FRENCHBORO — The long-active museum on Frenchboro reopened July 1 after COVID-19 forced its closing in 2020. To mark the occasion, the museum will offer a retrospective on the island’s enduring lobster industry. For the first time, the museum will also showcase a range of crafts, fine art and creative works by year-round Frenchboro residents.
The island community was established in 1822 by Israel Lunt. The history of the island is displayed in the museum and provides insight into the realities of lobstering and island life. A 4-million-year-old whale bone is among the objects on display, along with tools, boat designs and many historical lobstering artifacts.
The museum and store, along with a small library, occupy an uphill clearing at the harbor’s head near the one-room school and church that compose the center of the small village.
The museum and store will be open Wednesday through Sunday from 1-4 p.m. through Sept. 6.
For more information, call Eric Best at (207) 334-2009.
Other draws of the island:
Frenchboro is home to about 40 year-round residents and about 20 summer dwellers who enjoy the lack of traffic and bustle.
A picturesque 45-minute ferry ride from Bass Harbor (available Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday), the 5.5-square mile island is shown on nautical charts as Outer Long Island, one among 12 in the Frenchboro “plantation” south of Mount Desert Island. (The other islands include Crow Island, Harbor Island, Mount Desert Rock, Great Duck Island, Little Duck Island, Black Island, Placentia, the two Green islands, Pond Island and Drum Island.)
Lunt’s Harbor, where the car ferry docks on the eastern shore, offers a well-protected refuge on the north side of the island. The harbor is dominated by the local lobster fleet but offers a few moorings to cruisers and a wharf-side deli, which is known for its lobster rolls, and will also be operating starting July 1.
Five cemeteries, from the founder’s uphill on the east of the harbor to three plots on the west, also illustrate the challenges and trials of island life to those who forged lives there over the last two centuries.
The Maine Coast Heritage Trust maintains 13.5 miles of wooded trails on Frenchboro that offer the beauty of Maine’s natural forests and coastline perspectives without the throngs.
The island is a magnet for bird watchers. Amateur painting groups often come on a Friday when the Gott Boat passenger-only ferry arrives at 8 a.m.
Migratory songbirds, nesting eagles and resident otters are among wildlife that can be observed on Frenchboro, as well as a wide range of coastal plant species. Many newcomers remark on the range of stone along the shore.