Wander with us along the rocky dirt roads on Appledore, just off the coast of
Portsmouth. Appledore is actually in the state of Maine and is now primarily the
center for the marine biology classes run by Cornell and the University of New
Hampshire. It isn’t easy to get to, but equally hard to forget.
MORE on the Isles of Shoals
Unless you own one of the few private summer homes or attend the Shoals Marine
Lab summer school, you are unlikely to see much of Appledore Island. Conference
visitors from Star Island nearby get a weekly walking tour, but the island takes
time to assimilate.
We were there one September offering a weekend seminar in Shoals history and
lore. That gave us time to get the lay of the land, which is tricky. Appledore was dominated by a large wooden hotel from 1847 until the beginning of the 20th century when it burned. What once was the busiest area is now the sleepy backyard
where the generators hum and the birds are banded. Besides Ceila Thaxter’s revived garden, a few stone hotel foundations and the Thaxter family cemetery,
that era of the island has been washed away by time.
The action now happens up the dirt toad from the dock where the marine biology
students hold classes and work in the research labs. The theme has shifted from
the arts to science, so the island is kept lush and wild. Students and instructors
live on-island in a grouping of weathered dorms and houses. The food is excellent,
the accommodations rustic and, unless the mosquitoes are swarming, life is beautiful.
As with the other Isles of Shoals 10 miles out to sea, each day is fascination
light show. There is usually a cool breeze and, despite its small size, the island
offers a array of moody terrain. But we’ll just let the pictures tell the tale.
ALSO: How to Get to the Shoals updates
OUTSIDE LINK: Shoals Marine Lab official web site
All photos (c) J. Dennis Robinson / SeacoastNH.com
CONTINUE for more Appledore Island photos