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The Star Island Experience

Program Number: 21155RJ
Start and End Dates:
8/24/2013 - 8/30/2013;
Duration: 6 nights
Location: Isles of Shoals, New Hampshire
Price starting at: $875.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Natural History Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 17; 6 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 6 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Nestled among the Isles of Shoals of New Hampshire, Star Island is testament to the old ways of living and the history of New England. Experience this special environment – listed on the Nation Register of Historic Places – during naturalist-led walks, seaside art classes and quiet moments spent rocking on the porch with spectacular ocean views. Learn about the island’s role in the fishing and Victorian resort industries, explore landmarks including the Star Island Chapel and the Vaughn Cottage museum, discover how the island is moving towards sustainability in its facility system, as you settle into the gentle rhythm of island life.




Highlights

• Spend your days surrounded by the sea and stroll where artist Childe Hassam, resident poet Celia Thaxter and writer Nathaniel Hawthorne once created their works.
• Join the curator of Vaughn Cottage for a historic look at Star Island, followed by a behind-the-scenes look into the utilities that keep the island running today.
• With an island naturalist, explore the island flora and learn about the edible and medicinal plants growing at the Isles of Shoals.



Activity Particulars

Walking over uneven or rocky terrain; getting on/off boat.



Coordinated by Star Island Conference Center.




Isles of Shoals

Ten miles off the coast of New Hampshire, the Isles of Shoals are a group of nine small islands. The isles were once a popular retreat for artists and writers such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Celia Thaxter made them famous through her poetry. The Shoals Marine Laboratory and Star Island’s conference center occupy the isles today.



Accommodations
Built in the grand hotel era of the 1800s, the rustic Oceanic House and adjacent cottages provide modest, character-laden lodging for those who appreciate experiencing the authentic past. Most rooms have shared baths; separate shower facility; showers available every other day; not all rooms are equipped with electrical outlets.
Meals and Lodgings
   The Star Island Conference Center
  Star Island 7 nights
 The Star Island Conference Center
Type: Conference Center
  Description: Access to the island is by boat only. Arrive between 11:00am and 1:00pm at the Isles of Shoals Steamship Company dock in Portsmouth, NH, to meet the Road Scholar Coordinator. Boat fares will be paid on island.
  Contact info: 30 Middle St.
Portsmouth, NH 13801 USA
phone: 603-430-6272
web: www.starisland.org
  Room amenities: There are a limited number of rooms equipped with electrical outlets. If you require use of an electrical outlet within your room (for health reasons), be sure to indicate that within your registration. Heating elements are not permitted in rooms.
  Facility amenities: Oceanic House, built in the Grand Hotel Era of the 1800s, houses the main lobby, dining room, bookshop, gift shop, and sleeping quarters. A hotel annex, a number of small cottages and stone buildings, and several motel-style units provide additional guestrooms and conference meeting rooms.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Bathroom: Showers are normally available three times a week.
  Additional nights prior:  Although we are unable to accomodate visitors before or after the program, there are many accommodation options available in Portsmouth, NH. Please see free time listings.
  Check in time: 10:00 AM
  Additional nights after:  Although we are unable to accomodate visitors before or after the program, there are many accommodation options available in Portsmouth, NH. Please see free time listings.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Arrive at the Isles of Shoals dock (315 Market St.) in Portsmouth, NH between 11:00am - 1:00pm. Boarding begins at 2:00pm, with a boat departure at 2:25pm. You will be staying at The Star Island Conference Center that night.
  End of Program:
The boat departs from Star Island at 11:45am to return to Portsmouth, NH at 1:15pm. You will be staying at The Star Island Conference Center the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Parking in lot at boat dock. Cost $10 per vehicle per day or any part of a day.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Star Island
  Nearest city or town:  Portsmouth, New Hampshire
  Nearest highway: I 95 and Route 1
  Nearest airport:  Manchester, NH
  From End of Program
  Location: Star Island
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Boston, MA

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Public Transportation
C&J Trailways
phone: 800-258-7111

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$24.00
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

1.25 

 

Distance:

 

60 miles

   

C&J Trailways drops off at the Pease Transportation Center in Portsmouth (185 Grafton Road). There is a free trolley bus providing transportation to downtown Portsmouth (then a 5 minute walk to the dock). Taxis can also be called to meet you once you deboard from the bus.

 

Boston, MA

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Public Transportation
Greyhound Bus
phone: 800-231-2222

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$15-23
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

1.25 

 

Distance:

 

60 miles

   

Greyhound Bus drops passengers in downtown Portsmouth (a 5 minute walk to the ISSCo dock).

 

ISSCo dock

 

From Bus Terminal

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi
Anchor Taxi
phone: 603-436-1888

 

ISSCo dock

 

From Bus Terminal

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi
Blue Star Taxi
phone: 603-436-2774

 

Manchester, NH / Boston, MA

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Flight Line Airport Express
phone: 800-245-2525
Advanced Reservations Required

   

www.flightlineinc.com

 

Manchester, NH / Boston, MA

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Commercial Van/Shuttle
Seacoast Airport Service
phone: 866-431-1580
Advanced Reservations Required

   

www.transportnh.com

 
Driving Directions
  Boston, MA Take 95 North to New Hampshire, take Exit 7 Market St. Take a right at the end of the ramp, follow approxiamately 1 mile. The Isles of Shoals Steamship Company will be on the left.
  Portland, ME Take 95 South to New Hampshire, Exit 7 Market St. Take a left at the end of the ramp, follow approxiamately 1 mile. The Isles of Shoals Steamship Company will be on the left.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival, Check-in, Registration, Introductions & Orientation, Welcome Dinner, Candlelight Service
(Saturday, August 24)
   
 Afternoon: FERRY: Arrive at the dock in Portsmouth (315 Market St.) between 11:00am-1:00pm. Boarding begins at 2:00pm.

Upon arrival to the dock on Star Island, you will be greeted by a member of the staff. It's a short walk up the dock to the front lawn, where you will enter the lobby of the hotel to check-in.

REGISTRATION: When you get your room assignment, you will receive your welcome packet that contains your name tag, updated schedule, and other important information we will review during orientation.

INTRODUCTIONS & ORIENTATION: 4:00pm. Meet and greet your fellow participants and the program staff. After introductions, we will have an informative overview of the program, review the updated schedule, cover responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

SCHEDULE: The schedule that follows is representative of the kinds of activities and events that make up the Star Island experience. The actual order and content will vary from program to program. We will review the specifics of each program during orientation.

ABOUT STAR ISLAND: Rugged and rustic Star Island is located ten miles off the coast of New Hampshire. It is the second largest of the nine islands that make up the Isles of Shoals. Its historic Oceanic House and adjacent buildings become the village home for thousands of visitors each summer. The nonprofit Star Island Corporation has owned and operated Star Island since 1916, providing affordable individual and family retreats from June to September. And because Star Island has historic connections to Unitarian Universalism and the United Church of Christ, it has a liberal spiritual quality that is renewing and uplifting.

 Dinner: Dinner is in the hotel dining room. Meals are hearty and satisfying home-style cuisine served family-style. Vegetarian and gluten-free options are available with advance request.
 Evening: CANDLELIGHT CHAPEL SERVICE: These optional chapel services are a cherished tradition, held at the close of each day. We gather at the end of the porch, form double lines, and receive candle lanterns we carry just as villagers of long ago carried whale-oil lamps. At the sound of the Chapel bell, we climb up the winding path in silence. Inside the chapel, the lanterns provide the only source of light, and no word is spoken except for the words of the service until we return. Over the years, people from many countries have taken part in and have carried away the memory of a quietly impressive experience.

The remainder of the evening is yours to relax with new friends and settle into the gentle rhythm of island life. Star Island is many things to many people: a source of spiritual renewal, enriching experiences, educational programming, relaxation, and fun. The island's tranquility and natural beauty offer a calming retreat from hectic life on the mainland. We hope you, too, will find special meaning here.

   
Accommodations: The Star Island Conference Center
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Daily Morning Options, Art Workshops, Low Tide Walk, Meditation Session, Social Hour, Candlelight Chapel Service
(Sunday, August 25)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast is a buffet in the hotel with a variety of choices from cold cereal, oatmeal, fruits, toast and bagels, to a hot cooked item for the day.
 Morning: Note: The activities described for this morning are typical daily options. What is actually available each day may depend on weather or other local circumstances.

BIRD WALK: Early mornings are a time of peak activity for many species of birds. Every morning at 6:00am, there is a guided bird walk for those birders who want to begin their day this way. Binoculars, birding guides, and birding checklists are available for use. For information about birds of Star Island, see: http://www.shoals.org/birds-of-star-island/

POLAR BEAR DIP: If you’re a swimmer, you might want to join the Polar Bears for a morning dip in the ocean at 7:00am -- so invigorating, hardy souls are awarded a special certificate at the end of the week.

MORNING COFFEE: Early risers are welcome to enjoy coffee, tea, and hot chocolate on the porch to rock and watch the day begin before 8:00am breakfast.

ART WORKSHOPS: This popular activity can involve various mediums and forms depending on your skills and interests.

 Lunch: Lunch is in the hotel dining room. Served family style, enjoy a variety of simple lunches ranging from soup and sandwiches to Mac-and-Cheese.
 Afternoon: LOW TIDE WALK: Led by the Island Naturalist, learn about tidal processes, explore intertidal zones, and observe the animals and organisms found in each. Specimens are often collected and brought back to the marine lab for study.

MEDITATION SESSION: Learn some meditation techniques for de-stressing and achieving a more balanced outlook.

SOCIAL HOUR: Relax with new friends and talk over the day as you share a beverage or snack.

 Dinner: Dinner is in the hotel dining room. Meals are hearty and satisfying home-style cuisine served family-style. Vegetarian and gluten-free options are available with advance request.
 Evening: CANDLELIGHT CHAPEL SERVICE: As you join together for this time of quiet spiritual contemplation, be aware of history as well. This meetinghouse built in 1800 is the third structure to stand on the highest point on the island. The first was built in about 1685, the second in 1720 from the timbers of a Spanish ship. Each meetinghouse has served the Islanders according to their needs, as chapel, schoolhouse, town meeting hall, courthouse, and even as a storehouse.

The remainder of the evening is yours to relax with new friends and feel the gentle rhythm of island life.

   
Accommodations: The Star Island Conference Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Daily Morning Options, Art Workshops, Star Island Exploration, Behind the Scenes, Meditation Session, Candlelight Chapel Service
(Monday, August 26)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet is in the hotel dining room with a variety of choices from cold cereal and oatmeal, fruits, toast and bagels, to a hot cooked item for the day.
 Morning: DAILY MORNING OPTIONS: Wake to the sound of the gulls, then enjoy a Bird Walk, Polar Bear Dip, Morning Coffee, and/or Art Workshops.

PRESENTATION: Sustainability. Led by the Island Naturalist and Facilities Superintendant, learn about and discuss the Isles of Shoals environment and sustainability practices for the future.

 Lunch: Lunch is in the hotel dining room. Served family style, enjoy a variety of simple lunches ranging from soup and sandwiches to Mac-and-Cheese.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Led by the Vaughn Cottage curator, we will explore and learn about the history of Star Island and the Isles of Shoals from the 1600s to the present.

BEHIND-THE-SCENES: After our historical exploration, we will go behind the scenes to see how Star Island works today with a member of the staff to see the power plant, water and waste water systems, kitchen, Pelican areas, laundry facility, and more.

MEDITATION: Practice your meditation techniques for de-stressing and achieving a more balanced outlook.

 Dinner: Dinner in the hotel dining room. Meals are hearty and satisfying home-style cuisine served family-style. Vegetarian and gluten-free options are available with advance request.
 Evening: CANDLELIGHT CHAPEL SERVICE: While Star Island is founded on the liberal spiritual ideals of Unitarian-Universalism and the United Church of Christ, people representing a variety of beliefs and approaches to spirituality are drawn here to share in the spirit of the island.

Spend the remainder of the evening relaxing with new friends amid the gentle rhythm of island life.

   
Accommodations: The Star Island Conference Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4:
(Tuesday, August 27)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast is in the hotel dining room with a variety of choices from cold cereal and oatmeal, fruits, toast and bagels, to a hot cooked item for the day.
 Morning: DAILY MORNING OPTIONS: Wake to the sound of the gulls, then enjoy a Bird Walk, Polar Bear Dip, Morning Coffee, and/or Art Workshops.

PRESENTATION: Historic Star Island Conferences. Star Island Conferences are well-known and run the gamut of topics and imagination. You will have a special opportunity to be included in one of the sessions at no additional cost. Previous conferences have addressed topics such as “The Secret Lives of Birds and Turtles,” “The Amazing Sea,” “Inner Peace Healing Arts,” “Understanding the 21st Century Media Culture,” “Building Resilience in Changing Times,” and “LGBTQ Transitions and Transformations.” 2013 will be completely new and we will post specific information as soon as finalized.

 Lunch: Lunch is in the hotel dining room. Served family style, enjoy a variety of simple lunches ranging from soup and sandwiches to Mac-and-Cheese.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Geology Walk. Led by the Island Naturalist, learn about the fascinating geological processes that have shaped the Isles of Shoals into the islands they are today.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Appledore Island. This 95-acre island lies six miles offshore. It is leased by the Star Island Corporation to Cornell University, which operates the Shoals Marine Laboratory (SML) — as a living learning center for undergraduate education where exceptional faculty from institutions throughout North America teach marine science. We will make the trip aboard their boat, the 43-passenger "Kingsbury."

Led by the Vaughan Cottage curator, our exploration will include some of the SML facilities as well as the restored garden of poet and author Celia Thaxter (1835-1894).

Celia Thaxter planted her famous cutting garden in front of the cottage described in her book, “An Island Garden,” illustrated in color with the work of American impressionist artist Childe Hassam. Celia described the 1893 garden in detail, listing 57 varieties of flowers and describing 24 other plants that could be added during the summer season. The flowers decorated her cottage, especially the parlor, which became a salon for the notable writers, musicians, and artists who summered on the islands. Replanting the garden is an annual event and continues throughout the summer. The garden is maintained with the help of area garden clubs and volunteers in addition to SML students.

 Dinner: Dinner is in the hotel dining room. Meals are hearty and satisfying home-style cuisine served family-style. Vegetarian and gluten-free options are available with advance request.
 Evening: CANDLELIGHT CHAPEL SERVICE: Affirming the inherent worth and dignity of every person.

STAFF VARIETY SHOW: The Pelicans. This show features a number of musical acts, skits, and usually culminates in a performance by the Pelican Chorus, led by their Music Director.

“Pelican” is an affectionate term for the nearly 100 people who work on Star, often returning year after year. In 1924 two members of the island kitchen staff brought a small awkward sailboat out to the island named “The Pelican”. The staff allowed to use the boat were referred to as “The Pelican Club”. From that day forward the Star Island staff was known as “The Pelicans.”

   
Accommodations: The Star Island Conference Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5:
(Wednesday, August 28)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet is in the hotel dining room with choices from cold cereal and oatmeal, fruits, toast and bagels, to a hot cooked item for the day.
 Morning: DAILY MORNING OPTIONS: Wake to the sound of the gulls, then enjoy a Bird Walk, Polar Bear Dip, Morning Coffee, and/or Art Workshops.

PRESENTATION: Historic Star Island Conferences. Star Island Conferences are well-known and run the gamut of topics and imagination. You will have a special opportunity to be included in one of the sessions at no additional cost. Previous conferences have addressed topics such as “The Secret Lives of Birds and Turtles,” “The Amazing Sea,” “Inner Peace Healing Arts,” “Understanding the 21st Century Media Culture,” “Building Resilience in Changing Times,” and “LGBTQ Transitions and Transformations.” 2013 will be completely new and we will post specific information as soon as finalized.

 Lunch: Lunch is in the hotel dining room. Served family style, enjoy a variety of simple lunches ranging from soup and sandwiches to Mac-and Cheese.
 Afternoon: MEDITATION: Practice your meditation techniques for de-stressing and achieving a more balanced outlook.

SOCIAL HOUR: Relax with new friends and talk over the day as you share a beverage or snack.

 Dinner: Dinner in the hotel dining room. Tonight is LOBSTER NIGHT! (If you're not a lobster lover, there is an alternate menu for you.) The lobsters come from a local lobsterman; he and his family own and live on Cedar Island, connected to Star by a breakwater. Enjoy this delicious delicacy from the sea with true connoisseurs.
 Evening: CANDLELIGHT CHAPEL SERVICE: Reflect on meanings and values.

Spend the remainder of the evening relaxing with new friends amid the gentle rhythm of island life.

   
Accommodations: The Star Island Conference Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6:
(Thursday, August 29)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet is in the hotel dining room with a variety of choices from cold cereal and oatmeal, fruits, toast and bagels, to a hot cooked item for the day.
 Morning: DAILY MORNING OPTIONS: Wake to the sound of the gulls, then enjoy a Bird Walk, Polar Bear Dip, Morning Coffee, and/or Art Workshops.

PRESENTATION: Historic Star Island Conferences. Star Island Conferences are well-known and run the gamut of topics and imagination. You will have a special opportunity to be included in one of the sessions at no additional cost. Previous conferences have addressed topics such as “The Secret Lives of Birds and Turtles,” “The Amazing Sea,” “Inner Peace Healing Arts,” “Understanding the 21st Century Media Culture,” “Building Resilience in Changing Times,” and “LGBTQ Transitions and Transformations.” 2013 will be completely new and we will post specific information as soon as finalized.

 Lunch: Lunch is in the hotel dining room. Served family style, enjoy a variety of simple lunches ranging from soup and sandwiches to Mac-and-Cheese.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Botany Walk. Led by the Island Naturalist, explore the island flora and discuss edible and medicinal plants native to the Shoals.

SOFTBALL: Enjoy a friendly game with Road Scholar participants vs. the Pelicans — a long-standing tradition.

EXCURSION: Ghosts and Graveyards. Spooky or historical, we will visit the island’s cemeteries led by the Vaughn Cottage curator .

 Dinner: Dinner is in the hotel dining room. Meals are hearty and satisfying home-style cuisine served family-style. Vegetarian and gluten-free options are available with advance request.
 Evening: CANDLELIGHT CHAPEL SERVICE: The final service of the program — until next time.

Spend the remainder of the evening relaxing with new friends amid the gentle rhythm of island life.

   
Accommodations: The Star Island Conference Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7:
(Friday, August 30)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast is in the hotel dining room with a variety of choices from cold cereal and oatmeal, fruits, toast and bagels, to a hot cooked item for the day.
 Morning: DAILY MORNING OPTIONS: Wake to the sound of the gulls, then enjoy a Bird Walk, Polar Bear Dip, Morning Coffee, and/or Art Workshops.

WRAP-UP & FAREWELLS: We will gather informally on the porch to share our favorite experiences of the program before saying goodbye to new friends.

DEPARTURE: 11:45am.

We hope you have enjoyed the Star Island Experience and will return for other rewarding Road Scholar programs in the future. Best wishes for all your journeys!

   
Accommodations: The Star Island Conference Center
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


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