7th August 2018
Just thinking about Islesboro, Maine, I can smell the cool, damp, salty air. A peace — a quiet calm — immediately falls upon me. For the better part of my life, this island has been more than a vacation. It’s engrained in who I am.
I grew up spending summers on this small and picturesque island off the coast of central Maine where my grandparents had a home. My adventures on Islesboro make up seminal memories from my childhood.
Starting when I was 13, we would stay for a magical week each summer, jumping on the trampoline, roving about the island and picking blueberries from a neighbor’s field. Part of the joy of traveling to Islesboro was stopping at lighthouses, roadside blueberry stands and clam shacks on our drive from Portland. Once we arrived, we’d hike the many beautiful trails or take the boat to the surrounding uninhabited rocky islands to explore and hunt for fish in the tidal pools. Then we’d sit down for indulgent lobster dinners with the whole family.
Now, my husband, Bill, and our son, George, 9, and I have been spending a recharging week on Islesboro each summer with my cousins and our extended family. As everything else in life changes, this island remains the same. It’s incredible to share exactly what I did as a child with my own son. I watch George forming memories and bonds with his cousins. The summers I spent on Islesboro with my own cousins developed into lifelong friendships, and I hope to give that experience to my son, too.
When we come in the summers, we embrace the freedom to explore and disconnect. With our family, we spend the whole day outside. We pack picnic lunches, take the boat out, dock at a beach and climb on rocks. My husband and George find a thrill in crabbing, using a piece of leftover ham tied to a string. Every afternoon calls for ice cream (two scoops with chocolate sprinkles) from the Dark Harbor Shop, where we run into everyone we know on the island.
Returning to the same place each summer gives me the feeling of home away from home. And when I need a mental escape, I can close my eyes and smell the same foggy air that I’ve breathed in since I was a little girl.
By Buff Strickland