More from the Isles of Shoals

White Island, left, and Seavey Island, right. The lighthouse is one of at least four that can be seen from the Isles of Shoals in the daytime. More can be detected at night. Waves crash over the islands in fierce storms.

It’s hard to think that such a small cluster of islands and rock ledges could hold so much attraction, but just look. It’s not just historic Appledore and Star islands that fascinate. Here are some more shots from our day trip.

The entire neighborhood on Smuttynose, the third largest island in the Isles of Shoals. Smuttnose also lends its name to the harbor seals that populate its shores and to a brewery onshore. The Capt. Samuel Haley House, right, is featured on some of the ale labels. The murders of two women in 1873 has inspired poetry, a novel, a movie, and a song. But stories of notorious pirate Blackbeard’s honeymoon there remain unconfirmed.

 

Lunging Island is privately owned.

On the road to satori

Like Zen, my mind works in strange ways, and this is how I too often see things.

How I often see or hear life around me.

I can imagine a Buddhist sutra in which two monks observe the sign. They’re walking, of course, rather than driving.

The first says something pithy asking how Zen, being nothing, can do anything, much less work.

And the second replies that work’s nothing, too. But it’s not lazy.

Better, I suppose, than “ZZZ Working,” which many assume while passing the usual sign and seeing the crew standing by idly.

If you like this, please clap with one hand.

With a few distinctive touches

The transformation of the former newspaper plant downtown continues. What had been an essentially blank wall against the children’s museum and park is opening up to take advantage of its views that include the bend in the river.

The crown, common to the late 1800s buildings up the street, came as an unexpected but traditional touch.

 

I happen to love big windows with a corner view, as I imagine these have.

 

 

 

Does anyone else envy the summer guests on Star Island?

The historic Oceanic Hotel is now part of a conference center run by a consortium of Unitarian-Univeralists and the United Church of Christ. Its week-long programs are a popular family destination. Cape Ann, Massachusetts, sits on the horizon.

The second largest island in the Isles of Shoals, Star is the only one with commercial boat service to the mainland. The state line between New Hampshire and Maine runs through the small harbor.

Here’s an idea of the hotel’s isolation. You say you want to get away from everything? Apart from your fellow guests, this is just about perfect. But forget about going in winter. That ocean can get wild. 

 

Closer up. In the 1600 and 1700s, the Isles of Shoals became a major summertime fishing camp, where cod were dried for European markets. They garnered four times the price of Norwegian cod. The chapel remains from that era.

Guests and supplies get to the island on the Thomas Leighton ferry, which plies the waters from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It can be a jolly experience, if the ocean’s on the calm side.

Regular service. This one’s returning to Portsmouth. Appledore Island rises to the left, while Star Island is just to the left of the ferryboat.

 

It can be a popular ride. Some people go out as a day trip.