The Isles of Shoals are a group of small islands and tidal ledges approximately 6 miles offshore, straddling the border of the states of New Hampshire and Maine.
My husband and I visited in May 1994, when we were still dating. It’s a popular destination for bus tours of old people.
Some of the islands were used for seasonal fishing camps by Native Americans, and those islands were first settled by Europeans in the early 17th century. They became a vital fishing area for the newly-formed British and French colonies.
The first recorded landfall of an Englishman was that of explorer Captain Christopher Levett, who wrote, “The first place I set my foot upon in New England was the Isle of Shoals, being islands in the sea about two leagues from the main. Upon these islands I neither could see one good timber-tree nor so much good ground as to make a garden. The place is found to be a good fishing-place for six ships, but more can not be well there, for want of convenient stage room, as this year’s experience hath proved.”
The third largest island, Smuttynose, is known as the site of Blackbeard’s honeymoon, for the shipwreck of the Spanish ship Sagunto (1813), and for the 1873 murders of two young women. These days, Smuttynose is known around here as a great brewing company.