The Lighthouse was built in 1824. Though it still shines, the light has not been manned since 1959 and is now automated. Check the museum’s website or the Rope Shed for days and times when you can tour the tower, from Lighthouse Hill one has a superb view of the Village, harbor, Manana Island, and the mainland, including the Camden Hills. You might even see a freighter or tanker waiting at the Manana Buoy to take on a coastal pilot.
The Monhegan Museum of Art and History is housed in the former keeper’s house on the Lighthouse grounds, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. The Museum is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in July and August, and from 1:30 to 3:30 in late June and September. The Keeper’s House is devoted to the Island’s long and colorful history beginning with the arrival of the Red Paint People 6000 years ago. Exhibits topics include island flora and fauna, fishing, the lighthouse and much more. Across the way is the Assistant Keeper’s house, with an annually-changing tribute highlighting an aspect of Monhegan’s renowned art colony. See www.monheganmuseum.org for further information.
The artists’ colony on Monhegan is still alive and well, as it has been for over a hundred years. Some artists have viewing hours in their studios, times and locations of which are listed in a flier available at bulletin boards around the Village (and here) and galleries around the Island show works of local artists. More than a traditional souvenir, art from Monhegan is a constant reminder of this special place.
Clustered around Fish Beach are the fish houses which serve as workshops for many of those who fish and lobster. In summer lobstering gear is piled up around them because Monhegan has a closed season on lobstering running roughly from early June to the following October.
Swim Beach is the favorite place to swim on the Island. The water is cold; the beach is very small and tides run hard. There are no changing facilities or garbage disposal there. Always be sure that someone on the beach knows you are in swimming.
Manana Island helps form Monhegan Harbor. Here may be found the rock purported to contain Norse or Phoenician inscriptions. The fog signal station of the Coast Guard was active here for many years. Transportation by skiff across the harbor can usually be arranged through one of the Inns or at Fish Beach.
The Meadow, in the heart of the Village, is the source of the public water supply. Years ago it was dammed and used for ice-boating and skating. Look on the bulletin board on the rope shed by the meadow for announcements of current events. It is the sole-source aquifer for the island. You can barely see the water pumps on the hill in the center.
The Tercentenary Tablet, on a rock in the yard of the one-room schoolhouse, commemorates John Smith’s voyage to Monhegan in 1614. The Schoolhouse itself is still operational for year-round children, and used constantly as a gathering place in the summer.
Ice was harvested at the Ice Pond for about 100 years. The last harvest was in February, 1974; the old equipment is displayed in a shed beside the Museum at the Lighthouse. The pond is an excellent spot for bird watching and a favorite skating area in winter.