Blog : The Isles of Shoals turn 400

By Craig | Jun 24, 2014 | in

On June 25, the Isles of Shoals Steamship Company will join in the 400th Anniversary of Captain John Smith first chartering the Isles of Shoals - a group of islands nine miles off the New Hampshire and southern Maine coast - as part of his exploration of the New England coast.

To celebrate the storied history of the islands, the Isles of Shoals Steamship Company and the Star Island Corporation has a full day of activities planned aboard the flagship vessel, the M/V Thomas Laighton and on Star Island. As an extra celebratory measure, ISSCo. is offering a joint ticket to with Star Island Corp. that buys passage to and from Star Island onboard the M/V Thomas Laighton, lunch at the island's historic Oceanic Hotel and access to the day's scheduled events. In partnership with the Star Island Corporation, the Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook-Abenaki People, Historic Star Conference, the University of Southern Maine and the Isles of Shoals Historical & Research Association, the scheduled events feature hands-on experiences that look back into the Isles deep history, their present and future.

Even before Smith first took note of the islands, they played a crucial role in the fishing and trade industries on New Hampshire's coast. After Smith set foot on their rocky shores, dubbing the nine islands Smythe Isles, they became embedded in the lore and history of the area. From shipwrecks, to ghost stories, rumors of pirate's gold, murder, poets to a strong tourist industry, the Isles of Shoals have remained a source of intrigue for locals and visitors alike. Though no longer the bustling center for trade they once were in the days of Gosport Harbor on Smuttynose, nor the respite for weary patrons of Appledore and Star Island's hotels, the Isles still serve as a living museum and center for conferences at the historic Oceanic Hotel.

This year, the Isles of Shoals Steamship Company relaunched the business with a summer of new events and cruises including the anniversary celebration cruise on June 25.

The M/V Thomas Laighton will depart Portsmouth promptly at 9:25 a.m. All passengers are asked to arrive to the dock 30 minutes prior to departure. Once passengers arrive on Star Island they will have an entire day to explore the island and partake in the various events such as food demonstrations that highlight the differences between what native people and settlers ate, hand-tint your own maps, discover the latest in archeological digs taking place on the Isles, learn about the typical lives of sailors and fishermen of the era, see reenactments of a Gosport Harbor Town Meeting and get up close with an authentic, hand-made wigwam.

Passengers should be at the Star Island dock by 3 p.m. with an estimated return time to Portsmouth at 4:45 p.m.

Green Alliance Members who buy one adult get child's ticket, or buy one party ship ticket and get the second one free! They also 15% on private charter bookings! Join here.