North Haven isn’t the most welcoming of islands, but it makes for a nice half-day trip (take the 9:30 Rockland boat and return on the 12:30, allowing about two hours on island.)
The ferry ride alone is worth the effort, especially once it enters the Fox Islands Thorofare, which flows between North Haven and Vinalhaven. It provides a good view of Vinalhaven’s Brown’s Head Light, and when I went on a Saturday morning, I was able to view kids racing sailboats (or trying to, it was at times rather amusing).
You won’t need more than an hour or so to wander North Haven’s downtown shops and galleries. Calderwood Hall is a must for fiber-arts fans and hobbiests; it carries gorgeous wool, some of it from island sheep. Upstairs is the Herb Parsons Gallery.
June Hopkins’ North Haven Gift Shop is another must-stop, especially for the gallery. And adjacent to it (actually connected by a elevated corridor) is June’s son Eric Hopkins’ gallery; his name recognition extends far beyond Maine’s shores (he paints those dreamy birds-eye views of the coast). He also has a gallery in Rockland.
Right near the ferry dock is the Waterman’s Community Center, constructed as a community gathering spot. Inside are a coffee bar with snacks, comfy seating, Wi-fi, and restrooms.
IF you arrive on a Saturday morning, you might be able to catch a bit of the Farmers Market, just a couple of blocks up from the ferry dock, but it does sell out quickly.
Lunch options are few, okay there’s one: Sip Ahoy, just opposite the ferry dock. It has inside and outside seating, good sandwiches and salads, and other goodies. I just grabbed a sandwich and enjoyed it on the return ferry.
If I’d wanted to stay overnight, Nebo Lodge has nine rooms (some with shared baths), and dinner options expand to include Nebo and the waterfront Coal Wharf, next to Brown’s Boatshop.
And here’s a tip, while no official ferry operates between North Haven and Vinalhaven, you can arrange transport at J.O. Brown’s for $5 round trip. You can arrange a taxi pick-up through Phil Crosman at Vinalhaven’s Tidewater.