Matinicus Island, a TDS community, might just be the most remote island off the eastern seaboard of the United States. It’s 23 miles from the mainland and not the type of place you go on a whim. In the summer, the state runs a ferry shuttle service once a week. In the winter, the shuttle runs once a month. To make visiting even more challenging the wharf on Matinicus can only be accessed within two hours of high tide.
Despite the distance, Matinicus has always been a popular place. The Abenaki Indians named the island Matinicus, or “far-out island” in the 1600s. The French used the island as an early fishing station. Then, in 1717, it became the temporary home for a band of pirates. In 1750, the island was settled by Ebenezer Hall; some of his descendants still live on the island today.
The island is known for its rich lobstering grounds, perhaps some of the best in the world. Residents living on the island fish and trap in the surrounding waters. They are known for being somewhat protective of the area. They’re also protective of each other because, as you might expect, living in such a remote area means they must rely on each other for help. They are also known for helping others—having been credited with saving passengers from multiple marine emergencies.
Given that the island is only about two miles long and one mile wide, it might not surprise you that there are only about 50 people living on the island full time. In some years there have not been any children attending school; however, currently here are three grade-school students on the island. The high-school kids go to school on the mainland so they can have access to facilities like a gym and labs. They either attend a boarding school or live with a relative, typically only returning home on vacation breaks and holidays (it’s fairly expensive for weekend trips and the risk of getting stuck in bad weather is too high).
Thanks to Paul and Eva Murray (Paul is a TDS Field Service Technician who lives on Matinicus) for the photos of this unique and beautiful island.