Living on an Island

summer on a Maine island

Planning For an Island Summer Starts — Now!

Living on an Island

Summer is my most anticipated season. Every time I leave the house, I look at my winter coat — still necessary on these 40-degree April days — with dread. Traipsing from my car to our front door has become a game of Frogger. Which deep pockets of mud can I jump over, minimizing the amount of gunk I bring in with me? There is one good thing about a long thaw, however: It gives me time to start my summer prep. Here’s my four-step plan.

Step One: Prep the Mainland Car

It is almost impossible to get your vehicle off North Haven from July through September. If you do manage to get a prized spot on the ferry, which holds just 17 cars, there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to get it back to the island unless you can immediately park it in line on the Rockland side and move it up throughout the day as cars filter on and off the boat. The line can be more than 30 cars long and if your ride is sitting in it, you obviously can’t drive anywhere during the day.

This is why we have invested in a “line soaker,” a.k.a. a mainland vehicle we park in the ferry terminal lot and use to get wherever we need to go in the summer. I keep this car prepped as if a zombie apocalypse might happen. Everything I could possibly need for our son, Austin, is in there: car seat, stroller, carrier, extra outfits, snacks. This way, during the height of summer craziness, all I need to do is walk on the boat with my baby and little else. It makes life that much easier. Nabbing a seat on the deck on warm days, however, is another whole ordeal!

Step Two: Prep the Calendar

This might surprise some of you, but people don’t love visiting us in the winter. As soon as July hits, however, our social calendar is full. I have our guest room ready for every type of friend and family member. There’s a co-sleeper for those with babies, puzzles for kids, novels for friends with free time, and plenty of extra towels and bedding. I’ve already received countless emails from loved ones wanting to book weeks or weekends in July and August — now I need to figure out how to fit them all in. I’ve tried to remind people that September and October are also lovely here but, so far, they’re not hearing me.


Step Three: Prep for Ticks

I have already plucked four deer ticks off our dog and cats and it’s only April. I’m anticipating another bad tick season and having a crawling baby who likes to put every fleck of dirt in his mouth makes me nervous. Since I rarely schedule vet appointments in the summer (no time and I hate corralling the animals on a packed ferry), I’m trying to prep for tick season now. I need to re-order Frontline from our vet and stock up on rose geranium essential oil, a natural repellent. I put a few drops on our dog’s collar every few days — I’m not certain if it does anything, but it definitely doesn’t hurt! If anyone has other tips for keeping these scary critters at bay, please share them in the comments!

Step Four: Prep Myself

Ah, lobstering season. Once April rolls around, it begins. The boat needs maintenance, traps must be tinkered with, and buoys have to be painted. And once that’s all done, into the water it all must go. Lobstering season means I won’t be seeing much of my husband, Alex, for a while. He’s keeping reasonable hours now, but starting in mid-July, he’ll leave for work at sunrise and often won’t get home until after dinner. We enjoy spending lots of time together in the winter when his schedule is flexible, so this switch is something I have to mentally and emotionally prepare for. It’s hard to think about Alex not seeing Austin on the days he gets home past his bedtime, but I try to remind myself that they are thick as thieves during the shoulder season.

Last summer, having a baby and finishing our house kept us busy. And this summer we aren’t slowing down. In addition to navigating the lobstering schedule and hosting a revolving door of visitors, I am opening a store with a friend, where we will be selling my organic skincare products and other island-made wares, including knitted goods, furniture, and clothes. You can check us out on Instagram right here to follow along. And stay tuned next month to learn why entrepreneurship is alive and well on North Haven and in other island communities.

Read more from the Living on an lsland blog.