Living on an Island

6 Reasons Why I Haven’t Left the Island in a Month

Living on an Island

The first one is kinda obvious; the rest you might not think of unless you live 12 miles out to sea.

I have a newborn.

Every parent reading this knows how hard it is to go anywhere with a baby and all of his accompanying gear. Now factor a ferry into that equation. And the fact that a round-trip journey from North Haven (above) to the mainland means five to nine hours away from home and the comforts it provides. I have breastfed Austin in every parking lot in Rockland. I’ve changed diapers in the Hannaford parking lot at least two dozen times. Traveling off island was never particularly easy, but now I actively avoid it.

Traveling from North Haven
On the ferry and in the car with Austin

I have Amazon.

“Prime it” is a popular saying in our house. Out of toilet paper? “Prime it.” Down to the last stack of diapers? “Prime it.” Need a wall mirror, bigger baby pajamas, and dish soap in one fell swoop? You get the idea. I honestly don’t know how anyone has ever lived on an island without Amazon Prime.

I have a new perspective on alone time.

Before we had Austin, I would frequently travel to Rock City Coffee in Rockland, order a giant cup of chai, and settle in to write for the day. I relished this opportunity to get out of the house and work in a novel environment. But now, when Grandma comes over to watch Austin so I can work, just going into the next room, alone, is thrilling enough. And I’d be crazy to waste a chunk of this precious time riding back and forth on the ferry.

I hate rough ferry rides.

‘Tis the season for gale-force winds, high seas, and rocky ferry rides. The first thing I do when I wake up is check our home’s weather station. We live in Southern Harbor, a fairly sheltered place, so if I see wind speeds greater than 20 miles an hour, and the accompanying whitecaps on the water, I know that conditions are probably more extreme elsewhere on the bay, and I tend to stay put.

I’m not interested in surprises anymore.

Whenever Austin and I travel to the mainland, unforeseen and unfortunate events always seem to befall us. Most recently, rain that hadn’t been in the forecast started falling when we were on the ferry. With Austin in his carrier, I booked it to the car we keep at the terminal in Rockland — and share with the occasional family member — only to discover that whoever used the vehicle last had locked the keys inside. I nursed Austin inside the terminal while we waited for AAA to arrive; when they did, I ran outside with my shirt half unbuttoned because I was so frazzled!

I have plenty to do at home.

Last month, I wrote about the long list of unfinished projects we have around our house. Well, they’re still unfinished. We are chipping away at stacking wood, finishing our upstairs rooms, and shingling the house. Until those tasks are done, the weekend trips to Portland we used to enjoy will have to wait.

And yet, an island homebody can only hide out for so long. Right now, we are in desperate need of mainland provisions, like fresh produce, and haircuts. And I could really use that cup of chai, which I’m looking forward to sipping with a baby on my lap.

Cover photo of North Haven island submitted by: mansfieldj

How did Laura meet a lobsterman, move to Maine from New York City, and end up with a lobsterboat named after her? She shares her backstory in this video created when she was digital editor at Down East. 


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