The Island

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 (, 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.

Things To Do

For Kids

Vinalhaven's a great place to vacation with kids. Abandoned granite quarries, now town parks. provide areas for toddlers to wade and paddle comfortably, places for youngsters to play pirates and fling w themselves from modest cliffs or higher elevations from which the accomplished swimmers can “cannonball” their companions. The island‘s many accessible natural areas beg exploration. Your kids are encouraged to bring their beachcoming treasures home to The Tidewater, line them all up on the railing of your own balcony, and tell you all about how each was discovered.


For Everyone

There are many hiking trails and wilderness areas on Vinalhaven. All offer spectacular vistas, and a chance for picnicking, swimming or exploring. Opportunities for bird watching, sketching. painting and photography abound and many of these special places are within walking distance. Other island destinations will require a bike ride, a hike or a vehicle. Ask about our favorites. We've visited them all and can make recommendations. We offer our guests the free use of our bicycles, and rent kayaks, canoes and automobiles as well. The quarries offer swimming on par with anything you could find anywhere. Each is a warm summer's walk of a mile or so; just long enough to make you grateful for the cool, inviting spring water. Depending on the time of year and the day, an evening may well provide the opportunity to hear world-class musicians, or to sample some world-class pies at a public baked bean supper. Vinalhaven's Saturday morning flea market has become a staple event in almost everyone's week. Local musicians and entertainers host a number of popular and divergent concerts each summer and there are auctions, local celebrity roasts, picnics, films, talks, walks and all sorts of interesting things to see and enioy. Visit our Chamber of Commerce web site for more detailed information of what's happening A Visit to Vinalhaven Historical Society Museum ( ) can make a rainy day a special event, allowing you to experience the extraordinary history of this fascinating island through photographs and artifacts from Vinalhaven's farming. fishing and quarrying past. With a little advance notice we can arrange a fascinating sea excursion with a local lobsterman who will take you for a ride, maybe on the forty two foot “SeaBreeze', around the island or to some particular place, or acquaint you with the intricacies of 'haulin' traps and making a living. Or, you might want to enjoy bird watching as you'll experience it aboard ‘Skua" with renowned ornithologist John Drury ( Mark Jackson, recently retired as out school’s vocational marine instructor, will conduct an equally enjoyable tour around the islands in a nice Pulsifer Hampton or we can arrange a day sailing adventure ( ).


There are several full service restaurants and take-outs here on Vinalhaven and on North Haven. Some are great. Among them are The Haven (207 863 4969), which does not have a web site, SALT (207 863 4444)/ and Nebo Lodge (207 867 2007)/ on North Haven. Each has a full liquor license and suggests reservations. We suggest you let us help with those arrangements. Ask us about these eateries and the several others on each island.



Art has found a home for itself on Vinalhaven. Maine Sunday Telegram's Bob Keyes characterizes your host, Elaine Crossman, a painter and printmaker, as standing at the center of the island's art activity.

With its varied land and sea views and wonderful light, Vinalhaven continues to attract gifted, nationally recognized artists. New Era Gallery features frequently changing exhibitions of work from these fine artists. most of whom call the island home for some part of the year.

Accordingly, The Tidewater is acquiring a collection of original works by island artists and by artists with an island affiliation. Some are works by Elaine, who also runs the New Era Gallery, just ‘uptown‘ and around the bend.

The Tidewater

We welcome your calls and emails and are happy to answer any questions you might have about staying at the Tidwater, visiting Vinalhaven island, or holding a gathering at our facility. We encourage you to fill out the reservation form on this website so that we can check availability on your preferred dates. We will get back to you promptly to confirm your reservation. We look forward to seeing you!

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