Monhegan Island Maine
Monhegan Island Maine Photos
Monhegan is a small island as well as a well-known artist haven that is located 10 miles off the Maine coast.
Monhegan Island - A small, scenic island that provides beautiful access to nature and a serene setting
Here in Maine, some places haven’t changed much since they first began. Monhegan Island, about a square mile in area, is one of those places. This rocky island is located about 10 miles off the coast of Maine and is only accessible by boat. In fact, no vehicles are allowed on the island because there are no roads. The island economy is largely based upon fishing and lobstering much like was in 1614 when John Smith visited and discovered that Native Americans used the land for its bounty from the sea.
Who likes to visit Monhegan Island? People that focus on relaxation over a checklist, like artists and nature lovers, flock to this rustic semi-isolated setting. When you explore this island, you should know that the terrain is fairly rocky and the island itself is very hilly. You’ll need proper shoe attire and will need to give yourself plenty of time to get places.
In many ways, much of Monhegan Island has been left untouched. A major part of the island is designated as a wildlife sanctuary with more than 500 varieties of wildflowers and 200 species of birds. Monhegan has roughly 17 miles of nature trails that crisscross the island, ideal for avid hikers to spend the day outside. Again, the terrain can become rather strenuous to traverse in areas that are extremely rocky and that have steep inclines, so use caution when you navigate the trails.
The best part about hiking up steep inclines (beyond the great workout) is the view. Many of Mohegan's cliffs soar 130+ feet or more above the ocean (some of the highest cliffs of any island on the Maine coast) and provide stunning panoramic views of the Maine coastline. In addition to beautiful landscape, the island offers several quiet and stunning beaches to either relax on the sand or take a refreshing dip in the Atlantic Ocean. The entire island is protected by the Monhegan Associates, in order to preserve and protect the wild lands of the island and the pure way of life. This makes it an ideal place to explore the beautiful dense island woodlands.
Year-round, Monhegan Island has approximately 80 residents, but the population swells to more than ten times that during the summer months. Although the town is small, there are still many unique offerings that visitors can enjoy. The primary focus for guests is obviously the natural attractions. Cathedral Woods, named for the way the tree branches arch like a cathedral, is a serene and gorgeous spot to visit, filled with an abundance of rare plants and flowers. At the southern part of the island, you will find Lobster Cove, a popular place for picnics and bird watching. However, due to the unpredictable nature of the large waves and rip currents, swimming is deeply discouraged.
Many people love to stop by the 1824 lighthouse that still shines boldly into the night, although it has not been manned since 1959. Even though you can’t go to the top of the lighthouse, people will get a panoramic view of the village, the harbor, neighboring Manana Island, the mainland, and the stunning Camden Hills. There is also the Monhegan Historical & Cultural Museum located in the former keeper's house. The first floor is dedicated to the rich history of the island, and the second floor details the flora and fauna commonly found on the island.
Out of all the Maine island communities, Monhegan Island is the most famous. This is because of its traceable influence and inspiration for important works of American art over the years. The Art Colony on Monhegan Island started around the late 19th century when celebrated artists like Rockwell Kent, Robert Henri, A. J. Hammond, and Edward Hopper discovered inspiration in the island’s overall unspoiled and peaceful natural beauty. Kent and Hopper painted their own versions of the Monhegan cliffs that began to attract many tourists to the area. Today, Monhegan is still known for its active art community with many art exhibits, art studios and galleries open to the public during the summer months.
Photos by Bennett Landsman. We would like to thank Bennett Landsman for granting us permission to use his images of Monhegan. You can view more images of Monhegan and Maine by visitng Bennett's Flickr page.