Support Star Island by Eating Dinner

April 15th, 2014

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View the 3-Course Menu | Directions to Robert’s | Reservations

Our friends at Robert’s Maine Grill in Kittery, Maine have done it again. They’ve created a special three-course dinner menu for Wednesday, April 16 and Wednesday, April 23 to support Star Island.

Join us at Robert’s on the 16th and 23rd from 4:30 – 8 pm and a portion of your dinner bill will help support our vision 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.

This special night will also feature a gin lime rickey as a nod to our popular (non-alcoholic) lime rickeys served at the snack bar throughout the summer.

If you live in the New Hampshire seacoast area, we hope you can make it to Robert’s Maine Grill on April 16 or 23.

View the 3-Course Menu | Directions to Robert’s | Reservations

Summer Programs Filling Up

April 14th, 2014

Several of Star Island’s summer programs have already reached their registration capacity and are operating with wait lists. If the program you were hoping to attend is already full, here are some suggestions for other engaging opportunities this summer:

If you were thinking about:

All Star 1


All Star 2

All Star 2 Family Conference Icon

During All Star II, young and old will awake to the sounds of ocean and gulls, marvel at the diversity of flora and fellow Shoalers, and close each day with an inspirational candlelight service in Star’s historic stone chapel. Hours in between are filled with sports, art, music, rowing, theatre, dancing, reading, friendship, and a thought-provoking lecture series, or simply relaxing in a porch rocker at the Oceanic Hotel, communing with one’s self, one’s family, and old and new friends. Morning and afternoon children’s programs led by our wonderful and expert staff offer creative fun for the kids. Gather with us in 2014 for laughter, friendship and spiritual renewal.

Click Here to Register for All Star 2

If you were thinking about:

Institute on Religion in an Age of Science


International Affairs

International Affairs Icon

Rudyard Kipling wrote about the Great Game in the 19th Century: the strategic rivalry between Great Britain and Russia in Central Asia. Today that Great Game continues with the United States, China, India and others maneuvering in Pakistan, which now has the atomic bomb and is a locus of international terrorists groups.

IA 2014 will explore Pakistan’s historic and current strategic role on the international stage and will provide a well-rounded perspective on how and why its people and government do what they do.

Surrounding this theme are a great many activities designed to make a wonderful vacation experience for families of all ages and sizes. These include our traditional workshops in art, music and yoga, various one time workshops, softball games, lectures and book discussions of particular interest to conference participants.

Children ages 18 months to 18 years participate in a robust and engaging youth program.

Click Here to Register for International Affairs

If you were thinking about:

Star Gathering 2


Star Gathering 1

Star Gathering 1 Icon

Baptism, holy communion, ashes on Ash Wednesday, blessings, laying on of hands, anointing at healing services, foot-washing, lighting the Advent wreath—these are a few of the traditional rituals of the Christian church. They are special “spiritual” things we do in church on designated days. But do these practices have a life outside the sanctuary? Are they connected to the realities of our ordinary lives? Do they mean anything to us once we move from Sunday to Monday?

This week’s program will explore a few of these rituals (some of which we call ‘sacraments’), looking for ways they are present, active, and ethically demanding in the everyday. And we’ll ask how, in return, our ordinary experiences might enrich and deepen the rituals we practice in church.

In worship, we will explore stories of scripture and stories of life, and be introduced to people who reveal to us the very heart of God. We will practice “seeing people,” and in doing so, encounter God in our midst.

Click Here to Register for Star Gathering 1

Click here to visit the complete summer 2014 program list.

Early Spring Work

April 11th, 2014

A trip to Star Island yesterday afforded the chance to see the progress made by Star Island staff and contractors on major projects and the annual activities performed to open up the island.

The early morning boat ride was made worthwhile by calm seas, good conversation, plus coffee and bagels. The calm seas and conversation are typical, but the coffee and bagels were a great surprise.

Open Up 7-7

The east siding of the Oceanic Hotel has been removed in less than a week. The Oceanic, with its bare structure showing, makes one marvel at its initial construction in 1875.

Open Up 9-9

The contractors remain busy, and bundled up. While the temperature is rising on the mainland, the crisp Atlantic winds keep Star Island seemingly a season behind.

Open Up 3-3

Inside the Dining Hall, contractors started removing the sound proofing panels. This is the first step in a process to repaint the Dining Hall and install a new sound proofing system. And it’s always good to have an inside project for the contractors on a rainy day.

Open Up 10-10

Another team of contractors is plumbing in the new pump to power the island’s sprinkler system. Later, this team will be working on installing recessed sprinkler heads in the Chapel.

Open Up 8-8

All of this is great work, but you’re probably wondering about drinking water and flushing the toilets. Don’t fret, that work is underway. While the Open Up crew relies on drinking water imported in large jugs from the mainland, your summer stay is hydrated by re-installing the reverse osmosis machines.

Open Up 11-11

And when you flush the toilet on island, this giant machine just put back together yesterday, will — ahem — help the process along.

Open Up 4-4

Which reminds us, you’re probably thinking about ordering your first lime rickey soon; unfortunately, the snack bar isn’t open until June.

Open Up 2-2

Until next time, Star Island.

Open Up 1-1

Interested in Open Up?

Spring time on Star Island is quite the unique perspective. If you want to journey out for a volunteer weekend to experience this sometimes chilly, always exciting time, CLICK HERE for more information and the volunteer application.

Sharing Star Island

April 8th, 2014

You share because you care, so if you care about Star Island (and you probably do) it’s time to start thinking about how you can share your memorable summer experiences with others. Sharing Star Island is about talking to people about our beautiful island, showing photos of sunsets, engaging in conversation, and demonstrating that Star Island spirit of community.

So we’ve gathered some suggestions if you’d like to share Star Island with people you know.

Number One

Talk about Star Island!


This is pretty simple, but if you need an explanation, here goes: While having a conversation with friends, mention Star Island. Talk about how you enjoy your trip out to the island every summer, the way the wind cools you off on a hot day, the voices of morning singers waking you up with news of the breakfast menu, or the talent shows showcasing such amazing people.

If you’re anything like us, your friends have probably already heard about Star Island a lot. But it doesn’t hurt to remind people.

Number Two

Engage with your congregation

Star Island 2014 Program Catalog Cover

Many of the people who come to Star Island first heard about us from a friend at their UCC or UU congregation. And, since we were founded on the traditions of these two faiths, we strongly support engaging people within these communities. When sharing Star Island in your congregation, you can start small by hanging a Star Island poster, or go large by hosting a table during a coffee or social hour. Indulge your imagination to come up with ideas on how to share Star Island within your congregation. One Shoaler bought mugs for his congregation’s coffee hour that features Star Island’s chapel. Perfect conversation starter.

In between hanging a poster and hosting a social hour table, think about making a Star Island display to hang in a church hall, providing Star Island program catalogs for folks, and putting a Star Island ad in your congregation’s bulletin.

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And, if your minister has never been to Star Island, definitely invite him or her. And put your minister in touch with the registrar of your conference to see about the Minister Overnight Program, which can cover the cost of an overnight for any minister who has never been to Star before.

Number Three

The 30% off Discount


Star Island is offering a very specific discount in 2014 which provides people entirely new to Star Island from selected congregations and historical societies 30% off room and board for attending the full length of selected summer programs.

Click here to check out more details about this discount

This discount does require some effort on your part. First, you tell us what the selected congregations or historical societies are. Here’s a for instance: You regularly attend service at First Church, and you want to share this discount with people you know there. Email email hidden; JavaScript is required letting us know that you would like First Church to be included in the church discount. And viola! It’s done. Well, that part is done. The second part is pretty easy, too: tell your friend(s) about the discount! And let them know when they register to click the “Targeted Church Discount” on the registration form. Pretty simple (and affordable).

The links below are more resources for sharing this discount:

Discount FAQs | Discount Flyer

Number Four

Social Media


Help feed the social media beast with Star Island. We’ve seen you taking loads of sunset pictures on island, and many a rocking chair snapshot, too. So, let the world see these gems. We suggest tagging posts with #StarIslandNH, but there’s no requirement. We love coming across old photos on Thursdays (that’s #ThrowBackThursday if you were wondering why), and we’re still waiting to see Uncle Oscar appear on someone’s feed for #MCM (that’s #ManCrushMonday). Basically, there are a lot of reasons to post Star Island photos, videos, and info. But, the best reason: there’s no reason. Just go ahead and post away.

If you’re looking for inspiration, here are some awesome videos set on Star Island:

Okay, you’re right, that last video is more just for laughs, but it shows that Star Island is about having fun with creative people.

Number Five

Send a Postcard

Send a postcard…from Star Island, that is. This one is for you procrastinators, and doesn’t require your attention for a few months. Here’s the skinny: Purchase a few postcards and stamps from the bookstore on island. And then write to your heart’s content (as long as it fits on the postcard) about how much you are loving your time on Star and how much the person you’re writing to should visit next year (or later this summer when you both come back for a Personal Retreat).

Don’t forget to affix a stamp to your postcard before dropping it in the mail slot on the front desk. And you’re golden. We don’t usually like to promote gloating, but that’s the prime reason to write postcards, right?

So there you have it. Five simple ways to share Star Island with people you know. If you have any questions, email email hidden; JavaScript is required.

And, if you are feeling even more inclined to share Star Island, explore the Ambassador page for resources.

Three Year Map Reinforces Our Mission and Vision

March 21st, 2014

by Joe Watts, CEO

Star Island’s new strategic map is now in place with community, economic, environment, and stewardship goals at its core. This map serves as a basis for our decision making and reinforces our mission and vision.

Star Island Sean D Elliot People gathered at flag pole

Any good map helps us to get where we want to go. Our strategic map, with our four goals and accompanying objectives, is an important means to an end that we believe directs us to a vibrant island with full conferences, an engaged community and a focus on innovative preservation of our traditions.

I encourage you to explore this map by visiting Our three year journey includes everyone in our Shoaler community, and we should all have this map in hand with a vibrant Star Island in our hearts.

Click here to view Star Island’s Strategic Map.

Winter 2014 Newsletter

Star Island's winter 2014 newsletter showcases various maps and plans that Star Island has set in place for this coming season and for the next three years.

Star Map: South Rocks

March 21st, 2014

by Ellen M. Taylor, Writers in the Round

As a child, we would sail out to Star Island from Kittery on the family cat boat, made by my father and named “The Flying Clod.” There was always that moment when Star came into view, the grand Oceanic Hotel like a figurehead on the prow of the island. We would drop anchor in Gosport Harbor, row ashore for ice cream and explore the rock formations on the south end.

Star Island Aerial Darren Grebe South Rocks

Now when I return, my favorite place to sit is still at the south end, with the safety of the hotel and my songwriters/poets family at my back. I love to stretch out on the sun-warmed granite, watch the clouds soar, listen to the gulls’ cackling and laughter, the roar of the surf against the island’s edge. There’s something so wild on that tip of land, yet so protected – anchored by familiar buildings and family. Everyone feels like family on Star – for indeed we are – sharing that rock ten miles from shore, isolated, yet connected.

Winter 2014 Newsletter

Star Island's winter 2014 newsletter showcases various maps and plans that Star Island has set in place for this coming season and for the next three years.

Star Map: Lawrance

March 21st, 2014

by Karen Ellis, Star Gathering 1 & 2

I only know that I write “LAWRANCE” on my basket supplies and tools and they magically appear in a room at the end of the porch on the first floor of Gosport. From that moment on, it becomes “the basket room” for those attending Star Gathering 1 and 2. So, Lawrance is a mystery to me, but I know where “the basket room” is!

Star Island Aerial Darren Grebe Lawrance

For the past ten years, basket weaving has been taught in Lawrance during Star Gathering 1 and 2 and sometimes during Star Women. It is a joy to see all ages working together to weave. Many friendships have been made while learning to weave in this room.

Winter 2014 Newsletter

Star Island's winter 2014 newsletter showcases various maps and plans that Star Island has set in place for this coming season and for the next three years.

Next Page »

Star Island is one of the rocky, wind-swept Isles of Shoals, located off the coast of Rye, New Hampshire. For over 100 years, summers here have provided individuals and families with a welcome respite from their busy mainland lives.

Star Island Corporation is a nonprofit organization which maintains the island and its facilities and provides hospitality services for visitors.

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 © 1999–2014 Star Island Corporation. Clouds photo © Axel Rouvin.
Other photos © their respective owners.