Putting the Isles of Shoals on the Map

Maps have long played interesting and important roles in the history of the Isles of Shoals. John Smith published a map with his book A Description of New England in 1616 that helped introduce the Isles to Europe and named the region “New England” for the first time. Fishers, traders, and military navigators have relied on nautical charts to get in and out of Portsmouth Harbor or stop at the Isles of Shoals safely up to the present day. Authors and tour guides have also used maps for their artistic and illustrative purposes, helping secure a sense of place in texts about the Isles of Shoals. Finally, descriptive maps provide instructions for harbor and walking tours of the Isles, helping visitors to make the most of their trips.

Below are sample of the many maps housed in the Vaughn Cottage Museum collection. Perspective, detail, and scope vary on maps of the Isles of Shoals and Star Island according to the cartographer’s purpose. Bird’s-eye views with north at the top of the map are typical for illustrating landmasses, but many variations are seen in the examples here. Some maps are oriented with the South at the top, the direction one would face approaching Gosport Harbor to land on Star-Island. Profile or pop-out views of landmarks provide references to help tourists identify landmarks and also serve as decorative illustrations. Contour lines and careful numeric labeling show elevation and sea level to aid with navigation.

Maps can help us understand where we are or where we are going, but they can also inspire imagination. Perhaps the nature of being on an island prompts people to draw and read maps to feel connected to the rest of the world. Enjoy the selection of visual representations below and think about what the cartographer wants you to see.

For Detailed Image Descriptions, Click Here

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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 Antoniohttp://www.mysanantonio.com/news/article/Star-Island-to-unveil-solar-array-to-celebrate-6353068.php
[2] “Sustainable Star Island”, Vaughn Cottage, https://vaughncottage.wordpress.com/2015/07/18/sustainable-star-island/
[3] “Star Island to unveil solar array to celebrate centennial”, The Washington Timeshttp://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jun/14/star-island-to-unveil-solar-array-to-celebrate-cen/
[4] “Personal Retreats”, Star Islandhttp://starisland.org/registration/retreats/
[5] “Compare Travel Insurance,”  Quote Zonehttp://www.quotezone.co.uk/travel-insurance.htm
 [6] “Visit Star Island and the Oceanic Hotel”, Yankee Magazinehttp://www.yankeemagazine.com/explore-new-england/visit-star-island-and-the-oceanic-hotel

Back on Star!

Vaughn Blog pic 2

Hello Shoalers!
Around here, Shoalers is the name we use for people who love to hang out at the Isles of Shoals. I can now say that I am one of them. I am so excited to return for the summer of 2014! It is going to be one full of history, community, old friends, chirping birds, beautiful sunsets and sunrises, and oh yeah, maybe a bit of rain to help our veggies and flowers grow. The Vaughn Cottage Museum also has some exciting exhibits that I honestly cannot wait to share with you. Keep checking our blog for the riveting history news.

We have an exciting summer planned for this year, and I hope you can come join us! We’ll save you a seat on the porch.

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Happy Independence Day!

I’m excited to bring you my very first guest post content!  R. Dennis Corrigan sent this to me yesterday.

I am reading through

Elwin Page’s George Washington in New Hampshire, republished by the Portsmouth Marine Society, 1989.

And I just came to pages 29-32 where the gentlemen of the town accompanied by a band sang the following to him on his arrival in Portsmouth (sung to the tune of “God Save the King” or “My Country, Tis of Thee”): Continue reading