It's got lobsters.
I spent the last two months living in Stonington, Maine, a small island town of about 1,000 people. I’m heading off to my next spot this week, so this post is all about Stonington.
Stonington, on the south end of Deer Isle in Hancock County, is known as the largest lobster port in Maine. In 2016, Stonington’s lobster fishers caught nearly 19M pounds of American Lobsters, during a year that was a historic high for the industry. Since then, catches have declined due to numerous challenges. Adding to this, Seafood Watch recently designated lobster as a food to avoid, a controversal move that has resulted in significant frustration. Gov. Janet Mills called the designation “out of touch with reality,” and “misleading.”
The seafoam green suspension bridge connecting the island to the mainland was constructed in 1939. The bridge is steep and crests at nearly 100 feet over mean water level. There’s a great article in the Island Journal about how the construction of the bridge changed the island. (A lot.)
In the header picture, just off-frame to the left sits the Stonington Opera House. The building functions as a theater, music venue, cinema, and community space. According to a document filed with the National Register of Historic Places, the existing Opera House was built in 1912, replacing a nineteenth century music hall which had burned two years prior on the same site.
The town of Stonington is based on granite bedrock, and one of the closest hikes to downtown Stonington is through an abandoned granite quarry that closed in 1980. (There is also a granite museum in downtown Stonington. I haven’t been, but I’m sure it rocks.)
Not all of the hikes on the island are in granite quarries. My favorite is Barred Island Preserve, which crosses through mossy green woods to a tidal bar, which at low tide is passable on foot and leads to a small rocky island. If you’re thinking about hiking Barred Island itself, pay close attention to tides — at high tide, the bar is under five feet of water.
From downtown Stonington, a year-round ferry services Isle au Haut, a small town on an island of the same name, with about 100 residents. About half of the island of Isle au Haut is part of Acadia National Park, and during the summer the ferry also stops at Duck Harbor Boat Landing, which offers direct access to the park’s trails and campground spots.
Leaving the island of Deer Isle on Rt. 15, about three miles after crossing the bridge is an overlook on Caterpillar Hill. From the overlook, there’s a view of the Deer Isle bridge, Deer Isle itself, the water, and many of the islands in the Gulf of Maine. It’s a beautiful view.
Thanks for reading. Safe travels,
Thanks for reading Lost in the Forest! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.