Big Rock Candy Picnic on the Shoals
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Written by SeacoastNH Archive

roasting marshmallows on Isles of Shoals / Portsmouth Presents
Historic Portsmouth #418

Your humble historians are just off the boat from our annual week in the Haley Cottage on Smuttynose Island at the Isles of Shoals, arriving just in time for another holiday. With the supersonic jets gone and the fireworks toned down, what better way to celebrate our independence than with a quiet marshmallow roast on the coast?  (Continued below)


At least that’s what these young ladies with shiny new wrist watches appear to be doing at the Isles of Shoals. We know nothing more about this turn-of-the-twentieth-century candid photo from the Star Island Collection. In the nineteenth century, according to, “marshmallows were made by mixing mallow root sap, egg whites, and sugar into a fluffy mold. The French added cornstarch to help speed up the production and give the candy its unforgettable form.”  (Courtesy Portsmouth Athenaeum)

Marshmallow roast on Star Island, Isles of Shoals (c) Portsmouth Atheneum Portsmouth Athenaeum