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Around Appledore Island

Appledore Island /


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.

In the Appledore dining hallWe 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. -- JDR

ALSO: How to Get to the Shoals updates
OUTSIDE LINK: Shoals Marine Lab official web site

Arravals pass luggage from ferry at Appledore

Up the hill toward Shoals Mainre Lab campus

Young gulls have right of way

WW2 Observations tower and marine lab

Celia Thaxter garden trellis

Celia Thaxter's garden in Fall on Appledore

Walrus skull outside biology lab

Lobster bouy collage

All photos (c) J. Dennis Robinson /

CONTINUE for more Appledore Island photos

Isles of Shoals Photo Tour (continued)

Appledore Island classroom

Cooking lobsters in Appledore kitchen

Walking around Appledore Island

Back view of Appledore at Isles of Shoals

Bird photography on Appledore

Releasing banded bird at Shoals Marine Lab

Bird banding area at Shoals Marine Lab

Laighton Family Cemetery on Appledore

All photos (c) J. Dennis Robinson /




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