Tuesday, May 27, 2008


High: 63 F
Low: 42 F
Conditions: S Winds 5-10 knots; Seas 5-7 feet with 10 foot swells

One of our favorite places in all of Maine is Monhegan. Located 12 miles off the coast, this island was one of the very first settled in all of North America: first, historians think, by Vikings, and later by pre-colonial fishermen and whalers. Now, Monhegan Island is home to 40 permanent residents, many of whom are lobstermen, along with a handful of artists and, of course, summer tourists.

We visited Monhegan over the long weekend to stay with friends. They've rented the same house--owned by one of the island's artists--for 25 years now. Our guide (both spiritual and terrestrial) was their dog, Paco, one of Ari's favorite gentlemen callers.

Paco took us on a tour of the island, which still maintains its nautical traditions, both in terms of its working waterfront

And its commitment to preserving the history of its fishing past (note sailor cat in the image below).

Today, many of its visitors spend their time birding. While we were on the island, warblers made a particularly strong showing--especially the magnolia warbler (Dendroica magnolia) in all of its yellow finery.

Our personal favorite inhabitants of Monhegan, however, are a different kind of winged creature entirely: fairies (Sylvanus fairianus).

For over a century, scholars speculated that Monhegan might, in fact, be the island where Prospero was banished in The Tempest. That theory was later debunked, but not for lack of Calibans and Ariels. The island's fairies (and there are rumored to be many of them) live in the Cathedral Woods, an old growth forest on the northern tip of the island. There, they build dozens of elaborate abodes like this one:

No one is quite sure when the fairies first arrived or how populous they are in number, but the fairies are serious about their settlements. And, just like the fairies of tales and legends, they are known to exact sharp and creative punishments against those who fail to follow their fairy laws while in the forest. You can imagine my horror, then, when the brazen caninaturalist stole a feather from this woodland house:

Unfortunately, I didn't notice until we were 20 feet down the trail, and by then it was too late: we were cursed for sure. I've been sleeping with one eye open ever since we returned: sooner or later, we're bound to be the victims of a little mischievous retribution of the fairiest kind. We'll keep you posted--assuming we're still able!


Ferndoggle said...

Monhegan looks dreamy! And that Paco ain't too shabby either.


Khyra The Siberian Husky said...


Woo khan't be khursed!!

How about a khanine dispensation?

Welkhome bakhk!


JB's Big World said...

Monhegan looks wonderful! Only 40 people live there? What a great place to spend time. I like Ari's friend Paco, and of course I like the sailor cat too!
Interesting about the fairies.

umekotyan said...

Good evening Ari.
beautiful monhegan.
The travel with the friend is a treasure house of the enjoyment.
Bard watch is good when there is a new discovery.
And, there is the enjoyment of the celestial observation not forgotten.
As for the heavenly body in the place where air is beautiful, it can know our small size and
the mystery of existence by clearing completely.
Here, a past history is recalled. :)

from loved ume tyan

The Army of Four said...

That place does look magical!
We found an "abode" right in our own yard! Not built by fairies, but by a birdie. Stop by and check it out.
Play bows,

Rhea said...

What a neat island! I'd love to explore it with Paco and Ari. Great pictures. I love the fairies too. :o)

Island Rambles Blog said...

Naughty Ari, but she cannot be cursed...I love the photos of Monhegan, would love to go there one day.. it is so much fun for me now to see all these places these wonderful bloggers are showing me...your blog is so addictive, I love it.

Gunner said...

Well those fairies or whatever they are shuldn't be leavin their stuff laying around to trick innocent wanderers....I think they did it on purpose!

Ari, stand guard!


Maverick the Pirate said...

Harrrr Ari
looks like a nother place for yer Cap'n to stop by when sailing The Good Ship Mavericks run Harrrr.
Cap'n Maverick the Pirate

Gary,Charity,Katie&Louis said...

We are hoping that the wrath of the faeries doesn't come down on you. Best of luck to you after stealing that feather.

You asked about Liriope. It is a flowering grass like plant which is very easy to care for and can survive being trampled by 100+ pound dogs :-)
Here's a link to some pictures:

Marigold said...

Time to leave out the milk, cake and Peanuts for sure!
By the way, Ari. That Paco is quite the man, even if he isn't a goat.

John Theberge said...

I'm a lifetime Mainer and I've never been to Monhegan but it seems like its a nice place, guess I'd better make it there one day.

Eve said...

There must be a way to appease the fairies!!! Maybe your beautiful post on them will suffice!!
We're all believers now!

Kodak the Eskie said...

Hi! I'm Kodak. Stopped by your blog the way of JB's Big World. I really like your blog!! Stop by and say hi sometime.

Hugs, Kodak

Gus and Louie said...

Monhegan looks wonderful.. You are so lucky...

You need to stop on over and visit Baby Love. She is not doing so well.


Kapp pack said...

Mom says that's one of the places in Maine she has wanted to visit. Now it's definitely on her must visit list next time they go to Maine!

WOo woo, Kelsey Ann

Kodak the Eskie said...

Yes, please link us to your page and we'll link you to ours!

Hugs, Kodak

Kodak the Eskie said...

Yes, please link us to your page and we'll link you to ours!

Hugs, Kodak

Kate said...

Looks lovely there. Reminds me slightly of some of the beautiful islands off the (Atlantic facing) west coast of Scotland.

Pippa and Katherine

Amici said...

Monhegan looks beautiful. We've never been but we have friends/family that love to visit there.

Fairy houses are so neat. Another great place with nice view and fairy houses is Mackworth Island in Falmouth, ME

Sandpiper said...

Stunning scenery! This looks like a fantastic place! I'm itching to get back up to Maine again to visit my family.

Anonymous said...

What an interesting trip you had! Paco looks quite handsome in that picture! I know you all had a great time.

Dan said...

Monhegan is a very special place indeed. Your photos are beautiful!

I once took my fifth grade class out there on a field trip. What a fabulous day that was! Cathedral Woods was a favorite. If you have planned to visit the island you must go!

If you want to learn more about life on Monhegan look for a book entitled, "Ben of Old Monhegan," written in the early 30s by Sidney Baldwin of Boothbay Harbor. Sidney (a woman) based the book on childhood stories told to her by islanders who were in their 80s and 90s in the 30s. Now that's going back! There is a sequel of sorts entitled, "Marjorie of Monhegan," this time based on a young girl's life on the island. Both books are out of print, but if you search hard enough, you'll find them. I absolutely treasure my copies.

Dan of Henbogle