Ferry passengers walk up to the pier on Islesford.  PHOTO COURTESY OF CAPT. AMANDA BRACY   

Cranberry Cove Ferry finds a home at Beal’s 

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Cranberry Cove Ferry, which carries passengers between Southwest Harbor and the Cranberry Isles from late spring to early fall, has found a new home in Southwest Harbor, at Beal’s Lobster Pier on Clark Point Road. 

Service will begin this year on May 27. 

For the past 20 years, the ferry has been docking at the Upper Town Dock on Clark Point Road. But in January, the Southwest Harbor Select Board decided that the ferry would not be allowed to continue using the Upper Town Dock after July 1. 

Following that decision, Steve Pagels, owner of Downeast Windjammer Cruise Lines, which operates the Cranberry Cove Ferry, said the ferry could still pick up and drop off passengers at a dock in the Southwest Harbor village of Manset that is owned by the town of Cranberry Isles. But he said that would be inconvenient for many residents of the islands and Southwest Harbor, as well as for visitors.  

So, he began looking for a new docking location closer to the center of Southwest Harbor, and he found it at Beal’s. 

“That’s important for the Cranberry Islanders,” Pagels said. “Some of them come to Clark Point Road and walk up to the pharmacy, to doctors’ appointments and so forth. It’s also important to the visitors to the Cranberry Isles.” 

He said businesses on the Cranberry Isles and in Southwest Harbor will benefit as well. 

Pagels said he is making arrangements to provide ample parking for ferry passengers who depart from Beal’s. 

The ferry will run on the same schedule as in the past. There will be four round trips a day from May 27 through June 30 and Sept. 1 through Oct. 1, and five daily round trips in July and August. 

From the Beal’s pier, the ferry will go to the dock in Manset, where the town of Cranberry Isles owns a parking lot. 

“From there we go to Great Cranberry Island, then to Islesford, then back to Great Cranberry, which enables the islanders to go between the islands,” Pagels said. “It also enables visitors, both local and from away, to visit each island if they choose to.” 

Along with running the Cranberry Cove Ferry as a business, Pagels said, “We feel a commitment to the Cranberry Islanders, and we are grateful to Beal’s for helping us with that. They are very community minded, and we’re looking forward to working with them.” 

Justin Snyder, the dock manager at Beal’s, said, “The Cranberry Cove Ferry is a critical part of daily life for year-rounders on the outer islands and beloved by island visitors.  

We at Beal’s really consider ourselves to be in the experience business, and we want to improve and expand upon the types of experiences we can offer our guests. With this partnership with Cranberry Cove, we have an opportunity to bring more people to Beal’s and to provide a whole other option for our guests to enjoy everything Maine has to offer.” 

This year is the 90th anniversary of the opening of Beal’s Lobster Pier as a year-round, working fish and lobster pier. The Beal family opened the restaurant at the pier in 1969. 


Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]