About six miles off of the Maine/New Hampshire coast lie the Isles of Shoals. Highly convenient after our visit to Portsmouth. We visited Appledore Island, which has a marine lab where they do research and conduct summer courses. Call them on channel 80 before you dinghy over so they can meet you at the dock and give you a map and island information. There were lots of nesting gulls here, rocky shores, and local history in the form of a garden with the same species of plants originally used by the poet Celia Thaxton in her garden on the island, as well as a quiet little graveyard. Star Island is home to the Oceanic Hotel, an old-fashioned kind of place with communal dining and set times during the day when guests can shower (island water conservation is much like boat water conservation – there’s only so much in storage), and a wide porch with rocking chairs, a perfect place to look out over the water and eat an ice cream cone (yes, we did). Finally there was Smuttynose Island, a small island with only two homes on it currently, though there used to be a brewery, bakery, distillery, and industries. These islands have a history that appeals to Anne’s sense of the macabre: the ghost of Blackbeard’s abandoned wife (his 15th) apparently roams here, and there have been several murders involving Indian attacks, mysterious nighttime excursions by rowboat from Portsmouth, and hatchets. Look them up! Oh yes, and it’s also quite beautiful, with great sunsets.