Vinalhaven, Mid-Coast & Islands, Maine, USA (Island off of Camden; take one-hour ferry ride from Rockland)

Accommodations: Brand New Post & Beam Cottage - 2 Bedrooms + Convertible bed(s) - 1 Bath - (Sleeps 4-6)

Brand-new, waterfront, post and beam cottage overlooking Vinal Cove, a tidal cove. Secluded and private (located across the cove from a nature preserve), yet only an eight-minute drive to town. Windows offer great views of the cove, daylily gardens, and woods.

The cove is a mud flat at low tide, making for great bird viewing with herons, terns, osprey, bald eagles, ducks, and kingfishers to be enjoyed. At high tide the water is over your head, for great salt-water swimming and kayaking. When you are in the house at high tide you feel like you are on a houseboat, you are so close to the water.

The deck is only ten feet from the water (this is a new home on an old camp site, so the location this close to the water is very unusual, and "grandfathered"). An open kitchen/living/dining area features granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and cherry cabinets. The kitchen, bath, & entry have tile floors, & the rest of the house has red birch floors.

The livingroom couch opens up into a full-size bed. Two bedrooms (one a queen, one a full) also have garden and woods views. The tiled bath has a granite vanity, full tub/shower with lobster & crab tiles on the shower walls, a fan, & a skylight. In the entire camp the beams are Douglas fir & the ceilings are pickled pine.

Located on the site of a former saw mill, the flywheel from the sawmill stands as a giant 'sculpture' in the spectacular daylily gardens. Lots of dragonflies & hummingbirds. We have gorgeous sunrises, as we face somewhat east, amazing moonrises, & sunsets often reflect in the cove.

The ferry ride to Vinalhaven from Rockland is breathtaking, and you arrive in the harbor of the largest lobster fleet in Maine, over 100 lobster boats ply the local waters. Buy the freshest lobster in the world from the dock of the Lobster Co-op, to cook at home, or dine in one of the towns' great restaurants, featuring the best in home cooking. Lobster dinners, seafood chowder, and crab rolls are local specialties.

On Main Street there are several shops & restaurants. Visit the Paper Store, which is everything its name implies. You can order the Times here, or receive a fax here, (or find a huge selection of fudge, cards and gifts). You can visit Port o' Call (for all of life's other necessities), including eveything from hardware, hugs, plants, flashlights & batteries, to charcoal, & giant inflatable lobsters.

Go for ice cream to Annabelle's,(they have great paninis, too). Try the Harbor Gawker (featuring a huge eat-in or take-out menu), Downstreet Market (with organic produce, yummy local baked goods, chowder, sandwiches, coffees, & wines by the bottle), & Island Spirits (a great wine, pate & cheese shop). Go to their wine tastings! There is a large IGA grocery & liquor store, Second Hand Prose (a used book store), Elaine's New Era Gallery, (Elaine is from Away, but her gallery rocks, as Phil will testify!) Kids love GO FISH! for penny candy & toys. Dine at The Haven, (harbor side make reservations, or just drop in on the street side), Tibb's Bar & Restaurant, & more.

At the Harbor Wharf you can eat at the Pizza Pit for lunch or dinner, (they have an outragious selection on their menu), or at Donna's Surfside Restaurant for breakfast (and dinner). Donna has the most amazing crab omelettes, homebaked blueberry muffins, & her famous fishcakes (if you haven't tried one of these you haven't lived!)& so much more. At Surfside you can dine indoors or out, with great harbor views & lots of local color, (& Donna now also serves a great dinner menu!)

Work out at Island Fitness, or shop at Everything Country or the Fisherman's Friend, open early (for fish hooks), or open late,(for that last minute pint of HaganDas), all at the Harbor Wharf. You can also visit The Fog Gallery, at the Arts and Recreation Center (the ARC), the Town Library, or visit George Bartko's antique store/gallery, a short drive from town. There are massage therapists & beauty specialists also on the island.

There are three freshwater swimming holes on Vinalhaven, located in former granite quarries, they offer great warm water swimming in uniquely picturesque settings. There are lots of nature trails for hiking, and kayak excursions to local destinations. Many activities, including art openings, concerts, film showings, yard sales, yoga classes, poetry readings, nature walks & talks, church bean suppers, quilt raffles, wine tastings, etc. are published in the weekly newsletter, "The Wind", and posted about town. There is a new playground at the school.

There is a great Historical Society with exhibits of granite quarrying, fishing, & apple farming, which were some of the mainstays of the local economy & survival in the 1800s. Granite from Vinalhaven was used to build the Brooklyn Bridge! On Saturday mornings there is a local Fleamarket, one of the social high points of the week on our island.

It is a great place to meet new people and enjoy local arts, crafts, photography, baked goods, knitting, jewelry, clothing, rugs, kids making homemade lemonade and whatever else they are in to at the moment, (are you possibly in need of a painted rock? these are sometimes offered &, thus, in demand), jams, fresh berries, bunches of native garlic, vegetables, flowers, & just plain good old used & second hand stuff.

Visit the island's local daylily grower and be in for a treat! You can buy amazing daylilies to take home as gifts or for planting in your own garden. There is a golf course and a theatre group located on nearby North Haven Island.

Visit one of the nature preserves, Lane's Island, (which is a local favorite for its nature trails), & lots of other woodland & beach locations. There is a sandy town beach, several parks, & a lighthouse, many with picnic tables, as well.

Learn more about Vinalhaven on their website.

Activities (on site or nearby): Kayaking, Hiking, Rock Climbing, Biking, Golfing, Fitness Center, Fishing, Wildlife Viewing, Shopping, Restaurants, Live Theater, Museum, Sightseeing, Swimming, Boating, Sailing, Shelling, Musseling, Canoeing, Yoga Classes, Scenic Photography


Copyright © 2004 Wendy Stewart
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