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Quaker Friends on Appledore 1872
Shoals_tourists / SeacoastNH.comISLES OF SHOALS

This article comes directly from a Philadelphia Quaker publication. We love the enthusiasm and description and the rare items not seen in print since 1872. This article also shows us the wide-ranging appeal of the Isles of Shoals as the burst of tourism in the Seacoast region was just picking up steam. (Full reprint below)

a religious, literary and miscellaneous journal, Volume 26
edited by Samuel Rhoads, Enoch Lewis
Philadelphia, Sixth Month, 21, 1873

Transcribed courtesy of

"Where shall we go? That is the question: some change must be tried; but where, in this sultry summer, is there any really health-giving place to be found?"

"Appledore!"—some one said.

"Appledore!—What is it like? Who would go to that barren rock in the Atlantic?"

"Yes—but Appledore is always cool." And so it was decided.

Leaving the damp, hot air that neutralized the beauty of our suburban homes, and following the well-known route eastward, we began to feel a reviving influence as the cooler wind blew into the car windows from New York harbor. The passage up the Sound in the capacious and well-appointed steamer was fine—splendid sunlight and sunset,—and then the moon rising clear and nearly full. All the party enjoyed it; and soothed and trustful feeling stole over us with the beauty of receding shores and the wide extending sea. At 5 A. M., we anchored at Fall river, but some delay in the train prevented our reaching Boston in time to make the connection for Portsmouth, and we remained there, perforce, till next day.

A two hours’ ride next morning brought us to Portsmouth, where a clamorous cry of "Isles of Shoals" drew us to the coaches waiting to convey travellers to the stout little steamer that plies daily between that city and Appledore. In an hour after leaving the wharf the whistle was blown, once for the steamer, and once for every ten passengers on board; the anchor was thrown out, and yawls were seen pulling towards the side. The mail was handed over to the carrier, who darted off in his skiff, and the passengers were seated in the boats and quietly lauded on the slip running down from the low rocks that form the cove of Appledore.

This is such a tiny island that, at first, one feels as though a sudden storm might wash it all away; only a half mile long and three-eights wide—but the granite girdle is taut, and we soon become assured. How restful! to be for once where there are no towns, no mills, no roads, no farming, no work of any kind visible—where everything wanted comes as if by magic, with nothing to offend the eye, or to break in discord on the ear. And then, the air! Yes, it is all that we could wish.

Appledore and Haley belong entirely to the Laightons. Thomas Laighton purchased the former, and made it his residence, for twenty-five years never leaving it for the mainland. At one time he had been interested in politics, but becoming disgusted retired to these islands with his family. His lonely grave is near the house, marked by a simple, yet substantial monument. His widow still presides over the establishment, but she seldom makes her appearance among the visitors, although her kind and cheerful face is always welcomed with pleasure. Oscar and Cedric Laighton are true "lords of the isles," and their legislative and executive abilities are fully equal to their position.

The hotel buildings cross a gorge that nearly divides the island from east to west; they can accommodate over five hundred persons, and are connected by piazzas more than seven hundred feet long. A green sward extends from the hotel to the landing, where a pavilion is placed to shelter those who incline to sit and watch the vessels and scenery beyond. Our apartments have windows opening to the north, west, and south. As I look westward at this moment, the steamer lies ready for departure, white sails are dotted about, and row-boats are plying to and fro.

The day after our arrival we took our first sail. The wind was fine, the sun bright, and the sea smooth enough for pleasure. We enjoyed skimming over the water, and passing from island to island till they were left behind, and there was nothing but the bounding waves between us and the shores of Europe. At that moment a storm blew up— thunder growled overhead, lightning flashed, the big drops fell on our yacht, and the wind caught its sail. In a wink the ladies crept into a cabin, large enough for as many dolls.

G drew on a fishing suit and helped to lower the sail, but this was not done till we were well scared by the boat tipping over. Happily the storm did not last long, and when the rain-water had been wiped out with a sponge we gladly resumed our seats in the open air. The wind died away and we had to tack slowly homeward; when ashore again we walked to our lodgings.

Yesterday the breakers were fine on the eastern cliffs. E and I walked over to see them. The green waves curling over so crisp and cool, then leaping up the rocks in clouds of spray, were enticing, but the impulse to rush into them was repelled by the savage aspect of the deep ocean. Last night there was a magnificent sight. Climbing high enough to see all round the island, and seating ourselves among the lichens, we watched the glory on sea and land, and the over-arching dome of splendor. On our left lay Star and Haley, Cedar and Londoner's, and White island, the light-house flashing its red and white torches; before us "eight miles of undulant gold" and the mountainous coast; while far to the north, were Boon island light and the shores of Maine.

In various expeditions we have explored this little region thoroughly. Although at first sight it is only a heap of crags, we soon find that the gray rocks are covered with lichens of all shades and colors ; their clefts are fringed with delicate grasses and flowers, and in all parts Appledore is full of nooks and tiny glens filled with bright green sod of richest white clover, beds of blue flags and clumps of wild roses. The gorges are gay with thistles and hypericum, and yarrow, golden-rod and asters, among which brilliant butterflies flit, or poise on the blossoms.

We rise in time to breakfast at half past seven ; the heavy sleepers being awakened by a reveille' from a cornet that goes round in some magical way' from stair to stair. A bucket of fresh sea-water stands at the chamber-door, in which to polish the red and white that grow clearer in this healthful atmosphere. The long, well-lighted dining-room is punctually filled with animated groups around the bountiful tables, discussing their plans for the day]s occupation as they sip their tea or coffee. The morning goes by in sailing, fishing, walking and gathering bouquets or shells and sea-weeds, reading, sketching, fancy-work or croquet. Dinner is at one, and then we write, nap, or spend the time in some other unaccountable way till an early tea at six. The evening is the chief time for social intercourse, for strolling, rowing, or sitting on the rocks to watch the sunsets and their phenomena. One night we had fire-works from a rock lying a little way out to sea. They were fine, and the effect so beautiful as to spoil us for looking at them anywhere else. The music-room opens on all sides into the breezy piazzas. These form the grand promenade, where one is entertained with noting the variety of characters drawn together in this unique resort. Here come a father and daughter in deep mourning, with thoughtful faces, and form and air that inspire respect; a group of fashionable young ladies follows; then a husband and wife that walk with the steady step of those conscious of the sunshine of prosperity, and strong in confiding love and parental authority. A troop of girls in white frocks, pink and blue sashes, and long curls, step joyously along, occasionally teased by some genial grey-beard. Young men away from college labors, or escaped from mercantile pursuits, have thrown off their fishing costume and come out for an evening’s social pleasure. Here, too, are artists, making sketches of maritime scenery for use in their city studios ; poets, drinking inspiration from nature; orators, renewing their exhausted powers ; naturalists, collecting treasures from cliff' and cove, and travellers, who sometimes open their sketch-books to share with others the views of Alp or fiord that they have brought away with them in outline and color.

NOTES FROM APPLEDORE. (Concluded on next page)

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