Harboring Good Times

Stonington Travel Blog

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Miss Lizzie - the mail boat which ferries between Stonington and Isle au Haut.

Started my long journey north by taking back roads to Route One in Wiscasset. Driving Route One is truly being home for me.  The familiar stretches of pine, rocky coast and wacky tourist shops (e.g., Perry’s Nut House) an unabashed treat.  I’ve driven this road so many times and it is so darn familiar – despite the first time in several years I can tell you it hasn’t changed much.  Despite its charms, Route One isn’t particularly speedy and though I envisioned stopping at one of the many awesome lunch spot for some eats and a TB review, time concerns kept me rolling.


I managed to make Stonington, my ferry stop, in good time, and found it representative of a traditional coastal Maine fishing communities (I’d been nearby previously, but this was my first time).

Statue commemorating the town's granite carvers...an enduring legacy of Stonington.
  A lot of lobster boats bobbing in a pretty harbor with a lot of pickup trucks loaded to the gills with fishing gear and zooming about.


Nearing my destination in unfamiliar territory, I pulled off when I spotted a sign proclaiming “Isle au Haut Parking”.  Seconds after setting the parking brake, an old timer plodded out of an adjacent barn and asked “Duck hah-bah?” in a thick Maine accent.  My dress code wasn’t fooling anyone.  There are exactly two options to overnight on Isle au Haut: the Acadia National Park campground (Duck Harbor), or the posh Keeper’s House Inn.  Though I was bound for the Keeper’s House, two more folks would guess Duck Harbor and nobody suspected me of being able to cough up more than $10 a night for a place to stay!


I didn’t correct him, but merely expressed I needed to catch the mail boat ferry.

I lived on the edge and looked at the waterfront with no appointment!
He shared it was just down the hill and to the right, quickly adding I could park here for $3 a night.  I already knew spaces at the dock went for $9 per night so I readily accepted his offer.


After cruising down the hill (and hanging a right) I was at the ferry office and paid $38 for a round trip to Isle au Haut and back.  Then I strode a couple blocks to a grocery store for a chef’s salad, returning to the dock and the dining in the luxurious (ha, ha) “Waiting Room”.  A fine option as it was windy and chilly on the dock.


Hit the dock around fifteen minutes before scheduled departure (4PM), where the masses were congregating and tossing a lot of crap onto the mail boat.

Walking the plank to the mail boat
By “masses” I mean seven other passengers and three crew.  I was clearly the only non-Islander among the guest list, which included to high school kids returning from classes.  There is an elementary school on the island, currently with six students, but after eighth grade you have to relocate to the mainland or endure a twice daily ferry ride.


Excepting the students, everyone seemed to be returning from a massive shopping spree and lugged tons of items aboard.  Two burly islanders muscled a big air compressor onto the mail boat’s deck, and the device’s virtues would be a main part of the conversation as we started our forty minute journey.  I thoroughly enjoyed the spirited, friendly chat and camaraderie as we weaved through islands to Isle au Haut.

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Miss Lizzie - the mail boat which …
Miss Lizzie - the mail boat which…
Statue commemorating the towns gr…
Statue commemorating the town's g…
I lived on the edge and looked at …
I lived on the edge and looked at…
Walking the plank to the mail boat
Walking the plank to the mail boat
Waterfront property might be cheap…
Waterfront property might be chea…
Dock at Stonington
Dock at Stonington
photo by: vances