Friday, June 27, 2014
The Magic of Monhegan Island
Exit the ferry and take a look around. You've traveled an hour from the mainland to reach your destination: the captivating Monhegan Island. You step off of the dock and survey your surroundings. The large, elegant hotel to your right crowning a flowered slope does not match the image you had in mind. It is beautiful and you are sure very hospitable, but where are the rustic cottages of the nearly cloistered community here. Be patient. Walk to the top of the hill and then you will be rewarded with what you came here to see.Built along a shoreline hugged by scenic coastal cliffs lies the village of Monhegan Island. Quaint cottages line the weather-beaten roads and lead you on a walk through one of the rarest communities in New England. You’re glad you wore your sneakers, because on this island only a few trucks traverse the worn dirt roads, and these carry the farmer’s produce to the local grocery or help a neighbor move their new coach from the ferry to their home. A small local schoolhouse, home to a handful of students, sits on the path to the lighthouse that shares the island’s name. From the lighthouse you look out at the mainland you left behind and understand in an instant why so many people are drawn here. Monhegan’s simple, small town lifestyle allows residents to enjoy the little things in life in conjunction with some of nature’s largest blessings. Impressive cliffs shrouded by lush forest line Monhegan’s coast and lucky for you multiple trails enclose the island in a curvy grid that lets you explore every inch. When the final ferry of the day finally arrives, you board with a hint of hesitation, but in the end you bid farewell to the nostalgic community of Monhegan, the only one of its time at peace with both nature and itself.
It has been a year since my last visit to Monhegan… and I still have a nearly irresistible urge to go back. With so many treasures like Monhegan disappearing around the world, I intend to visit again while I can and soak up the magic of one of Maine’s greatest hidden treasures.