Saturday, April 1, 2017
Matinicus Island General Information
Matinicus is a small, spruce-clad island of some 720 acres, approximately two miles long and a mile wide. It is located at the entrance to Penobscot Bay, twenty miles south of Rockland, Maine. In recent years the winter population has dwindled to 50 or less, but in summer it increases to about two hundred. Primarily a fishing community rather than a summer resort, it has no hotels, theaters, gift shops or clubs. The island’s uncrowded sandy beaches, quiet woodland trails, rocky shores, and flowering fields appeal to nature lovers and artists. A stay on Matinicus is much like going back in time; it is not the place for those who cannot entertain themselves.
The island has a post office (zip 04851) and microwave telephone service. It has its own power company. Rates are very high but service is dependable and allows the islanders to enjoy all modern conveniences. There is a nondenominational church for which the Maine Seacoast Mission provides summer ministers. There is no island doctor, but there are EMTs in residence. Rapid emergency service to the excellent Penobscot Bay Medical Center is assured. There is usually a nurse on the island to consult in a non-emergency situation.
There are no food stores or restaurants, so most food will need to be brought with you. However, there is a local baker for breads and desserts beginning late June, and chowder and fresh lobster are available from several locals. The Fisherman's Wife is a lovely gift shop located near the harbor, featuring original art and many crafts created by locals. On Wednesdays the Marketplace at the Congregational Church offers hand-crafted items, freshly made sandwiches, coffee, baked goods, and occasionally fresh produce. Crab meat and fresh fish are sometimes available. Wild berries are plentiful in season. WiFi is now available at the new public library, located next to the recycling center.
Besides bird watching, Matinicus is an ideal place for studying wild flowers, ferns, and shrubs; gathering wild mushrooms and berries; stargazing (occasional aurora borealis), and beachcombing. It is an ideal place for painters, writers, and photographers alike. And it is becoming popular for kayakers, too. Sunrises and sunsets can be fabulous. We do, unfortunately, have voracious mosquitoes (bring your bug-dope!), and a certain amount of fog is to be expected.
For more information, and some history of the island, see:
The Islands of Maine, by Hazel Young
The Coast of Maine, by Louise Dickenson Rich
The Maine Islands, by Dorothy Simpson
Matinicus Isle, Its Story and Its People, by Charles A.E. Long
The Salt Book, ed. by Pamela Wood
Portrait of Maine, by Berenice Abbott
Islands Down East, by Charlotte Fardelman
Well Out to Sea, Eva Murray
Islands of the Mid-Maine Coast: Blue Hill and Penobscot Bays, by Charles B. McLane
Matinicus and its neighbor, Criehaven, are the setting for many Elizabeth Ogilvie novels; her popular trilogy High Tide at Noon, Storm Tide, and Ebb Tide in particular.
A note to those with babies or toddlers: We request that you bring cloth diapers (unless you want to take your dirty disposables home with you). You may use my washing machine, but there is no place to get rid of “disposables”. Also a baby backpack is advisable: the dirt roads and woodland paths are not ‘stroller friendly’. Be prepared to separate your trash. We compost all organic waste, and Matinicus has an excellent recycling program.
Don’t forget to bring flashlights, camera and binoculars, if you have them.
Boat trips require warm and waterproof clothing.
If you bring your dog, remember that Maine has a leash law. Your pet must be under your control at all times. Proper disposal of pet waste is expected, especially around your cottage, for the sake of the next tenant.
MODES OF TRANSPORTATION:
Call for reservations and rates
2013 rate, $60 per person (dogs free)
Penobscot Island Air
Rates, one way (subject to change):
$90 individual (ask to share a flight if you are alone)
$60 each for more than one passenger
Matinicus can be an expensive and sometimes difficult island to get to. The flying service cannot fly if it’s foggy or too windy.
George Tarkleson keeps a regular schedule, and is very dependable, but advance reservations are required, as he is limited to a certain number of passengers per trip (though he often makes multiple trips in a day)
Call us for an update