3 Reasons to Visit the Isles of Shoals

Isles of ShoalsThe Isles of Shoals are composed of nine isles off the coast of New Hampshire and Maine. And although they seem within your grasp as you stand on the edge of the sea at Portsmouth, the isles are actually six miles off the coast, and here I give you three very good reasons to find a boat and make your way over the water to see them.

1.) It’s haunted.

As I had a ghost hunt during the rehearsal night for my wedding, this, of course, would be my number one reason to visit one of the most beautiful places in New Hampshire. The Isles of Shoals has had the honor of hosting a number paranormal investigations on its rocky shores. Some notable ones from the Sy-Fy Channel’s Ghost Hunters and Stranded had this writer in awe of the isles and prompted a visit to the place in late summer many years ago. And so, if you are keen to see a ghost, venture out across the water from Portsmouth and see what you may find along the rocky shores of the isles.

2.) It’s historical.

chapelCaptain John Smith (yes, the very same one you may have heard in a story about Pocahantas) first discovered the islands in 1614. When you step off the boat at Star Island, the Oceanic House, the grand hotel on Star Island, will welcome you, and onto its sweeping porch, you will step into a past period, wrapped in nostalgia and rich with history. Its large interior rooms and sweeping architectural details will remind you of a time long ago when the island drew such visitors as Nathaniel Hawthorne. Join in the daily tradition of carrying lanterns up the same craggy path to the chapel where once people carried whale oil lamps at the close of day. Where ever you turn and where ever you look, something of history will return your gaze on the Isles of Shoals.

3.) It’s heavenly.

weddingJust off the shore of Portsmouth, the Isles of Shoals provides a view unrivaled in New Hampshire. From it’s crags and hilltops, you can scan the watery horizon or view the place where you have been, on a clear day, seeing as far as the city of Portsmouth, resting gently along the seacoast. With its distinctive architecture, both as a witness of a by-gone era and as testament to the harsh life on an island outcrop, the isle has something of beauty for everyone. And if you’re lucky, you may just happen upon a wedding. And on those occasions, the isles puts on its best Sunday clothes for a grand party sure to bring a smile to your face.

Star Island is accessible from mid-June to mid-September and can be accessed by tour boat or by private vessel. Enjoy a meal at the Oceanic House, visit the Rutledge Marine Lab or the Vaughn Cottage Museum, or just climb its rocky banks in search of a piece of New Hampshire’s history. But be ware. You may bring a ghost back with you.

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