Fodor's Expert Review Isles of Shoals
Four of the nine small, rocky Isles of Shoals belong to New Hampshire (the other five belong to Maine), many of them still known by the earthy names—Hog and Smuttynose, to cite but two—17th-century fishermen bestowed on them. A history of piracy, murder, and ghosts suffuses the archipelago, long populated by an independent lot who, according to one writer, hadn't the sense to winter on the mainland. Celia Thaxter, a native islander, romanticized these islands with her poetry in Among the Isles of Shoals (1873). In the late 19th century, Appledore Island became an offshore retreat for Thaxter's coterie of writers, musicians, and artists. Star Island contains a small museum, the Rutledge Marine Lab, with interactive family exhibits. From May to early October you can take a narrated history cruise of the Isles of Shoals and walking tours of Star Island with Isles of Shoals Steamship Company.