Vinalhaven is the largest of Maine's offshore islands and home to of the most productive lobster fishing fleet in the world. With 1,200 year round residents, Vinalhaven is the regular summer getaway of that many again and host to thousands (but not tens of thousands) of short-term visitors. Half the families on the island support themselves directly or indirectly from what the sea has to offer. The rest are shopkeepers, carpenters, caretakers, artists and teachers; pretty much what you'd expect to find in a self-contained community with its own school, shops, library and medical facility. A detailed map showing all of Vinalhaven's roads, coves, parks, preserves and swimming quarries is available for you upon arrival.
Vinalhaven was settled in the 1600 & 1700's by several families arriving from England. Among them was James Roberts, Phil's grandfather (1792 – seven greats – see Away Happens). Originally a farming, fishing & shipbuilding community, the island became a renowned source of granite, and from 1880 until things began to wind down with the advent of asphalt and cement in the early 1900's, nearly 3,000 stoneworkers called this place home. Many of their descendants live here today. Additional information about our island's history can be found at the Vinalhaven Historical Society (www.vinalhavenhistoricalsociety.org), which maintains a large collection of photographic and genealogical records, as well as a museum with artifacts from the island's schools, homes, farms and fishing and granite industries.
We have a habit, you'll be quick to notice, of waving instinctively to one another from our cars trucks or as pedestrians. If you stay with us for a few days you'll fall, awkwardly at first, and then more comfortably, into this same custom. We hear endlessly from our guests that this is the friendliest place they've ever visited. Most of us are very accommodating, true, but it's the waving thing, in large part, that leaves our guests with that warm feeling. Everything’s relative (if not related) out here more often than elsewhere.