The Mid-Coast Region: Places to Explore

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Monhegan Island

Simple and artful living is the order of the day on remote Monhegan Island. To get here you'll need to take a ferry. A tiny hamlet greets you at the harbor. There are no paved roads, and everywhere you look artists stand before their canvases, rendering the landscape of serene gardened cottages and rugged coast.

The island was known to Basque, Portuguese, and Breton fishermen well before Christopher Columbus discovered America. About a century ago, Monhegan was discovered again by some of the finest American painters, including Rockwell Kent, Robert Henri, A.J. Hammond, and Edward Hopper, who sailed out to paint its open meadows, savage cliffs, wild ocean views, and fishermen's shacks. Tourists followed, and now three excursion boats dock here for a few hours each day in the warm months when harbor shops and artist studios bustle with activity.

You can escape the crowds on the island's 17 miles of hiking trails, which lead to the lighthouse and to the cliffs, or spend a night and feel some of the privacy that the island can afford. Note that if you're the kind of traveler who likes lots of activities, skip Monhegan. A day trip is typified by a little shopping and a hike across the island to view the bluffs. If the weather's bad, there's little to do. But if you enjoy a good hike, nature, or the concept of an island that's home to just artists and fishermen, the silence and serenity of the high cliffs at White Head, Black Head, and Burnt Head and the serendipitous pleasures that the island creates will be unforgettable.

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