matinicus island

Posted by on Aug 21, 2014 in Island Birthday, Tilbury House, travels | 4 comments

Tilbury House editor Audrey Maynard asked in April if I’d illustrate a picture book set on an island? YES. Written by Eva Murray? DOUBLE YES. I’ve enjoyed her colorful voice since reading her local columns and hearing her speak on Peaks Island about her book, Well Out to Sea a few years back. I handed over my book dummy for “Island Birthday” in mid-July, and now seemed a good time to combine research with a family field trip.

The contrasts between Peaks Island and Matinicus abound: Peaks gets 16 ferries every DAY, each trip about 15 minutes one way. Matinicus gets 30 ferries a YEAR, each trip about 2 hours one way. We left our car at the Maine State ferry terminal in Rockland and boarded the MV Everett Libby.

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We soon passed Owl’s Head Light during a break in the clouds.

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I sketched a passenger who obviously has made this trip before.

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Marty kept his gaze on the open seas.

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Matinicus, about 23 miles out, looks rather flat upon approach.

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The harbor is all about lobstering.

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Eva kindly gave us a ride to the Tuckanuck Lodge, run by Bill Hoadley, a native of Nantucket who once lived on Peaks Island before settling here in 1987.

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This charming old house is filled with antiques and stories.

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Making calls on this rotary was a nostalgia trip.

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Simple luxuries: curling up to read.

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We set out for Eva’s bakery, taking in sights like this, an island motto for all. When you’re this far out, everything counts.

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What kid can resist a real jungle gym? The island school, K – 8, is in need of students. It’s a complex juggle once they reach high school.

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Waste not = public art!

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We bought postcard stamps to check out what’s inside the PO.

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The real hub is Eva’s bakery where her sweet treats are a big draw. Her Jeep’s license plate reads ALL YEAR. It’s a small band of strong souls who live here year ’round.

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She pointed us towards the shore for a picnic with our stash of groceries bought on the mainland, fortified with her fresh bread and cookies.

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We marveled at the snowy moss while nibbling berries along the path.

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One spectacular picnic destination, all to ourselves.

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We enjoyed every bite of the island.

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After gathering later for a hearty social hour with Eva’s circle of neighbors, we returned to the Tuckanuck for dinner.

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We dined with Bill and then went for a walk in the utter darkness, unpolluted by street lights. Matinicus is a Plantation, with it’s own power company. Problems? Call Eva’s husband, Paul Murray. While we were out walking, he got the water running again at the lodge.

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Bill’s call to breakfast at 7 AM is opera. He shared one of his Ground Hog newsletters, in which he wrote, “I wake my guests each morning with the sound of angels. It’s Franck’s “Panis Angelicus”…I want my guests to think they’ve died and gone to heaven.” He’s found his on Matinicus, and only leaves the island about 4 times a year, for a haircut, doctor appointment, or visiting folks.

After filling up on his homemade English muffins, we drew sitting in weathered chairs on the lawn. I drew Bill’s dog, Sandy, who keeps him on his toes with her barking alerts.

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This is a fellow lodger’s dog, Emma, a snuffly pug who spends the day keeping Sandy company while he’s out hauling.

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Daisy drew Marty waiting for us to be ready to roll.

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We walked to Markey Beach and Marty drew this.

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I christened a new set of travel pastels.

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But it was more fun to explore the breakers and wharves.

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We kept seeing planes fly by, a much more common access to the island than the ferry.

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We walked to the air strip, past the church that doubles as a phone booth.

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This narrow dirt runway keeps the island alive.

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With no planes to watch, we found another trail. These are NOT blueberries, but some brilliant unidentified fauna.

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The rocks at West Point look like petrified wood.

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What’s the secret of this ancient boulder?

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We needed more cookies, and headed back to Eva’s bakery, past stunning patches of dahlias everywhere, planted back in 1903.

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Bill served a classic meal that night.

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With fog rolling in, we spent the evening browsing his ample library, finding this gem from 1889.

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Daisy documented a ton of startling illustrations like these.

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Our departure the next day came too soon.  After one more trip to the bakery for donuts, Eva’s husband, Paul, gave us a lift to the air strip. I’m a nervous flyer, but this cheerful Island Spirit made me smile.

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Thanks to our Penobscot Island Air pilot, Roger, we had a smooth flight back to Knox County Airport in Owl’s Head.

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There’s that boulder at West Point.

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More islands closer to Rockland….trying to figure out which ones.

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Upon landing, we snacked on Eva’s donuts and caught a Schooner Bay taxi back to our car in Rockland. Heading down Route 1, we stopped at this landmark truck which appears in my sketches for “Island Birthday.”

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Turns out the nearby sculpture garden was OPEN for the first time in our travels. These pieces caught my eye, an inexplicable ladder near a bed of decayed wood blanketed by moss.

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The amazing artist, Jay Sawyer, came out to chat and share what he was working on in his shop. A fine way to conclude our trip, with inspirations of rusty metal and woodsy dreams.

Now it’s back to the drawing board, with Matinicus on my mind.

 

4 Comments

  1. I always LOVE your posts, Jamie:)

  2. THANK YOU for the vicarious visit to a place I’ve yearned to see. It’s just as wonderful as I imagined. I love alone places… Happy alone… Beautiful journal, thanks again for sharing!

  3. Time to leave my first comment as I am so loving this post and simply must “give back” if only in words of praise and gratefulness for all that you continue to share here on this most wonderful of blogs. Thank you so much! Oh – I am fairly certain that those blue berries are Clintonia, also know as Blue Bead Lily; they have a tiny yellow lily-like blossom in the spring.

    • Thank you, Gretchen! Your kind words are appreciated, and I’m especially grateful for the identification of the Blue Bead Lily!

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