Star Island Recently Celebrated its Centennial

By Helen Ball
This year Star Island is celebrating its centennial, with 2015 serving as 100 years since the non-profit Star Island Corporation first purchased the 43-acre island in 1915. In honour of this incredible event, 27th June 2015 saw officials, dignitaries and members of the public invited to visit Star Island aboard the specially chartered boat provided by the Isles of Shoals Steamship Company. [1] As well as having the opportunity to explore Star Island and really appreciate the beauty of this wonderful and unique place, invited guests also joined in with festivities such as the cutting of the island’s birthday cake, and a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the new solar panel array [2] that was built and opened in honor of, and as part of, the centennial celebrations. This solar display has the honour of being the largest off grid solar display in the state of New Hampshire. [3] Star Island is very proud of its sustainable programmes, so the centennial celebrations on the island also included a tour that focused on highlighting both the island’s sustainable efforts as well as its history.
The Ideal Opportunity to Visit Star Island
Whilst the official centennial celebrations in the island have now been completed, the centennial provides a wonderful opportunity for visitors to Star Island, both new and old, to appreciate and experience everything that Star Island has to offer. The past, present, and future of the island will be on display for visitors to appreciate this summer in honour of the centennial, and the incredible picturesque views that the island affords means that this is a wonderful place to spend a beautiful summer’s afternoon. There is no better time to visit Star Island than in 2015. Star Island is one of a small group of islands that forms the island group The Isles of Shoals: these islands are situated approximately 6 miles off the coast of America.  However Star Island is the only one of these islands that is served by a regular boat service from the mainland, which is why it is the most well-known of the islands and also the island that receives the most visitors on both a daily basis and overnight, as it is the only one of the island that is officially open and welcoming to visitors.
Overnight visitors on the island are welcome as part of one of the many conferences and events programmes that are hosted in the Oceanic Hotel on the island throughout the year. However if you prefer not to sign up for a programme then you are welcome to sign up for a personal retreat [4] : a wonderful way to test the waters, to enjoy island life, and to appreciate the true beauty that Star Island has to offer without having to commit to a longer programme. The island is relatively small, so visitors are advised to arrange many of their traditional tourist requirements, such as organising their banking, protecting their belongings with travel insurance [5] or purchasing vital supplies such as sun lotion, before they arrive on the island. However that doesn’t mean that you won’t find plenty to see and do: visitors can swim, hire row boats, and try their hands at a wide range of different sporting activities.
The Changes of a Century
It is interesting to note that the Oceanic hotel, much like the rest of Star Island, doesn’t look too much different to the way that it did a century ago. [6] The old burial ground sits to the right of the hotel, just as it always has, and when you approach the hotel you will immediately notice the distinctive shapes of dozens of old rocking chairs lined up on the porch. It is a wonderful place to celebrate America’s rich history, and a wonderful place to visit in honour of the Star Island centennial.                                      
Additional Reading
[1] “Star Island to unveil solar array to celebrate centennial”,  My San Antonio
[2] “Sustainable Star Island”, Vaughn Cottage,
[3] “Star Island to unveil solar array to celebrate centennial”, The Washington Times
[4] “Personal Retreats”, Star Island
[5] “Compare Travel Insurance,”  Quote Zone
 [6] “Visit Star Island and the Oceanic Hotel”, Yankee Magazine

Sustainable Star Island

 Getting Back To Basics By Moving Forward

Solar Panels, 2015

Solar Panels, 2015

Written by Helen Ball

Star Island has long been a place where people can escape from the pressure and grind of everyday life. The Star Island Corporation holds the potential of their island for spiritual renewal very dear [1], and do their utmost to ensure that visitors have an island experience which enables them to connect or reconnect with what’s basically important. It may seem that the recent addition of the largest off-grid bank of solar panels in New England [2] disrupts the peace, serenity, and sense of history inherent in the look and ‘feel’ of the island. Certainly the panels look prohibitively modern and industrial. However, the ethos behind this progressive move towards sustainable energy does in fact spring from commendably old roots. Self-sufficiency, as well as respect for the environment, is at the heart of the move – and these are values which island peoples the world over will recognize as of the greatest historical import for the insular way of life.
The Solar Panels
The new solar array is expected to provide around 130,000 KWH of power to Star Island – hopefully 60% or more of the island’s total power usage during the summer time [3]. It covers half an acre of the 44 acre island, and does, admittedly, look rather too modern to be in keeping with the island’s pristine aesthetic. In all fairness, the corporation have done their absolute utmost to position the array in such a way that it will cause minimal aesthetic disruption to people’s enjoyment of the island, but there are always some who look askance at banks of solar panels in beautiful areas. Such things have caused a deal of controversy in other areas before now [4], and continue to do so. However, such doubts can perhaps be allayed by looking at what is hoped to be achieved through the erection of the solar array. Ultimately, it’s all about self-sufficiency and preserving environmental integrity. 
Modern Malaise
We live in an increasingly high-octane society, which consumes at a rate far above that which is really sustainable. We are becoming so accustomed to thoughtlessly consuming without replacing, and doing little to either produce or sustain that which we consume that we are arguable losing touch with our roots in a manner which is having some alarming consequences. Quite apart from the undeniable environmental damage caused by reckless consumption, and the impact upon poorer global communities who suffer in order to feed our relentless appetites, the demands of the modern world and our growing disconnection from the world around us is having a terrible effect upon ourselves. Consumerism [5] and a sense of subsequent alienation from ‘real’ things has been linked to depression, particularly among women [6]. While the way our forbears lived may not have been perfect, it is notable that their lifestyles were a lot more sustainable – which in turn gave them a far greater sense of connection to the places in which they lived, of control over their resources, and acceptance of the natural way of things. Their lives may have been simple, but they were sustainable, and that sustainability brought with it a degree of happiness.
The Star Island Corporation has been perfectly clear all along in stating that the aim of the solar array is to render the island a more sustainable, self-sufficient location [7]. It’s about putting the resources used by Star Island back within island hands, and about being responsible for our own actions without compromising on comfort. This is simultaneously a step forward and an acceptance of the wisdom of our self-sufficient ancestors. While retaining the comforts of modern society, we are discarding the disconnection and unsustainable methodology which has characterised modern life thus far. Instead, we are returning to an era of sustainable self-sufficiency which will harm neither the environment nor our own health – although we are using some very modern technology to do so!
[1] Star Island Corporation, “About”
[3] Deborah McDermott, “Solar array ‘a big deal’ for Star Island”, Seacoast online, Jun 2015
[5] Jill Krasny, “STUDY: Consumerism Is Making Us Depressed And Anti-Social”, Business Insider, Apr 2012
[6] PsychGuides, “Depression in Women”
Image retrieved from