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Our First Night on Smuttynose

Author Sarah (right) and companion Molly (left) pose in front of Smuttynose Cove on there second visit to the Isles of Shoals /


Two girls, a spooky attic and a strange island. Celia Thaxter was only nine years old when her parents summered in the Haley Cottage on Smuttynose Island. Here a New England nine-year old Connecticut girl named Sarah, writes of her night in the Haley house and her first adventures on the Isles if Shoals.



I was so excited! The fifth Harry Potter book was finally coming out. My dad, and friends and I were going to camp out in my car until midnight when Border’s opened. It was big news. I woke up the day we were planning to go. My mom is waiting by the bed.

"Do you want to go to Smuttynose?" she asked.

Well, I had heard about Smuttynose before. It was an island off the coast of Maine. For one week over the summer my Aunt Maryellen takes care of the house on that island. It is owned by a museum and has no electricity. Every year my aunt and uncle bring some of my cousins. I never expected to go when I was nine because most of my cousins went at 11 or 12. I was really happy! Then I remembered tonight we were going to the Harry Potter party. A trip to Smuttynose would last a lot longer though. I decided, I’m going to Smuttynose! My little brother wasn’t going so I couldn’t tell him, unfortunately. The other thing I couldn’t tell him was there was a murder on Smuttynose. My mom said Uncle Dennis could tell me more about it.

Haley Cottage with an approaching STorm /

I packed quickly because I really only needed some clothes because I was only staying there for two days. My cousin Molly was coming to Smuttynose also. Her dad, brother, and mom were coming too. My dad was coming, also, of course. It was 8 pm by the time we left home. Molly came in my car. We drank soda, ate pretzels, and talked for three hours. When we arrived at my grandma’s house in MA (where we were spending the night) it was 11 pm.

In the morning, we drove to Aunt Maryellen and Uncle Dennis’s house. We found out that our cousins Thomas and Michael were coming with their dad (my Uncle Tom) too. The neighbors there had a yard sale and I got Andrew a fish toy there. Then Molly and I followed the cat around the yard. One time it sprang up the wall and into the house through a window. (it was open only a crack!) It was creepy. Our aunt said it would take awhile for her to pack so we stayed a bit. Molly, Keegan, and I got ice cream off an ice cream truck. They happened to be giving out free gum that day too. Yay! Then we played monkey-in-the-middle with a tennis ball in the street. It wasn’t dangerous because the street was extremely empty. After awhile my Aunt said to go right to the dock because "awhile" was a lot longer than we thought.


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