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The Star Island Experience

Program Number: 21155RJ
Start and End Dates:
6/21/2014 - 6/28/2014;
Duration: 7 nights
Location: Isles of Shoals, New Hampshire
Price starting at: $1,020.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Natural History Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 20; 7 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 7 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. Built in the grand hotel era of the 1800s, the Oceanic House and adjacent cottages provide modest, character-laden lodging for those who appreciate experiencing the authentic past. Stairs lead to upper floors at the hotel and cottages. Classes and dining take place in stone cottages and the historic wooden hotel.
  Contact info: 30 Middle St.
Portsmouth, NH 13801 USA
phone: 603-430-6272
web: www.starisland.org
  Room amenities: Rooms are modest yet comfortable, with beds, a chest of drawers, chairs and clothes hanging space. Bed and bath linens, along with soap, are provided. 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 when registering. Heating elements are not permitted in rooms.
  Facility amenities: The historic Oceanic House, built in the Grand Hotel Era of the 1800s, houses the main lobby, dining room, bookshop, gift shop, and sleeping quarters. The grand hotel porch has many rocking chairs and offers a spectacular view of the sea. In front of the hotel, an ocean swimming area and tennis courts provide outdoor entertainment. A number of outdoor games, such as croquet and Frisbees, are available and can be played on the expansive lawn. The spacious hotel lobby is set with comfortable armchairs, sofas and small tables and chairs for reading, relaxing and playing board games or working puzzles with new friends. Daily newspapers can be found at the lobby reception desk. A hotel annex, a number of charming small cottages and stone buildings, and several motel-style units provide additional guestrooms and conference meeting rooms. A small business center with computer and internet access rental is available.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Bathroom: Shared toilets and cold-water sinks are on each floor of the hotel & cottages. Motel units have private toilets & cold-water sinks. Hot water is available to take to each room. Hot-water showers are available three times a week at a separate facility.
  Additional nights prior:  Although we are unable to accommodate visitors before or after the program, there are many accommodation options available in Portsmouth, NH. Please see free time listings.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after:  Although we are unable to accommodate visitors before or after the program, there are many accommodation options available in Portsmouth, NH. Please see free time listings.
  Check out time: 8:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Arrive at the Isles of Shoals dock (315 Market St.) in Portsmouth, NH between 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM. Boarding begins at 2:00pm, with a boat departure at 2:25pm. Commercial parking $12 a day. You will be staying at The Star Island Conference Center that night.
  End of Program:
The boat departs from Star Island at 8:20AM to return to Portsmouth, NH at 9:45 AM. 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:
Independent, commercial parking in lot at boat dock. Cost $12 per vehicle per day or any part of a day (price subject to change.)
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
Greyhound Bus
phone: 800-231-2222

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$15-23
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

1.25 

 

Distance:

 

60 miles

   

Take a taxi from Logan Airport to the Greyhound Bus station in Boston. The bus drops passengers in downtown Portsmouth (a 5 minute walk to the ISSCo dock).

 

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.

 

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, Orientation & Introductions, Historic Candlelight Service
(Saturday, June 21)

Note: Throughout the week, the schedule may be adapted to take advantage of special opportunities or because of local weather conditions. --- Traveling between rooms, classrooms, the dining room and shower facilities can involve walking distances of up to 1/2 mile on boardwalks, over uneven ground, on rocks and on paths.



   
 Morning: Boat to Star Island: Arrive at the boat dock in Portsmouth (315 Market St.) between 11:00 PM and 1:00 PM. Boarding begins at 2:25 PM, the boat departs at 2:45 PM and arrives on Star Island at 3:45 PM. Independent, commercial parking is $12 a day (price subject to change.)
 Afternoon: On Star Island: Upon arrival to the dock on Star Island, it's a short walk up the dock to the front lawn, where you will enter the lobby of the hotel to check-in. After you get your room assignment, meet your Group Leader and get your name tag, updated schedule, and other important information.

Orientation & Social Hour: Attend the Star Island orientation session and then enjoy meeting your fellow participants. Relax with new friends and share a beverage and a snack as you learn of the upcoming week’s activities.
 Dinner: Dinner is in the hotel dining room. Meals are hearty and satisfying home-style cuisine. Vegetarian and gluten-free options are available with advance request.
 Evening: Free Time to relax and settle into your surroundings.

Optional candlelit service in Star Island's historic chapel. Over the years, people from many countries have taken part in this tradition and have carried away the memory of a quietly impressive experience.
   
Accommodations: The Star Island Conference Center
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Sample Options: Bird Walk, Presentations, Shoals History Program, Workshops, Candlelight Chapel.
(Sunday, June 22)

Note: The activities described are typical daily options. What is actually available each day depends on special opportunities and local circumstances.



   
 Breakfast: Early morning coffee on the hotel porch and breakfast in the hotel dining room. Enjoy a variety of choices ranging from cold cereal and oatmeal to fruits, toast and bagels to a hot specialty dish of the day.
 Morning: Bird Walk: Early mornings are a time of peak activity for many species of birds. This morning at 6:00 AM, there is a guided bird walk with our Island Naturalist. 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 7:00 AM -- so invigorating, hardy souls are awarded a special certificate at the end of the week.

Presentation: Star Island Conferences are well-known and run the gamut of imagination and themes. You will have a special opportunity to be included in one of these sessions. 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,” and “Building Resilience in Changing Times.” 2014 will offer a completely new set of topics.
 Lunch: Lunch is in the hotel dining room. Enjoy a variety of simple lunches ranging from soup and sandwiches to Mac-and-Cheese.
 Afternoon: Workshop: Attend one of the workshops offered by various conferences on Star Island. In the past, these have ranged from discovering how to hand-tint photographs to creating outdoor sun prints. This year will offer a completely new set of workshops.

Presentation: Explore four centuries of life on the nine hauntingly beautiful Isles of Shoals through a series of fascinating historical images. Investigate the role the Isles played in the worldwide fishing trade of the 17th and 18th centuries and the resort industry in the 19th century. Discover the natural and cultural wonders of the Isles of Shoals today in the current conference & educational era.
 Dinner: Dinner is in the hotel dining room. Meals are hearty and satisfying home-style cuisine. Vegetarian and gluten-free options are available with advance request.
 Evening: The remainder of the evening is yours to relax with new friends and feel the gentle rhythm of island life.

Optional candlelit chapel service to join together for quiet spiritual contemplation on topics such as meaning and values.
   
Accommodations: The Star Island Conference Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Sample Options: Sustainability Program, Presentations, Behind-the-Scenes Tour, Programs, Candlelight Chapel.
(Monday, June 23)

Note: The activities described are typical daily options. What is actually available each day depends on special opportunities and local circumstances.



   
 Breakfast: Early morning coffee on the hotel porch and breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Sustainability Program: Led by the Island Naturalist and Facilities Superintendent, learn about and discuss the Isles of Shoals environment and sustainability practices for the future.

Presentation: Star Island Conferences are well-known and run the gamut of imagination and themes. You will have a special opportunity to be included in one of these sessions. 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,” and “Building Resilience in Changing Times.” 2014 will offer a completely new set of topics.
 Lunch: Lunch is in the hotel dining room.
 Afternoon: Behind-the-Scenes Tour: 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, staff areas, laundry facility, and more.

Program: Join your fellow Road Scholars at a program on creative composition or outdoor watercolor painting or partake of a Star Island conference discussion program on various topics such as creativity or colonial cookery.
 Dinner: Dinner is 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: The remainder of the evening is yours to relax with new friends and feel the gentle rhythm of island life.

Optional candlelit chapel service to join together for quiet spiritual contemplation on topics such as community and friendship.
   
Accommodations: The Star Island Conference Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Sample Options: Presentations, History Tour, Workshops, Geology Walk, Variety Show.
(Tuesday, June 24)

Note: The activities described are typical daily options. What is actually available each day depends on special opportunities and local circumstances.



   
 Breakfast: Early morning coffee on the hotel porch and breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Star Island History Tour: Led by the Vaughn Cottage museum curator, we will explore and learn about the history of Star Island and the Isles of Shoals from the 1600s to the present.

Presentation: Star Island Conferences are well-known and run the gamut of imagination and themes. You will have a special opportunity to be included in one of these sessions. 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,” and “Building Resilience in Changing Times.” 2014 will offer a completely new set of topics.
 Lunch: Lunch is in the hotel dining room.
 Afternoon: 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.

Workshop: Attend one of the workshops offered by various conferences on Star Island. In the past, these have ranged from discovering how to hand-tint photographs to creating outdoor sun prints. This year will offer a completely new set of workshops.
 Dinner: Dinner is in the hotel dining room.
 Evening: Variety Show: This rousingly entertaining staff show features a number of musical acts and kits, and usually culminates in a performance by the Chorus.
   
Accommodations: The Star Island Conference Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Sample Options: Presentations, Botany Walk, Programs, Candlelight Chapel
(Wednesday, June 25)

Note: The activities described are typical daily options. What is actually available each day depends on special opportunities and local circumstances.



   
 Breakfast: Early morning coffee on the hotel porch and breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Presentation: Star Island Conferences are well-known and run the gamut of imagination and themes. You will have a special opportunity to be included in one of these sessions. 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,” and “Building Resilience in Changing Times.” 2014 will offer a completely new set of topics.
 Lunch: Lunch is in the hotel dining room.
 Afternoon: Programs: Join your fellow Road Scholars at a program on creative composition or outdoor watercolor painting or partake of a Star Island conference discussion program on various topics such as creativity or colonial cookery.

Botany Walk: Led by the Island Naturalist, explore the island flora and discuss edible and medicinal plants growing on the Shoals.
 Dinner: Dinner is in the hotel dining room.
 Evening: The remainder of the evening is yours to relax with new friends and feel the gentle rhythm of island life.

Optional candlelit chapel service to join together for quiet spiritual contemplation on topics such as connection with others and the world around you.
   
Accommodations: The Star Island Conference Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Sample Options: Presentations, Ghosts & Graveyards Tour, Workshops, Candlelight Chapel
(Thursday, June 26)

Note: The activities described are typical daily options. What is actually available each day depends on special opportunities and local circumstances.



   
 Breakfast: Early morning coffee on the hotel porch and breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Presentation: Star Island Conferences are well-known and run the gamut of imagination and themes. You will have a special opportunity to be included in one of these sessions. 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,” and “Building Resilience in Changing Times.” 2014 will offer a completely new set of topics.
 Lunch: Lunch is in the hotel dining room.
 Afternoon: Ghosts and Graveyards Tour: Spooky or historical, we will visit the island’s cemeteries with the Vaughn Cottage museum curator.

Workshop: Attend one of the workshops offered by various conferences on Star Island. In the past, these have ranged from discovering how to hand-tint photographs to creating outdoor sun prints. This year will offer a completely new set of workshops.
 Dinner: Dinner is in the hotel dining room.
 Evening: The remainder of the evening is yours to relax with new friends and feel the gentle rhythm of island life, or join in the optional simple and beautiful tradition of quiet contemplation in the historic chapel, as people have in centuries past.
   
Accommodations: The Star Island Conference Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Sample Options: Presentations, Low Tide Walk, Programs, Social Hour, Candlelight Chapel
(Friday, June 27)

Note: The activities described are typical daily options. What is actually available each day depends on special opportunities and local circumstances.



   
 Breakfast: Early morning coffee on the hotel porch and breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Presentation: Star Island Conferences are well-known and run the gamut of imagination and themes. You will have a special opportunity to be included in one of these sessions. 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,” and “Building Resilience in Changing Times.” 2014 will offer a completely new set of topics.
 Lunch: Lunch is in the hotel dining room.
 Afternoon: Programs: Join your fellow Road Scholars at a program on creative composition or outdoor watercolor painting or partake of a Star Island conference discussion program on various topics such as creativity or colonial cookery.

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.

Social Hour: Relax with new friends and share a beverage and a snack as you reflect on the past week’s activities.
 Dinner: Dinner is in the hotel dining room.
 Evening: The remainder of the evening is yours to relax with new friends and feel the gentle rhythm of island life.

Optional candlelit chapel service with be offered for quiet spiritual contemplation on topics such as renewal and revitalization at this final service of the program — until next time.
   
Accommodations: The Star Island Conference Center
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Wrap up and Departure
(Saturday, June 28)
   
 Breakfast: Early morning coffee on the hotel porch and breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Stroll around for your closing adventure on this enchanting ocean island.

Departures: The boat departs from Star Island at 8:20 AM and returns to Portsmouth, NH at 9:45 AM.
   
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.

Suggested Reading List


Ten Miles Out: Guidebook to the Isles of Shoals


Author: Lyman V. Rutledge


Description: An in-depth guide to each of the nine Isles of Shoals, this includes their history and natural science.



Under the Isles of Shoals: Archaeology & Discovery on Smuttynose Island


Author: J. Dennis Robinson


Description: The story behind 250,000 artifacts discovered on the Isles of Shoals, illuminating life in the fishing era of the 17th through 19th centuries.



Among the Isles of Shoals


Author: Celia Thaxter


Description: Essays about her life on the Isles of Shoals by the famous poet, originally published in 1873 (available to read online and in newly printed paperback.)





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