A Great Place To Visit, Monhegan Maine

McDonald’s Cafe, Lincoln, ME
4:28pm
Day 6

It has been a couple of days since Shannon and I have had the time and internet access to fill you in about our adventure, and I do apologize. The last three days have been the best of our trip so far.

We left Freeport, Maine on Tuesday morning and stopped at the desert of Maine on our way to catch our boat in Port Clyde. For those of you who are not aware, the desert of Maine is the Eastern-most desert in the United States. It is quite small and is made up of mounds of glacial silt. It was quite beautiful at dawn, and was definitely worth the five minutes we had to check it out. Are you sick of the fish-eye yet?

We then left for Port Clyde and enjoyed another nice ride through coastal Maine. Arriving at the docks seemed to take nearly no time at all after the relatively short hour and a half drive from Freeport. It was nice not to have to sit in the car for five hours.

We departed on the Elizabeth Ann for Monhegan. We rode at the bow and enjoyed the salty breeze. It is safe to say that neither Shannon or I get seasick, as it was quite choppy up there.

About an hour later, we arrived at the island. As we were pulling up to the docks, our captain came out on deck and was overheard saying that someone had fallen in. As it turned out, he wasn’t referring to anyone aboard our craft, but instead a local fishing boat that was not too far from where we were floating. Lo and behold, we could see a man in the water. Our boat scooted over to the fishing vessel but the rest of their crew had no problem helping the cold fisherman out of the water. Our boat did however wait as the fishing boat took the soaking fellow over to the docks so he could get a hot shower and a cup of hot tea whiskey.

After disembarking, we had finally made it to Monhegan Island. What a place. I read online that the locals have a slogan for the island. It goes ‘Welcome to Monhegan Island, now leave.’ The place did a pretty good job of living up to that mantra. There is one public bathroom on the entire island and it closes at 4pm. If you are on the island after four, you have to walk back to your inn to use the facilities. The island is only a couple of square miles, but your own two feet are the sole form of transportation. So after drinking at the brewery for an hour or two, walking a mile round trip just to use the bathroom can get annoying. We deposited our bags at our hotel and started exploring.

We found a cool lighthouse, scrambled down to the rocks to photograph the beach, and eventually ended up at the brewery. Yes, Monhegan Island has a brewery. That may or may not be the reason we had picked it as a travel destination in the first place. Not surprisingly, they had excellent beer. Only four drafts on tap, but what can you expect on an island of sixty or so. The place had a small indoor area where beer was poured, but out front on the lawn was the spot where the beer was drank. We were there for no less than three hours, which was enough to get me ‘cut off’ after a mere three beverages. Granted two of them were 9.2% alcohol, but even so, I wasn’t driving anywhere and was still very coherent. Their explanation was they didn’t actually want tourists getting drunk on their lawn. Strange for a brewery if you ask me, but it definitely fit with the island spirit. They were happy to sell me a growler of their pale ale, which I proceeded to drink on their lawn.

We chatted up two college aged girls who were on the island to work for a couple of months. (Hi Milka and Bianca!) Drunken plans were made to hike to the Northeast side of the island to see the sun rise in the morning, and we left for dinner. That night we enjoyed some delicious seafood and called it a night.

The next morning we somehow managed to wake up at 5am. A few excedrin later, we were on the street ready for our foray into the wild side of the island. Upon waiting a few minutes, we realized we were going to be alone on the hike, so we started off. (We later found out that the girls were simply running late and we did not wait long enough. Oh well.)

Our morning hike ended up being quite a lot more than either of us expected. It was like a hike hike. We scrambled through overgrown thickets and across rocky outcroppings. All in all, we hiked for nearly an hour before arriving at our destination, blackhead. As we learned from conversation with the girls the previous day, and firsthand the morning after, Monhegan Island is having a real problem maintaining their hiking trails. I read online there are approximately seventeen miles of hiking trails. Much of the trail we hiked was eroded and in varying stages of collapse.

Shannon enjoying the sun rise.
Shannon enjoying the sun rise.

The sunrise was spectacular. Everything we could have hoped for. We snapped photos until the sun was up a ways and headed back to clean up and leave the island. We were exhausted, starving and thirsty as ever by the time we arrived back at the Shining Sails. They were kind enough to serve us fresh baked zucchini muffins and coffee, and we were on our way. We rode the Laura B back to Port Clyde and headed for camp.

Our drive up to camp was quite nice. We had the chance to stop at a seaside lobster hut and stuff our faces with lobster, crab and clam chowder. It made for a delicious lunch break. A couple of hours later we arrived at Blue Loon. Shannon wants to take over from here, so this is where I end.

Our delicious lobster lunch.
Our delicious lobster lunch.

Cheers!
Dave