"Vinalhaven - Connecting to the Past" Vinalhaven by karenincalifornia

Vinalhaven Travel Guide: 39 reviews and 83 photos

The ancestral land

Vinalhaven is so off the beaten path, it gets only 2,000 or so visitors each year. And Vinalhaven thinks that's a lot! This beautiful island is located 15 miles off the coast of Maine - the closest mainland town is Rockland.

Vinalhaven holds exceptional significance for me. This is where 4 generations of my family once lived - until they were converted by missionaries to a new religion in the 1830's. After their conversion, they left the island to join the other members of their religion in the midwest.

I'm glad we made the side trip to Vinalhaven, even though it was short, and we fell into the category of the lowest of the low - the day trippers. Walking in the footsteps of one's ancestors is always exhilarating, sobering, and cathartic. I wouldn't have missed it for anything, and it pleased me greatly to see my children enjoy it, too.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Quaint, just like it must have appeared 100 years ago, quiet, colorful, beautiful, produces good genes
  • Cons:Few lodging accommodations on the island (also considered a plus), no nightclubs if you're the nightclubbing type
  • In a nutshell:A great way to spend a lazy day and gorge oneself on the best lobster rolls in Maine!
  • Last visit to Vinalhaven: Jul 2006
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (14)

Comments (6)

  • chocolatelab's Profile Photo
    Apr 15, 2008 at 8:50 PM

    Hi Karen, It was invention of cement that caused the demise of granite not the unionization of the workers. Unions lifted the average American laborer out of a miserable existence but George and Dick yearn for the good ole days.

  • WheninRome's Profile Photo
    Dec 26, 2006 at 7:37 AM

    Nice Vinalhaven page. My wife and I vacationed there this summer and loved it. I am beginning our Vinalhaven page now. What a beautiful place!

  • mtncorg's Profile Photo
    Nov 17, 2006 at 12:44 PM

    A long ways from the Holy land :-] 1830's meant a lot of walking as well. I am sure there is a lot more fascinating stories along the way!

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    Oct 13, 2006 at 4:22 AM

    It is always good to go back and check your roots, especially in a place as beautiful as this! Great tips on your thoughts and experiences. I once used 'vbro.com' to find a condo in Cancun - a great web-site.

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Aug 15, 2006 at 11:43 AM

    Just think, if your ancestors hadn't been converted in the 1830s you might be karininmaine instead of karinincalifornia. If four generations lived there, they must have come around 1700. Fine tips on granite, lobsters and the cousins of your ancestors.

  • deecat's Profile Photo
    Aug 12, 2006 at 1:18 PM

    What a delight to read your family adventures in Vinalhaven. The lobster story by Hilary was so clever. I agree about cemeteries..not morbid at all. Beautiful photographs and memorable narratives. (loved the church tip! grin!)


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