Since the early 1800s, the Monhegan Island Light has been an active aid to navigation and a beacon of Maine’s maritime history. In more recent years, it’s become a popular destination for history buffs and those who enjoy picturesque coastal scenery alike.
Would you like to find out more about local attractions like the Monhegan Island Light? Request a free copy of our Boothbay Harbor Vacation Guide to get our recommendations for the area’s best activities, restaurants, shopping, and more.
History of the Monhegan Island Light
Monhegan Island is 10 miles from the shores of Boothbay Harbor. It’s a picturesque attraction for many artists, historians, and nature lovers. In the early 1600s, when the first European settlers began establishing the mainland, the island was occupied by Native Americans who named their home “Monhegan,” or “Island of the Sea.” For many sailors who traveled across the ocean, the island was the first land mass they would see.
When trade began increasing in the early 1800s, President James Monroe ordered a lighthouse be built on the highest point of Monhegan Island. Thus, the original Monhegan Island Light was born. However, it wasn’t long before large storms destroyed the original building. The current structure was built in 1850.
For the last two centuries, the Monhegan Island Light diligently served the ships that sailed along Maine’s coast. Several lightkeepers were stationed there until it was sold to the Monhegan Associates in 1962. Six years later, the 19th-century lightkeeper’s house was transformed into the Monhegan Museum of Art and History. Here, visitors can view a wide variety of exhibits relevant to the natural, social, industrial, and cultural history of the island.
Getting to Monhegan Island
Daily round trips to Monhegan Island depart from Pier 8 in Boothbay Harbor aboard the “Balmy Days II.” This trip is only available from Memorial Day to Columbus Day.
Things to Do on Monhegan Island
Aside from the Monhegan Island Light, there are many things to do during your visit to the island. There are hilly hiking trails, a swimming beach, and a vast meadow for picnicking. Be sure to visit the gift shop to pick up a keepsake before heading back to the mainland.
More Lighthouses Near Boothbay Harbor
Experience the History of Boothbay Harbor During Your Stay at The Russell House Bed & Breakfast
The Russell House Bed & Breakfast is a secluded and historic accommodation that’s just outside of town. When you stay with us, you’re far enough away from the hustle and bustle, yet close enough to enjoy easy access to your favorite attractions in Boothbay Harbor. Our lovely, renovated guest rooms are perfect for romantic getaways, celebrations, or a simple weekend escape. Indulge in a delicious homemade breakfast each morning with complimentary coffee, tea, and other tasty treats.
Book your next vacation with us today! We look forward to welcoming you to Boothbay Harbor soon.