; we found their estimates to be pretty accurate. You can plan your trip using their online map, but it’s worth buying a map from one of the island stores once you arrive.
The Monhegan Museum of Art and History is housed in the former keeper’s house on the Lighthouse grounds, recently added to the Registry of American Historic Sites. The first floor is devoted to the Island’s long and colorful history. The second floor has bird and wildflower pictures to help you identify that specimen you just saw.
You can also see the equipment that was used to harvest ice from the ice pond as recently as 1974. The old equipment is displayed in a shed behind the Museum at the Lighthouse. While ice is no longer harvested, there’s still good ice skating on the ice pond in the winter!
Keeping an eye the ferry departure time, We decided to hike through Cathedral woods, home of the fairy houses. There were fairy houses everywhere!
People had built them on fungi, out of sticks, leaves, skulls, and flowers, frequently leaving water and food for the fairies. Everywhere we looked in the Cathedral woods we found them, in the trees, at the base of the trees, in branches, on piles of rocks, anywhere there was a likely spot. Houses ranged from simple cabins to multilevel homes, entire villages, water features, anything people could dream up and build from the things they found around them.
Fairy houses can be built anywhere and after our hike, my children were inspired to create their own at home. If your children are captivated by the concept of creating their own Fairy House, have a look at these photobooks for inspiration and click on the images if you’re interested in adding them to your child’s library.