"The Cranberry Isles, Maine" Cranberry Isles by goodfish
Cranberry Isles Travel Guide: 7 reviews and 16 photos
Wow - the first one to write about this? I think most VT visitors have put the Cranberry Isles under "Off the Beaten Path" on Bar Harbor pages. The half day we spent roaming around this charming, peaceful little island was time so well spent that I thought it deserved its own page.
Little Cranberry is the next-largest of the 5 islands (along with Great Cranberry, Sutton, Bear and Baker) that make up the town of Cranberry Isles. Although it's smaller than Great Cranberry, it has the most year-round inhabitants (about 90) and its own village (Islesford). The islands were named for cranberry bogs on these largest two islands.
Native American Penobscot and Passamaquoddy tribes lived here long before the first settler, Ben Bunker, came in 1762. John Stanley settled on Little Cranberry soon after and you can find his grave at the end of Sand Beach Road. The names of early settlers (Stanley, Bunker, Hadlock, Spurling, etc.) are found all over the small cemeteries and are still carried by some of their island descendents today.
Little Cranberry is a working island of mostly lobstermen and artists, and the population triples in the summer when renters, seasonal artists and inhabitants who choose to winter on the mainland come back to enjoy the warmer months. The island is only 1 and 1/2 miles long by 3/4 mile wide, with just a few roads and a minimum of cars. As everything has to be ferried over from the mainland, residents keep one vehicle in Northeast Harbor for errands and another on the island to haul supplies from the dock to their homes. It may look like a lonely place to live (especially in the winter) but the people here have long had a close-knit sense of community and are VERY good at making their own fun. Like any lovely, secluded place, the price of property has skyrocketed and there's currently some concern for the preservation of authentic island life.
This is a place to escape the crowds of Bar Harbor. There's not a lot to do. There's not a lot to see. It's a place to come and walk and learn about a tiny, isolated fishing village that's been home to resourceful, determined people for several centuries. This was the one thing we did on our Acadia trip that was spur-of-the-moment, and it turned out to be more enjoyable and interesting than expected! Those wanting to spend more than a few hours of quiet time here can find rental info here. More info on the Cranberries (including facilities on Great Cranberry) can be found here.
- Pros:Good historic peek at island life, not crowded
- Cons:Not good in the rain, winter, or if you don't enjoy just poking around.
- In a nutshell:Great little escape from Bar Harbor
The island has four of these and they're peaceful places to wander plus a good way to get a handle on local family... more travel advice
Islesford's only restaurant is open from mid-June through Labor Day so was closed when we were there in late September.... more travel advice
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