Passage tickets to Vinalhaven IslandThe mid-coast region of Maine is a near labyrinth of inlets, coves, peninsulas, bays, harbors and islands. We have explored a number of areas attached to the mainland but had not yet ventured out to sea to see what we could see of the islands of Maine. We had been showing some mid-westerners around and thought, to make their visit complete, we should bid farewell, at least temporarily, to the mainland and head like real explorers into the East, into the sea, into the islands. So on a sunny Atlantic morning we booked walk-on passage on a ferry bound for Vinalhaven!Rockland ferry dockRockland ferry dock loading
Walk-ons load first on these ferries and from our vantage point we could watch all the cars, trucks, and commercial vehicles load one by one. Vehicles loading ferry to VinalhavenFerry departing to VinalhavenAbout thirty seconds after the last vehicle loads the engines roar and the ferry churns away from the dock!Rockland Breakwater LighthouseWe steamed past the Rockland Breakwater Light and then Owls Head lighthouse.On the top deck of the ferry to VinalhavenIt got more and more chilly as we ventured from the coast. The hardy mid-westerners were unaffected after their negative fifteen degree winter and enjoyed the coastal sunshine!Approaching VinalhavenAfter only an hour and fifteen minutes we were approaching Vinalhaven.Boats on the coast of VinalhavenThe harbor is home to one of the largest lobster fleets in the U.S.Looking at a map of VinalhavenWe selected a route of exploration that included the town’s main street, a few side residential areas and a quick look at Armburst Hill Wildlife Preserve. We were only able to see a small bit of the island but it makes for a great day trip from the mainland. DSC_1028Evidence of the booming lobster industry is everywhere. It accounts for about one half of the island’s employment. The town is home to restaurants, shops and lodging for the many tourists that visit in the summer. Since it is still pre-season we explored unhindered by summer crowds. The island is beautiful and genuine. There is no sense that it is just set up for tourists. It feels like a real working island community that just happens to be so clean and charming that it attract tourists too. Lobster cagesOld house on VinalhavenThe island is also known for the quarried stone it exported until the 1930’s. If you have ever wondered how people, before the advent of modern mechanized equipment, moved around cut stones that weigh more than a ton, just imagine draft horses attached to one of these and Amber at the reins or wheel?!Amber 'driving' old vehicleIt is still the off season so dining options were a little limited. We opted for the great view and privacy of this fine establishment.Lunch spot with a viewWe finished lunch just in time to catch our ride back to the mainland. (In addition to more sun and Atlantic breezes, the return trip included a little napping on the lower passenger deck).Rockland/Vinalhaven ferry DSC_0971As we mentioned in our last post, our time in Main is almost over. We are going to venture north from here. There is so much to experience in this great state and we are going to see some more of it (and share it with you of course!). We plan to make our way west, traveling just north of the great lakes through Canada, eventually making our way back to Washington state. There, we will spend a couple of weeks getting ready for our next journey before setting out in early June. I don’t want to give away where we are headed just yet but Amber was very excited when she spotted this town here in Maine!DSC_0539