The Magic of Monhegan

“Monhegan is magical! It can penetrate your soul if you let it and will then beckon you to return. It is a place for renewal and balance. I go to Monhegan to “unplug” from all that is hectic so I can connect and focus on the rhythms of nature. Being on Monhegan allows me to then get back in touch with myself and what truly matters. One week a year is the best mental health check-up ever!” Molly Tarleton, summer visitor

I was 22 years old the first time I came to Monhegan for a summer a job at The Island Inn. Immediately I tuned into this magic that Molly so eloquently wrote about. Over the past fourteen years I have continued to nurture and learn about this special quality and magic that Monhegan offers. The ‘magic’ is in the stillness, quiet, beauty and nature. Free from distraction, a person can tune into oneself more easily and reconnect with what is truly important. I aid people in getting deep with this connection by offering yoga and meditation on a regular schedule May-October.

“I always find beauty in things that are odd and imperfect, they are much more interesting.” Olivia Eplan, former resident

Artists are attracted to Monhegan not only for the long tradition that Monhegan has as an artists’ colony but also for the challenge of capturing the essence of Monhegan with paint, brush and canvas. The landscape is dramatic and light can be elusive but Monhegan is more than that; it is the community, the people, the heart that most artists are trying to capture.

“Monhegan, where I go to both find and lose myself. “ Joyce Blackney, summer visitor

The Monhegan Associates, Inc. maintain approximately 13 miles of walking trails for visitors to ‘lose’ themselves on. Trails lead to some of the highest cliffs in New England where a person can get ‘lost’ in the sound of the waves lapping on the rocks below. Pebble Beach is a favorite destination for getting ‘lost’ in perusing pebbles. Pebbles of all sizes, shape and color are found here, the largest one being at least 3 feet high. If you prefer you can even get ‘lost’ in the woods as you wander among the fairy houses.

“Monhegan is a place where we have made memories, new friends and visited with old friends, both as a couple and with our kids. What an amazing place to be able to host all of those awesome experiences!” Bree Gillespie, summer visitor

July and August are when most of the families are on Monhegan, creating a wonderful adventure for children of all ages. It is so fun to watch great groups of kids playing at the beach or playing a game I have never seen anywhere else, poison ball, on the lawn of the Monhegan Church. Families come year after year at the same time creating their own community and friendships that extend beyond Monhegan.

“When the psychiatrist asks: close your eyes and visualize your most restful spot: always on the front porch of our house on Monhegan looking at the ocean.” Miki Partridge, home owner

There is not one front porch on Monhegan with a bad view. Whether you come out for one of my retreats at The Trailing Yew or rent a house from Monhegan Cottage Rentals, Lisa Brackett, or Shining Sails, you will have a wonderful place to kick up your feet, sit back and relax with a cold drink. Sit and be quiet or visit with family and friends into the night. The Monhegan House, The Island Inn, The Hitchcock House, and Tribler Cottage are all venues for overnight stays.

“Monhegan is a place that is not easily accessible physically but when I close my eyes It’s so easily accessible visually.” Lynn Bailey

Monhegan is the type of place that sticks in a person’s bones for the rest of their life. My Aunt Fern who visited the island once for a day-trip never stopped talking about how special her time was on the island. Monhegan was even mentioned in her eulogy. Even if you are only able to come to Monhegan for a short time, you can carry it with you for a lifetime. Day trips are available from Boothbay, New Harbor and Port Clyde.

“There are many great people that live here and that come to visit . But the ones that live here know how hard it can be to live here. Its like one big family there is always someone to lend a hand if needed. And just like every family or most family”s You dont always get along but if your in a time of need there is always someone there to help. I love monhegan and all its people. And its a safe place for kids to be able to play out side walk down the street with no worry”s. There is allway”s someone watching. I am so lucky that i moved out here.” Rusty Spear, resident

The people are a huge part of what makes Monhegan special. Last May Yankee Magazine published the article Art and Artists of New England Islands, the author, Edgar Allen Beem highlights the tradition of Monhegan artists and the draw of artists to the people of the island not just the physical beauty. There are currently approximately 45 people who live year-round on Monhegan. Monhegan Island Sustainable Community Association works hard to create opportunities for more people to live and raise their families in this special place.

Visual artists are not the only artists attracted to Monhegan, writers and musicians also find their muse here. Ruth Ann Szostek shared the following poem with me:

Monhegan Memories, to go

Warm summer morning, just the hint of a breeze,
Bright sun, illuminating your beauty,
Standing among other sojourners,
on a vessel that sliced through a liquid glass sea,
I am immersed only in you and me.

My heartbeat quickens as ropes are tossed and secured.
In just moments, I will enter that weather-beaten threshold….
Up I will climb into my “other life,”
as I walk into your embrace.

Left behind, between this wharf and the mainland,
are all distressing cares and dark cloud thoughts.
Now, sound of trucks struggling to make the hill,
gulls crying out overhead, voices around me,
yet all the while, the underlying soothing softness
of your voice,
“Welcome back, dear friend.”

So the feast for Soul begins,
each moment savored in its time,
each taste of it seasoned for the senses,
fully enjoyed.
Each in its bounty of joy, packaged carefully to endure,
I begin tucking them away.
Memories to go, now carried safely within, held in my Soul,
nourishment for the time after departure.

And so today, in another time and place,
far from your shores, Monhegan,
I feast again.
By R A Szostek

These are just a few of the reasons Monhegan is magical, I invite you to come and explore the magic yourself sometime. Contact Monhegan Wellness with any questions about visiting the island.
Tara Hire, CHC 200RYT 207-594-0707