The ferry ride from Rockland, Maine to the island of Vinalhaven is about an hour and 15 minutes long. When you get there you feel like you’ve traveled back in time about 30 years.
You can’t figure out why. Its a funny feeling you can’t quite put your finger on. First of all there are only about 1300 people on the whole island…. the town is full of old New England houses and the views are quintessential coast of Maine.
I went here to paint as a friend recommended it as “untouched”, “the real Maine”. I’ve been to Monhegan painting … this is the real deal…a Maine plein air paradise!
There was so much to paint. It was a visual overload. Every view had that wonderful Maine flavor. Old granite docks, fish shacks, houses clustered against the rocky hillside, a multitude of tiny islands strewn across the bay and those spiky pine trees everywhere.
When we arrived on a Monday afternoon- the Main Street was quiet & empty… No people, no cars. The ferry terminal gave us a map so we could find our way around. Good thing as there was no one to ask if we were lost…
The town dock and the harbor were the only places that showed signs of life. Boats were coming in with the day’s catch and pickup trucks were all lined up at the dock waiting for their owners.
I headed off immediately to scout out painting locations. The island is sprinkled with old granite quarries. It’s famous for its granite. The Washington Monument, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine are built of Vinalhaven granite.
It has this wonderful variety of islands of all shapes and sizes.
Pointy dark green pines grow on any bit of earth on top of all this rock.
Docks and wharves are built of solid granite making you think you are walking on land then you realize its a man made peninsula…
Every jagged edge of coast line around the southern protected harbor is full of fish shacks and busy docks.
Big round boulders of granite sit on ledges and are scattered across islands.
Every paved road turns into a dirt road that becomes a dead end with a gorgeous view of a harbor, another island or the mainland.
At low tide Carvers Pond empties into Carvers Harbor and makes a sound like the rapids of a big river.
When evening comes the town is dark and quiet, only one third of the houses light up. That’s when you see how few people there really are here…