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Your Guide to Getting to the Dock

April 21st, 2015


You’ve registered for your stay on Star Island this summer and now it’s time to figure out how to get the dock in Portsmouth. Your GPS is great, and here are our suggestions for travelling to the Portsmouth, NH area and hopping aboard the M/V Thomas Laighton out to Star.

Before we get started though, please note the final destination is 315 Market Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801 – the Isles of Shoals Steamship Company.

Walking | Driving | Bus, Trolley, Taxi | Airports

If You’re Walking

The best option for those staying in downtown Portsmouth. Simply meander over to the Isles of Shoals Steamship Co. dock at 315 Market Street. Look both ways when crossing the street.

Click here to view a map for walking from Market Square/Downtown Portsmouth to the Dock

If You’re Driving

From the North (Maine): Head on down I-95 and use exit 7. At the end of the ramp (the stop lights), take a left onto Market Street. Go through three sets of lights. Try to be in the left lane by the third light. After this last light, you’ll approach an intersection with a blinking light, take a left into the Isles of Shoals Steamship Co. lot at 315 Market Street.
From the South and Points West: Make your way to I-95 and head towards New Hampshire. Taking I-495 through Massachusetts is usually a good option. Once in New Hampshire, take exit 7 (the last exit in NH). At the end of the ramp (the stop lights), take a right onto Market Street. Go through two sets of lights. Try to be in the left lane by the second light. After this last light, you’ll approach an intersection with a blinking light, take a left into the Isles of Shoals Steamship Co. lot at 315 Market Street.
Parking: Parking for program guests is provided at the Isles of Shoals Steamship Co. lot. Star Island charges guests $12 for each night a car is parked. This charge is added to room and board bills.

Driving directions from a few major cities:
Boston, MA
Burlington, VT
Manchester, NH
New York, NY
Portland, ME
Providence, RI
Worcester, MA

If Someone Else is Driving

Bus: Bus transportation into Portsmouth is regularly served by C&J Trailways and Greyhound.

Click Here for Greyhound Website | Click here for C&J Website

Greyhound will drop off passengers on Hanover Street in Portsmouth, which is about a three minute walk to the Isles of Shoals Steamship Co. dock. (Walking directions: When you get off the bus, go left up and over a hill. At the intersection, cross the street and head left. Walk straight. Keep going past giant salt piles. The dock is on your right.)

C&J will take passengers from South Station and Logan Airport in Boston to their terminal in Portsmouth. The C&J Terminal is not walking distance to the dock in Portsmouth. C&J also has a bus that runs directly from New York City to Portsmouth daily. From the bus terminal, you have two options:

Trolley: COAST operates a trolley that can bring people from the C&J bus terminal in Portsmouth closer to the dock. The bus picks people up right at the bus terminal, and after about a 25 minute ride, will stop in Market Square — the center of downtown Portsmouth. The dock is about a five minute walk from Market Square. (Walking directions: take a right when you head off the bus. Take your first left. Walk down this street, crossing over to the right side at any time. Continue past the giant salt piles. The dock will be on your right.)

Click here for COAST Portsmouth Trolley Schedule

Taxi: If you’re staying at a hotel away from the downtown area of Portsmouth, or need a lift from the bus terminal, one of several taxi services will be able to help you. Check out Annie’s Taxi, Blue Star, Market Square Taxi for information and rates. Inform your driver that you are headed to the Thomas Laighton dock, which is 315 Market Street.

If You’re Flying

Portsmouth is between three airports of varying sizes. Boston’s Logan Airport is about 50 miles to the south. Manchester’s Manchester-Boston Regional Airport is about 45 miles to the west. Portland’s International Jetport is about 50 miles to the north.

Logan: The easiest option from Logan is to pick up the C&J Trailways bus which has regular service to all terminals. Then follow the directions from C&J.

Manchester: Arrange a ride through East West Express. This commuter service will bring you to the same terminal as the C&J bus in Portsmouth.

Portland: Check out the Greyhound bus schedule to get from Portland to Portsmouth. Amtrak also has a train that goes from Portland to Dover, NH (about a twenty minute car ride from Portsmouth).

If you are travelling to and from Rye Harbor aboard the Uncle Oscar, please click here for directions.

Art Groups Invited to Experience Star Island

April 9th, 2015

The Isles of Shoals have been known for centuries as a naturally beautiful haven for creative people. From painters to poets, people have found a uniquely inspiring quality inherent in spending time on these islands, including Star Island.

Now is your chance to follow in the footsteps of painter Childe Hassam, novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne, and poet Celia Thaxter. Explore Star Island as an artist and attend one of the following summer programs that prompt you with creative endeavors, provide you with worthwhile adventures away from the distractions of mainland life.

And if you’re new* to Star Island, enjoy 30% off room and board when attending the full length of either of the following summer programs. How? With our Group Discount. You and your friends, whether part of a formal or informal group (an artist society, a book club, a writing group, etc…), simply need to select “Group Discount” when registering.

Star Arts

Arts Conference Icon

Saturday, June 20 to Saturday, June 27

This week-long program is great for someone who wants to be surrounded by people pursuing a variety of creative options. Workshops include music, writing, photography, visual arts, theater, and dance. The morning after you arrive on island, you’ll have the chance to choose from any of the workshop options to focus on for the rest of the week. Star Arts is a supportive environment that caters to beginners and professionals. Develop new skills, or stengthen the ones you already have.

Click here to register

Island Watercolor Intensive

Watercolor Icon

Saturday, August 1 to Wednesday, August 5

Spend a few nights on Star Island and delve into the world of watercolor painting. The expansive ocean views, rocky coastline, and historic buildings will serve as ready subjects for your paintings. People of all skill levels are invited to participate.

Click here to register

* New to Star Island means that you’ve never attended the full-length of a summer program before. So even if you’ve only come for a day visit, you’re new to us.

Sustainability Brings Focus to Star Island

April 8th, 2015


When we recently shared information with the press about our upcoming Earth Day event (click here to learn more), we didn’t imagine so many media outlets would pick up the story. But that’s exactly what happened. Check out the following links for stories, and click here to learn more about our Green Gosport Initiative — our program focused on sustainabiliy.

A Solar ‘Microgrid’ On Star Island May Be A Model For The Mainland

New Hampshire Public Radio

Region’s largest off-grid solar array holds out microgrid hope

Nashua Telegraph

Star Island announces completion of solar array

Star Island solar installation to help with energy

Washington Times

How to supply power to an island

Block Island Times

Our sustianability initiatives help us thrive as a summer destination for families, individuals and youth with a variety of programs focused on themes including arts, religion, international affairs, and social justice. Click here to see a list of the summer programs that call a sustainable Star Island home every summer.

Star Island Seeks Intern for Vaughn Cottage Museum

April 2nd, 2015


Star Island, an historic island off the Maine and New Hampshire coast, seeks an intern to assist our seasonal Museum Curator in operating and organizing the Vaughn Cottage Museum and Library during the summer of 2015.

Duties may include any of the following:

  • Complete projects relating to record keeping and PastPerfect
  • Transfer paper data to PastPerfect system
  • Inventory collections against PastPerfect records
  • Staffing museum during open hours by greeting guests, answering questions, maintaining security of items, and providing customer service.
  • Learn Star Island and the Isles of Shoal’s fascinating history as a 1600s fishing village, a famous 1800s resort and present day conference center.
  • Lead historical tours of Star Island and/or Appledore Island (tour themes are general island history and ghosts & graveyards).
  • Special projects as assigned by Program & Outreach Coordinator.

This internship is paid a $1,000 stipend, and is provided room and board while on island in dormitory style housing. Island residency is required 6 days per week with a specific schedule coordinated with the Program & Outreach Coordinator.

The dates of the internship are flexible with a preferred start date around June 8 and end date around August 28, 2015.

Desired Experience:

  • Working knowledge of PastPerfect.
  • Currently enrolled in museum studies or library science program at an accredited university or college.
  • Interest in New England history.

Physical demands:

  • Requires standing, stretching, bending, walking, lifting, climbing stairs, and transporting equipment; working at a computer; must be physically and mentally capable of functioning in a fast-paced work environment in a community setting.
  • Must be able to lift up to 50 lbs.
  • Must be able to walk around island with uneven and rocky terrain.

To Apply:

  • Please send a cover letter and resume to email hidden; JavaScript is required by April 30.
  • Please include contact infomration for two professional references.

Star Island To Announce Completion of Solar Installation At Earth Day Event

March 31st, 2015


This Earth Day – Wednesday, April 22 – the non-profit Star Island Corp. will host an engaging and informative evening with Star Island leaders titled “Going Green”. The public is invited to this presentation on the innovative environmental initiatives underway at Star Island.

Click Here to RSVP

The Earth Day event will be held April 22
At the Discover Portsmouth Center
10 Middle Street, Portsmouth, NH
5:30 to 7 PM
Refreshments provided
Click Here for Directions

Learn about the island’s new solar installation — New England’s largest off-grid photovoltaic array which will produce an estimated 60% of the island’s energy needs beginning this summer. The event will include a discussion by Star Island Facilities Director Jack Farrell, and Environmental Services Manager Kristen Simard from 6 to 6:30 PM. They will highlight programs for energy and water conservation and reuse.

Living with limited resources, Star Island has made it a priority to reduce energy and water use, collect rain water for use in showers and laundry, capture and reuse heat from generators, minimize waste, and grow a portion of the food for the thousands of guests that vacation on Star Island each summer. Farrell says, “Star Island is a role model for other communities. We are able to make changes and see the results immediately. Our ability to use our limited resources wisely allows us to be an example for others.” Efforts like these have positioned Star Island at the forefront of sustainability practices in New England. Star Island was recently awarded the Island Institute’s prestigious Island Energy Innovation Award for its accomplishments.

“We are excited to demonstrate the many ways Star Island is going green,” says Joe Watts, Star Island’s CEO. “We have invested years to find creative ways of living lightly on our island, and we want to share what we’ve learned with others.” Joe Watts will be available to answer any general questions about Star Island and its summer programs throughout the evening.

The open house will include live music by local singer/songwriter Dan Walker. Enjoy a lime rickey and network with other people interested in energy issues.


“Going Green” is made possible through sponsors Wentworth Greenhouses, CrossCurrent Communications, Five Maples, and the Portsmouth Garden Club.

Star Island is one of the nine Isles of Shoals located six miles off the coast of New Hampshire and Maine. Home to the historic Oceanic Hotel and a fishing village from the 1600’s, a visit to Star Island is a step back in time. The 43 acre island is owned and operated by the nonprofit Star Island Corp. During the summer months, Star Island welcomes families and individuals to explore Star’s rugged beauty for a day or take part in weekly programs with a variety of themes such as spirituality, world affairs, ecology and the arts. Star Island is an all inclusive vacation retreat where guests are encouraged to unplug and connect with each other and nature.


Green Gosport Initiative

Click here to learn more about the sustainable efforts Star Island has undertaken and plans to take through our Green Gosport Initiative.

Hear Our Story

Click here to listen to a report from NH Public Radio about our initiatives.

Star Island Staff Clean Up Rye, NH Beach

March 27th, 2015

Star Island staff spend a lot of time focusing on Star Island, and the summer programs that come back year after year. But we also think it’s important to focus on the mainland. For example, on Wednesday, March 25, as part of our bi-annual retreat series, we volunteered our time for a beach clean up. Organzied by our friends at the Blue Ocean Society, the beach clean up was a great way to practice our values with the mainland community, and broadens the scope of our sustainabiliy efforts through the Green Gosport Initiative. Our work to make Star Island a greener, more sustainable place can only get better if we practice what we talk about with others.

Our clean up focused on the “Drowned Forrest” beach near Odiorne’s Point in Rye, NH with the Isles of Shoals just off on the horizon. During this clean up our staff collected a little over 37 lbs of debris which included washed up nets, fishing gear, rope, plastic bags, styrofoam, and cigarette butts. As we picked up trash, we also recorded what we were picking up. The data will then go to state and federal agencies for informational purposes. We appreciated the time to be outdoors, and helping a cause we feel strongly about. Here are some snapshots from our afternoon:

Beach Clean Up 1-1

Our IT Manager, Warren Simard, records what debris he has picked up.

Beach Clean Up 2-2

CEJoe (left) goes to dispose of some debris while Food Service Manager John Bynum (center), and Director of Development Pam Smith (right) record data.

Beach Clean Up 3-3

Facilities Director & Island Manager Jack Farrell searches for debris.

Beach Clean Up 4-4

The team searches the beach for washed up debris.

Beach Clean Up 6-6

After collecting debris from the beach, we consolidate all of it into garbage bags.

Beach Clean Up 5-5

What’s CEO Joe Watts doing in this last picture? After weighing himself, Joe weighs himself plus a bag of collected debris to measure how much we gathered from the beach.

Star Island Teams up with Shoals Marine Lab and UNH Cooperative Extension

March 19th, 2015

Star Island is proud to announce two new internships this summer: Shoals Environmental Education Internships. Star Island is proud to partner with the Shoals Marine Lab and UNH Cooperative Extension to enhance environmental education across the entire Isles of Shoals this summer! The interns will work and live on both Appledore Island and Star Island. They will assist in developing and delivering education programs on Star Island, UNH Marine Docent Tours on Appledore, and with school group visits to SML. In addition, the interns will design an education program for all Isles of Shoals visitors focused on the “Gulls of the Shoals”. This portion of the program will be carried out in collaboration with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Julie Ellis of Tufts University to help improve visitor interactions with resident seabirds. These interns will be mentored by Mark Wiley, NH Sea Grant/Youth and Family Extension Specialist and Arthur Eves, Island Naturalist at Star Island. We are grateful to Shoals Marine Lab and UNH Cooperative Extension for organizing and funding this program.

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Our Mission

Our mission since 1915 is to hold and maintain Star Island and such other property as the Corporation may hold or acquire, as a center for religious, education, and kindred purposes consistent with the principles of the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ.

Our Vision

Our vision is to create on Star Island an environment that frees all who come to renew spiritually, explore matters of consequence, and gain knowledge about the world as it might ideally be.

Contact Star Island

Phone: (603) 430-6272
Fax: (603) 430-6270
Island Phone: (603) 601-0832
Staff Email Address List

Star Island Corporation
Morton-Benedict House
30 Middle Street
Portsmouth, NH 03801

Get directions to the office

Content © 1999–2015 Star Island Corporation. Clouds photo © Axel Rouvin.
Other photos © their respective owners.