Quaint, just like it must have appeared 100 years ago, quiet, colorful, beautiful, produces good genes
Few lodging accommodations on the island (also considered a plus), no nightclubs if you're the nightclubbing type
A great way to spend a lazy day and gorge oneself on the best lobster rolls in Maine!
Granted, the beach combing here may not be as easy or as profitable as it is in more sandly locals, however, it can still be fun. I enjoyed finding the artifacts of lobstering, such as the lobster traps washed ashore in the picture below. I even brought a couple lobster trap bouys home with me and they are hanging in my garage as a souvenir. I...more
It is rather difficult to swim in the ocean on Vinalhaven Island (believe me I tried). The water is extremely cold even in the summer due to the ocean currents sweeping down out of the north. Besides the cold even, the shallow areas of around 15 feet or less of water have prolific seawood growing from the ocean bottom. It doesn't sound that bad...more
Overall, I was slightly disappointed with the amount of wildlife I saw while on Vinalhaven Island. There was some fantastic birding, I saw a couple harbor porpoises, lobsters (caught), and some tidal pool inhabitants, but that was really about it. Oh, and this crab pictured below. I saw him while wading (the water's coooold) around a tiny sand...more
One of my favorite things to do while at Vinalhaven was to kayak out to uninhabited islands and explore them. I know it sounds crazy, but when you are out there completely alone it feels as if you are the first person to walk upon that soil. At least until you find a stray lobster bouy or plastic bottle. Nevertheless, it is still rather amazing in...more
In my opinion, the areas around Vinalhaven Island and Acadia National Park represent some of the best eastern U.S coastal kayaking opportunities available (the only other comparable area would be the Everglades area of Florida). The combination of numerous uninhabited islands coupled with the rugged and relatively remote nature of the coastline...more
There are about 16 preserves/parks to hike or explore on Vinalhaven Island. We explored about five of them; Huber Preserve and Lane's Island Preserve being our favorites.We biked to Huber Preserve also and had the entire place to ourselves one beautiful afternoon. We took a short hike through the Preserve's beautiful conifer forests out to the...more
Lane's Island Preserve is a great destination regardless of whether you are spending the entire summer on Vinalhaven Island or a single day. In fact, I think it is a must see for those only spending one day on the island. My wife and I rode our bikes to the Preserve and then took off hiking. First, we pretty much hiked the entire perimeter of the...more
So, what exactly is a lobster roll anyway? I know this sounds like a stupid question to you New Englanders, but you have to understand that when Californians hear "lobster roll" they envision lobster with farmer's market organic ingredients such as avocados, tomatoes, cilantro and scallions, tightly wrapped in a flour tortilla, diagonally sliced in...more
Right on Main Street this Vinalhaven gem is always delicious. Open in the season and into the fall. Run by Tori and Dennis Pratt. Tori is also the womens high school basket ball coach. She is the chef and has the great creative ability to make dining fun. From fish to soup to deserts it all couldn't be better. I really feel you can't go wrong with...more
I imagine that residents of the island appreciate going out for a dinner of something other than seafood, especially if you fish for a living. That is probably The Pizza Pit was started. We noticed that they have a special dinner every 3 days or so. When we were there it was meatloaf and mashed potatoes for a little while and then it was a Mexican...more
There isn't a lot of restaurant variety on Vinalhaven Island, but that isn't all bad because it means there aren't that many tourists. There are three readily available restaurants in the town of Vinalhaven, the Harbor Gawker being the best among them for seafood. We picked a table in the very back of the restaurant so that we could watch the tide...more
The best place to eat on Vinalhaven is the Harbor Gawker. It's a little place on Main Street with a few tables where you order from the counter. The menu is eclectic with a huge focus on seafood and lobsters. I didn't know it when I ordered and ate it, but this is the place where I ate the best lobster roll I would find in Maine. Yes, even this...more
The only way to get to Vinalhaven is by ferry. You catch it at Rockland (not Rockport, which is a few miles to the north, as my husband insisted - good thing I was driving and knew where I was going). No reservatons are required if you are going without a car. Mind you, these are tiny ferries. If you want to take your car, you'd better make your...more
The best advice I can give is arrive early- you must be in line 30 minutes before departure time....be patient.....and bring a snack.....and a ginger pill from the health food store taken 15 minutes before departure will help with any sea swells.When you drive up get into the VH line with your car before buying your ticket. The line can fill up...more
I should emphasize that the return trip to Rockland from Vinalhaven operates in the same way. You must have a reservation for the return trip or wait in line and hope for the best. Locals say that frequently a return spot for your vehicle to the mainland is harder to get than to the island.The Navigator Motor Inn is a good place to stay in Rockland...more
Vinalhaven's population is only 1200, so the main street in town is rather short. You won't find the endless souvenir shops here that you can find in Bar Harbor (thank goodness). We did find a nice shop for Maine souvenirs (focusing on - of course - lobsters). It also had the most delicious fudge. I wish I could remember the name of the shop, but there are so few, I'm sure my description will lead you right to it. When you are leaving the ferry terminal, head to town (just follow the people). The shop is on the north side of the main street, and is one of the first shops you will reach once you get into the commercial area.
What to buy: Of course I had to get a Vinalhaven T shirt. And some delicious fudge, which was the best we found in Maine.
In an area where everyone either is in the lobster business or is related to someone who is, what do 4th graders on Vinalhaven write about when they are given a creative writing assignment? Being a lobster, of course! I found the cutest link to stories written by 4th graders at Vinalhaven School: Island InstituteMy favorite was written by Hilary...more
What do you do if you are a small island off the coast of Maine with a small population and you have only only two churches? You have one church that is run by a man and caters to only one faith, and then you have another that is inter-denominational, open to all religions and you put a woman in charge. The Union Church of Vinalhaven has been open...more
One thing you won't see on Vinalhaven are sandy beaches. That is because they are all granite rocks. In fact, Vinalhaven is just one big huge granite bump in the sea. Aside from lobstering, its largest industry historically was granite quarrying and cutting. The first granite was quarried in the 1820's and found to be a very high quality. Large...more
When hiking or exploring the beaches- mosty rocky ones.....be on guard for the seaweed covered rocks.....they are VERY slippery.....and the wet darkly colored ones are slimy and slippery too. Use cation when jumping from rock to rock or climbing down to the edge of the sea. One can easily end up soaked because of a slick step. Don't forget that the water is extreamly cold too.
Luggage and bags:
pack light if you are walking on the ferry on a day trip...the village is about 4 blocks from the ferry.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Bring layers of clothing....when the sun goes behind the clouds the temp can drop 15 to 20 degrees.....add in wind chill and water temps it can be down right nippy out there.....
The temps can range 20 degrees also from mid island to the shore.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: band aids......
Photo Equipment: as much as you can carry... this is a very beautiful island. Don't miss Lane's island.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: There are many summer rental houses here.
Miscellaneous: The weather changes very quickly here so be ready for the hot sun to the cool clouds and fog banks.
Staying for a week on Vinalhaven is like living inside a Norman Rockwell painting. The people are friendly, the town is charming, life's pace is comfortable here. The 4th of July parade is America at it's best. The town is centered around a harbor filled with a large lobster fleet. If you like nature there are numerous walks through out the island. Lane's Island is a very beautiful walk highlighted when the sun is out and the wild flowers are in bloom. You must leave your city pace behind and slow down to read a book you've never had time to jump into or catch a sunset and a sunrise while listening to the sea gulls cry.
On your way by ferry to Vinalhaven, you'll notice many brightly colored buoys floating in the ocean. They get denser as you approach the island. Being landlubbers, it took my family a couple of minutes to figure out what these were. They're lobster buoys, marking the location of the lobster cage. Each lobsterman (or lobsterperson, to be PC) is...more