Star Island, located in the Isles of Shoals 10 miles off New Hampshire’s coast, has a winning recipe for creating long-lasting memories—stunning scenery, a porch lined with rocking chairs at the historic Oceanic House, candlelit evening processions to Gosport Chapel, and appealing programming for everyone from kids to adults of all ages. The Star Island Corporation purchased the island in 1916 and operates it in accordance with the traditions of Unitarian Universalism and the United Church of Christ.
Staying on Star is like attending a no-frills summer camp that offers workshops, known as conferences, and personal or family retreats. Some conference topics for 2015 include birding, climate change, creative writing, race and religion, photography, watercolor, chamber music, and yoga.
Explore the island, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. In addition to Oceanic House, there are several other meeting spaces, including the art barn, stone Gosport Chapel (built in 1800), Rutledge Marine Lab, and the John Smith monument, named for the explorer, who arrived here in 1614.
Island food, including vegan and gluten-free options, is simple and homey. The dining room offers three meals a day, served family style, and there is also a snack bar offering light fare, such as bagels and ice cream. One evening a week, usually Wednesday, you can buy fresh-caught lobster for dinner—a sweet, delicious treat.
Activities on the island include fishing, hiking, cycling, rowing a boat, having a massage, visiting Rutledge Marine Lab, and playing tennis, softball, Frisbee, and Frisbee golf. You can also do nothing but watch the ocean and think. Accommodations in Oceanic are rustic with sparsely furnished bedrooms, hall toilets, and infrequent showers—part of the island’s spirit of resource conservation. The island is accessible by private boat; by the Isles of Shoals Steamship Company’s Thomas Laighton, which departs from Portsmouth, New Hampshire (islesofshoals.com); or by Uncle Oscar, a boat from Island Cruises of Rye, New Hampshire (uncleoscar.com). Visit starisland.org for more information or phone 603 430-6272.