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Top 3 most beautiful offshore Maine islands?

New York City, New...
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Top 3 most beautiful offshore Maine islands?

Just for fun, I'd like to hear people's opinions regarding the three most scenic Maine islands - places with stunning natural beauty that are not connected by road to the mainland and manage to stand out even when considering the many gems up and down the coast. A brief explanation for your picks would be great, too, if you feel up to it.

Obviously, this is a highly subjective question with no right or wrong answer. I'm just interested in seeing if there's anything even remotely approaching a consensus on this matter.

No matter what, I think we can all agree that Maine sure is a gorgeous state!

Edited: 14 August 2013, 11:30
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1. Re: Top 3 most beautiful offshore Maine islands?

I read about Moneghan a lot in my research. I didn't make it to any islands, but now I have the same question you do! (for my next trip which I'm already planning!) I'm curious to see how others respond!

Bar Harbor, Maine
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2. Re: Top 3 most beautiful offshore Maine islands?

Monhegan Island and Isle au Haut are my picks, for their unspoiled beauty. I've never been to Vinalhaven, but my impression is that it is very much more populated than some of the other islands. I've never been to Isleford, but my impression is that there is very little public access, the waterfront having been bought up by summer cottages.

Swans Island, accessible by auto ferry from Bass Harbor on Mount Desert Island, is sparsely populated and very beautiful. But, again, there is very little public access to hike or stroll. There is a nice lighthouse. There is a pretty cove with lobster boats on moorings.

Little Cranberry (also called Isleboro) is nice. There is a small village, two or three shops, a nice restaurant on the dock, and roads to walk down to the water. No mountains and an active lobstering community with traps and warps laying about here and there.

Isle au Haut is 50% owned by Acadia National Park. One can take a ferry, in the summer, to Duck Harbor, which is the end of the island owned by Acadia. There are some very good hikes along there and lots of public access to the shore. You can also take a mail boat to the town landing on Isle au Haut. There is a grocery store and a chocolatier. One can even hike the perimeter of the island on the public road.

Monhegan Island is a lobstering community in the winter and a artist colony in the summer. It has a very nice little village, with about 2/3 of the island left as wild land with hiking trails. Access to the rocky shore line is very good. There is also a dense forest on the island where there is a tradition of building little fairy houses. The coastline is very dramatic -- hence the artists. There are two or three places where you can get lunch, a lovely old inn, an art gallery, a light house, a museum at the lighthouse, an interesting graveyard, and good accessibility to everything. It's the smallest of the islands mentioned -- only about a mile long and a half mile wide. The ferry to get there is an hour or more long, past lots of little islands. Gorgeous.

New York City, New...
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3. Re: Top 3 most beautiful offshore Maine islands?

Thanks so much for the extremely helpful and detailed reply! Much appreciated.

I'm probably going to Isle au Haut and Little Cranberry Island (mainly for the restaurant) during my upcoming Maine trip - can't wait.

Edited: 15 August 2013, 15:06
Kittery, Maine
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4. Re: Top 3 most beautiful offshore Maine islands?

As a native Mainer I'm ashamed to say I have not been to any of those islands listed above - and it's time to do something about that! Monhegan in mid Sep might be just the thing. Going to have to check out the inn and ferry schedule.

Thanks Bonnie - that was a very informative posting.

5. Re: Top 3 most beautiful offshore Maine islands?

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