Published November 15th, 2011
Just off the coast of Northport, the tranquil island of Islesboro divides East and West Penobscot Bay. Known for its welcoming community and scenic natural surroundings, the island draws scores of tourists each summer. Board a ferry in Lincolnville Beach, and 20 minutes later you’ll arrive on its shores.
Among the yearly visitors are a handful of celebrities and wealthy individuals who have built private residences along the coastline. Kirstie Alley, John Travolta and John P. Morgan are all said to have summered on Islesboro, spending the warmer months with its 650 residents and enjoying the traditional New England atmosphere. Very little on the 14-mile island has been commercialized, so you won’t find many boutiques or restaurants, but the locals organize art and music events throughout the summer.
Take a stroll or bike from one side of the island to the other, a quick jaunt spanning fewer than three miles. Be sure to check out the 160-year-old Grindle Point Lighthouse overlooking Gilkey Harbor, with its unique pyramidal tower, and stop by the Sailors’ Memorial Museum tucked into the keeper’s house.
For nature lovers, Warren Island State Park, located just off the southern side of Islesboro, can’t be missed. Its more than 70 acres are reachable only by private boat and no phones are available, making it a peaceful escape for an afternoon visit. For a longer stay, set up camp at one of the dozen campsites or three Adirondack shelters overnight.
Islesboro is accessible year-round by the Maine State Ferry and private water taxis.