Great Cranberry Island is the largest of the Cranberry Isles off the southern end of Maine's Mount Desert Island. Access is by private boat or ferry service only so we decided to take the Beal & Bunker Mail Boat over to the Islands and spend the day exploring the Great Cranberry Island and Little Cranberry Island. The most well-known village, Islesford, is on Little Cranberry Island. Acadia National Park has a maritime museum near the public dock there. Of course we got another stamp for our National Park Passport book. The ride over was very nice and kinda fun being on the small passenger and mail boat. We passed Baker Island on the way there and saw the lighthouse that sits up high on the cliff of the island.
The Great Cranberry Island, the largest of the Cranberry Isles, has a truly commanding and spectacular view of Mount Desert Island and the mountains of Acadia National Park in Maine. Located near the southern entrance to Somes Sound, you can view Manser, Southwest Harbor and Somes Sound to the northeast from the public pier. Sutton Island and Northeast Harbor are to the north. Little Cranberry Island and Islesford are to the east. We enjoyed a leisurely walk around the Island taking in all the flowers and quaint homes. Along the way we visited a Museum and Church. When we returned to the piers we had a little lunch at the local cafe which also had the local grocery store in it too. We visited the small post office which the mail had been delivered to from the Mail Boat we took over to the Island.
Islesford and the rest of Little Cranberry Island, has a very unique and relaxed lifestyle that is desired by many. The experience is like being able to take informal, safe, and unfettered strolls through out a large extended neighborhood, where soon, you begin feeling as if you are a member yourself. People are relaxed, very friendly, and accommodating.
One of the first settlers of Little Cranberry Island was John Stanley, Jr. His father, John Sr. began the lineage of the Stanley name that exists to this day throughout Hancock County. There are many places that bare the name as in Stanley Brook in Acadia National Park, within Seal Harbor, part of Mount Desert. There were many settlers trying to make a go of agriculture as this was the accepted view of where the area's worth was. It wasn't until Colonel Black was able to effluence the perspective that the area's wealth was actually in the timber industry, that this really took off. It seems obvious today that the rocky soil is not a good bet for agricultural endeavors. It is a great little Island to spend the day wandering around and actually had more to offer then Great Cranberry Island and be sure to eat at the little restaurant at the end of the pier... the Cod Balls are really good ~ YUM!
We really enjoyed our day going from Island to Island on the Mail Boat.