We were overjoyed to host Kittery’s own Nelson Linscott as our 2018 Veterans Raffle winner last June. We are beyond grateful to have had the opportunity to share our special island with someone new, who has sacrificed so much for our country. From the moment Nelson set foot on Star, it was clear to us that we had made a special connection that would stand the test of time.
Nelson immediately felt the magic of Star. Since then, he has shared the wonders of his experience with us and many others. We are delighted to share the following piece, the first of a series written by Nelson Linscott, about his journey toward becoming a Shoaler. We hope you enjoy reading about Nelson. If you haven’t made a visit to Star Island yet, we think this series will inspire you to take the leap!
A Shoaler in the Making by Nelson Linscott
I grew up poor in North Kittery, Maine, a sleepy farming community bordering rural Eliot, which was once a part of Kittery. Rolling fields of deep grass, hay fields for horses and dairy cows, lined with stone walls from stones plucked from the fields by farmers generations ago was my playground. We didn’t venture far from our small home. Kittery Point, only a couple of miles away, but could have been hundreds of miles away as far as we were concerned. We thought of Kittery Point as another world of lobsters, coastal homes and the sea with views of the horizon and lighthouses on tiny islands. As a boy, I fantasized about the islands. I was an avid reader and stoked with visions from “Treasure Island” and “The Mysterious Islands” I wondered out loud about these specks of rock in the sea. “What are those islands out there?” I asked my mother on a rare visit to Seapoint Beach in Kittery Point.
“The Isles of Shoals”, Mom replied and after several other obviously irritating, persistent questions, I learned that the islands had been home to fishermen, pirates and once there had been a murder there. Ah, my mind began racing. I envisioned pirates with swords and ruffled three corned hats, and treasure, buried treasure of course. I planned my raft. It didn’t look that far out to sea. After I found the buried treasure I would have plenty of money to sail back to the mainland in style. So began my dance with the Isles of Shoals, a group of small Islands I wouldn’t set foot on until I was sixty three years old.
As the years went by, I became interested in Celia Thaxter. I loved poetry, writing, and of course reading. I found my way to the beaches more often on my own with friends and my interest in the islands never wavered. “The Wreck of the Pocahontas” was the first Celia Thaxter poem I read and the words, “The sails that flecked the ocean floor, from East to West leaned low and fled; They knew what came in the distant roar, That fill the air with dread!” I trembled in excitement and horror. Celia had nailed it and I was hooked.
With visits to the local libraries, I learned the history of these tiny specks on the horizon. I was hooked but how does a poor North Kittery boy get to islands ten miles out to sea? I was barely getting enough to eat at home. A trip was out of the question.
In the 1970’s I became an apprentice at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. I was on my own after a stint in the U.S. Army that I wanted to forget. I was married, had a daughter and I had money. I was free to pursue whatever I desired within reason. I had a family to care for. I then heard of Viking Cruises’ trips to the Isles of Shoals. On a bright cool Spring morning we boarded the Viking Sun to cruise out to the islands. I was thrilled. Seeing the mainland from the vantage point of the sea was amazing to me. I had never been on a boat. We were loving the cruise and then I saw the islands. The cruise was only a roundabout cruise to view the islands from the boat. We weren’t stopping. I was amazed at the number and size of the buildings on the islands. Heading back to the mainland, I planned my return but life got in the way. My wife’s chronic Illness kept me from returning. The Isles of Shoals became a distant memory. Occasionally I would read about the islands. I looked from shore at them in the distance. That’s as close as I would get to setting foot on an island for decades. In December of 2017, I received a phone call.
“Hello, Mr. Linscott? This is Lisa from Star Island. How are you today? ”
“Who?” I asked.
“Lisa from Star Island. You have won a trip all expenses paid at Star Island.”
“I can’t hear you. I am almost deaf.”
“Alright Mr. Linscott. You won our Veteran’s Raffle. Could I have your email address?”
“Yeah, Yeah, email me. I don’t remember signing up for anything. Where is it?”
“S t a r I s l a n d!
“”Thank you Mr. Linscott!”
Little did I know after this brief exchange, my life was about to change.