The Edge of the Sea: Life & History on Maine’s Iconic Islands

Journey to Maine’s small islands on historic ferries to learn about their unique history and timeless traditions while meeting the locals who call these colorful communities their home.
Program No. 23756RJ
8 days
Starts at

At a Glance

Lobstermen pull in their traps full of bounty as the sun rises. On shore, boat builders, carpenters and artists are as equally attuned to the tide. Welcome to the magical islands of Maine: A quaint archipelago rich with history, distinct personalities and a timeless way of life. As you journey to each island by the only means possible – historic ferry – compare and contrast these small communities, each with its unique character, during expert-led explorations. While immersing yourself in island life, get to know local craftspeople, artists, farmers and lobstermen as they make their living on the edge of the sea.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Enjoy a beautiful ferry crossing to the unspoiled Monhegan Island, where there are no cars or paved roads.
  • Learn about local lobstering with an expert on Vinalhaven, home of the largest lobstering port on an island.
  • Compare and contrast life in Portland to life on historic Peaks Island, accessible only by ferry.

General Notes

Extend your stay in Maine by registering for "Coastal Maine: Portland to Bar Harbor" (#21485) on June 13-19 or Sept 19-25 and receive a free transfer.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
The Lobster Coast: Rebels, Rusticators, and the Struggle for a Forgotten Frontier
by Colin Woodard
A fascinating cultural history of coastal Maine as seen through the lobstering industry.
Monhegan, the Artists' Island
by Jane & Will Curtis, Frank Lieberman
In this magnificent volume, Will and Jane Curtis and Frank Lieberman have, for the first time, fully illuminated the rich and diverse artistic tradition of Monhegan -- from the transcendant landscapes painted by members of the Hudson River School to the evocative canvases of the American Impressionists and the clear visions of American Modernism. The book is divided into sections that echo the Island's own enduring aesthetic elements -- the dock, the village, the headlands, the woodlands -- and the juxtaposition of works by such masters as George Bellows, Robert Henri, Rockwell Kent, Edward Hopper, Hans Moller, and Andrew Wyeth. No fewer than 109 color and 162 black-and-white illustrations accompany the text.
Edward Hopper's Maine
by Kevin Salatino
An overview of the works the great American painter made during summer vacations to Maine from 1914 to 1929. Included in this collection of over 100 plates are numerous recreations of the Maine landscape, including his famous lighthouses and 32 oils the artist made plein-air on Monhegan Island.
A Glimpse of Old Peaks Island: Through Rose-Colored Glasses
by Alice Boyce, Eunice Curran, Ellin Gall
The book, A Glimpse Of Old Peaks Island through Rose Colored Glasses, depicts life on an island in Maine during the turbulent years of the Great Depression and World War II. Co-authored by five islanders who grew up on the island during those years, they paint a picture of what life was like living on an island at that time. The book also includes a history overview, excerpts from a charming book about House Island and a variety of personal memories and photos.
Lobster Chronicles, Life on a Very Small Island
by Linda Greenlaw
A former swordboat captain, and a fine writer to boot, Greenlaw returns to the small Maine island where she grew up and takes up the lobstering life. A wonderful depiction of coastal Maine, the lobster industry and a tiny community bound to the sea and each other.

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