Maine Places

Monhegan Island

Monhegan House Tour

Maine Places

Mark and I visited Monhegan island the other weekend and the whole time we were there, all I could think was, “I’m walking around in a Jamie Wyeth painting.” Arriving on the ferry, we sailed past the columned home featured in Wyeth’s Partridge House, Monhegan Island, Maine, and docked near The Red House, with its intriguing pavilion dotted with porthole windows:

Monhegan Island Houses

We hiked for hours along the island’s massive cliffs on a gray, wind-whipped day similar to the one Wyeth depicted in Seawatchers, wandered around the white-clapboard schoolhouse and keeper’s house immortalized in Schoolhouse, Monhegan, July 4th and Monhegan Bell respectively, stopped to admire the stately Federal seen in Kyle and the Influence, and headed out to Lobster Cove to catch a glimpse of Kent House, the cottage built by artist Rockwell Kent and now owned by Wyeth.

Monhegan Island buildings

“The problem with Monhegan is that it is such an emblematic place,” Wyeth has said, explaining why he, like Kent, has eschewed “the typical things of buoys hanging and fishermen and that sort of thing” in his work. I, too, found myself as taken in by the less-celebrated aspects of island life — the yellow-lichened roofs and patterns of new and weathered shingles decorating the homes — as I was by the picturesque, lobsterboat-dotted harbor and sweeping water views. And so, while Mark’s phone is filled with ocean scenes, mine is packed with simple, beautiful Monhegan houses — see some my favorites below. Together, I think we got the full picture.

Monhegan House
Monhegan House
Monhegan House
Monhegan House
Monhegan House
Monhegan House
Monhegan House
Monhegan House
Monhegan House
Monhegan House

Have you been to Monhegan? I’d love to compare notes in the comments.

 


29 Comments

  1. Stunnig, sparse illuminating photography.

    Best,
    Steve Chisholm, Esquire

    PS the Wyeths were loyal patients of my father, Dtr. Robert S. Chisholm.

    • Sarah Stebbins

      How cool, Stephen! And you are so kind to always leave such positive feedback. Thank you!

  2. Anne Pappalardo

    I was there for the first time the last weekend of Sept. I posted “It’s like living in a painting.” Wyeth, Hopper, Winslow-esque images abound. I was lucky enough to stay two nights and cross Cathedral Woods early to catch Black Head in the early morning light. My photos, just taken on my phone, are breathtaking. Can’t wait to go back and take my adult sons.

    • Sarah Stebbins

      Great minds think alike, Anne. 🙂 I was also thinking I’d love to bring my sons out there…when they’re older. The hiking, etc., isn’t super little-kid friendly. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.

  3. I’ve been there five times and loved every adventure. It always feels like going to Brigadoon to me. My hubby and I both enjoyed taking photos of the houses, the harbor, flowers and the lighthouse. We stayed at Shining Sails B & B for two nights on our second visit. Hope I’ll have a chance to go out there again!

    • Sarah Stebbins

      Five times! How luck you are, Betsy. I’ll have to check out Shining Sails the next time we visit. Thank you so much for sharing that!

  4. Jean Bonnyman

    Monhegan is true Maine to me in so many ways, right down to the smallest details as you described.
    Hopefully it can stay as it is for years to come.

    • Sarah Stebbins

      I hear you, Jean. Thank you so much for taking the time to write.

  5. Judy Ellery

    Just a little history. I loved the photo of ‘The Influence’. My great grandmother was born Nellie Cate Trefethen. Her father was George L. Trefethen, Jr. who was my great great grandfather. His father was George Trefethen who was my great great great grandfather. George bought half of his fathers’ (Henry Trefethen) mansion ‘The Influence’ for $10.00 in 1829, and the western half from John Baxter for $1,700.00 in 1840. I was fortunate enough to have toured the house a while back. I love Monhegan Island.

    • Sarah Stebbins

      Wow, that is amazing Judy! I had seen photos of that house before (and obviously the painting) but this was my first time seeing it in person. When did the house pass out of your family? And what was it like inside? I’m so curious! Thank you so much for writing.

  6. Sarah

    My fiance and I sailed there from the mainland in our 19’ boat in 1995. We walked around the island, loving every second of being there…in fact, about a year later we went back via the mail boat out of Port Clyde and got married out on the bluffs. A very special place, beautiful photos, great memories!

    • Sarah Stebbins

      Oh, my, Sarah, that is amazing! What a place for a wedding — and to celebrate an anniversary. My husband and I went to celebrate our ninth wedding anniversary. 🙂

  7. Helen

    It’s a magical place and I’ve visited with my husband and niece several times in over 25 years. We used to make it an annual event, but physical limitations have changed that now. However, your photos prove that time can stand-still as I remember fondly all you have shown. May it always remain as untouched and respected by visitors.

    • Sarah Stebbins

      I’m glad to have stirred up some happy memories, Helen, and I sincerely hope you are able to make another trip. Thank you so much for writing and all my best.

  8. Linnea Fleishour

    For many years, sailed around Monhegan, never went onshore. In 1982 ,my teenager was going thru challenging times, so planned a mother/daughter trip downeast,time for listening and enjoying the beautiful Maine coast. There were so many great stops in the 5 days, bed and breakfasts, a sunrise atop Camden Hills and a day on Monhegan, walking all over the island. Our favorite stop was at Jamie Wyeths studio, where he was painting that day. Before we left, I took a photograph of the beautiful lighthouse and the sky, and had and had an artist friend paint me a georgeous copy of the photo. It hangs in our livingroom today, and I must say it’s been admired by our family and many friends

    • Sarah Stebbins

      That sounds like a tremendous bonding experience and how cool that you got to see Wyeth painting! It sounds like you have a lovely keepsake too. Thank you so much for sharing.

  9. I have one more week in Maine, but I’m not sure how to get to Monhegan. Are ferries still running? Do I have to spend the night there? If you have any info on how I can get a late-October schedule, please send. This place seems amazing.

    • Kathleen Cinquino

      There are boats to Monhegan out of Port Clyde, New Harbor and Boothbay Harbor. I think Port Clyde goes daily, the others may be on off season schedule. Usually on island about 4-5 hours unless you want to stay over. Just Google and you will find info. Wish I was going with you. It is a magical place!

      • Thanks so much for the info. We took Monhegan Boat Line that left Port Clyde at 10:30 and returned at 12:30. If we hadn’t been lucky enough to get a cottage through Shining Sales, we would have had only about 45 minutes on the island to see the lighthouse, etc. As it was, however, we spent the night and caught the 12:30 out the next day! Almost a whole 24 hours. Since almost nothing was open, we spent time hiking to the cliffs past the lighthouse the first day and then to Lobster Cove after seeing the sun rise over the lighthouse the next morning. What a great place! I hope it never gets “fixed up.”

        • Sarah Stebbins

          Yay, I’m so glad you made it out, Rusha. I hope you found enough to eat! I would like to go back when more things are open, but I think hiking around is the best part. Thank you so much for sharing about your trip.

    • Sarah Stebbins

      Hi Rusha,

      Kathleen is correct about the Port Clyde boat. The one we took from New Harbor is no longer running. The inn and other businesses on the island shut down after Columbus Day weekend, when we were there, so I’m not sure if it would be possible to stay over. But you could certainly take a day trip. There is a coffee/sandwich place by the ferry dock, and a general store, that are open year-round. Let me know if you make it out — it IS magical.

      • Sarah, thanks for the info. We took Monhegan Boat Line on a Monday morning at 10:30, spent the night in a cottage at Shining Sails and sailed out on Tuesday at 12:30. With only one in and one out ferry excursion per day, we were lucky to find a place open that would let us spend the night; otherwise, we would have had only 45 minutes to tour the island. Not enough at all!!!! Would give anything to go back and stay a week. I loved the place!

    • Sarah Stebbins

      Wow, your photos are beautiful, Anne! Much more so than mine. 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing.

  10. Painting on Monhegan is a must if your an Artist, I have had the pleasure to do a workshop and also a week being among artist, we would get up every day and set out on our own way packed with art supplies and lunch of course, at the end of the day we would get together and show the results of a days paintings !

    • Sarah Stebbins

      That sounds sublime, Pamela. You are so lucky to have had that experience. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Richard Mason

    When we were kids in the fifties we spent many hours sitting on a porch in Chamberlain looking at Monhegan through a very powerful set of binoculars our father brought home after the Second World War.
    It wasn’t until 2016 that we finally made it out to the island . A couple of nights on the top floor of the Inn looking out at sunset made the wait worthwhile .
    I must concur …………The only single word I can think of to describe the place is ” magical ”
    I hope the place never changes !

    • Sarah Stebbins

      Wow, how cool that you finally got to make the trip, Richard. We also stayed at the inn and I am already dreaming of going back. Thank you so much for reading and sharing your experience.

  12. Diana Mullins

    When I visited and toured the schoolhouse, I remember seeing an autograph book belonging to Anna Trefethern. It was filled with lovely sayings. Has it been digitized?

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