On the Island

Island Historian

Star Island is pleased to announce that Isles of Shoals historian Ann Beattie will be in-residence on the island this summer and available to provide historic talks and tours.

Ann is an educator with a fascination for the Isles of Shoals and its rich history. She combs through historical records, salt cod recipes, and journals of Shoalers in an effort to capture and revive the unique stories that bring Shoals history to life. Ann is a former president of the Isles of Shoals Historical and Research Association and has served as a Board member of the Portsmouth Athenaeum. She leads tours of the Shoals and hosts several week-long history programs on Star Island. Ann always has an intriguing tale to tell about a place so magical it will steal your heart.

Be sure to stop by and meet Ann in Vaughn Cottage or schedule a program for your conference!

Learn more about Ann’s programming below:

Isles of Shoals: Historical Programs

The Wondrous Isles of Shoals: Explore four centuries of life on the nine stark and hauntingly beautiful Isles of Shoals through a series of fascinating historical images. Investigate the role the Isles played in the worldwide fishing trade of the 17th century and the resort industry in the 19th century. Discover the natural and cultural wonders of the Isles of Shoals today.


An Abundance of Cod ~ The Fishing Era at the Isles of Shoals: Discover how cod fueled the settlement of New England and go back in time to the era when the Isles of Shoals was the busiest spot in the New World. Explore legends from the past of pirates, ghosts and shipwrecks on the islands.


The Grand Resort Hotel Era & Modern Times at the Isle of Shoals: Find out why hundreds of people packed their trunks and spent the summer at one of the Isle of Shoals resort hotels in the 19th century and why hundreds of people continue to explore the natural beauty of the Shoals today.


140 Years at Sea ~ The Oceanic Hotel: Investigate the legacy of the Isles of Shoals’ grand Oceanic Hotel, one of New England’s few remaining Victorian resort hotels. Hear tales of the subterfuge and rivalry that inspired the building of the Oceanic on Star Island and the renowned Appledore House across the harbor. Discover how flames destroyed the hotels, and
learn of the ingenious effort in creating a second grand Oceanic Hotel.


The Infamous Isles of Shoals: Investigate the lore and legends of the Isles of Shoals and determine the truth behind stories of pirates, treasure, ghosts and murder just 10 miles of the coasts of Maine and New Hampshire. Learn of the isolated village of Gosport on Star Island and the seemingly peculiar behavior of its residents.


The Artistry of the Isles of Shoals ~ Celia Thaxter’s Salon: Something about the mystery of islands and the endless sea vista seems to ignite creativity, and the Shoals have inspired writers, musicians and artists for centuries. Explore the lives and work of the famous visitors to poet Celia Thaxter’s salon and discover how they collaborated to produce some
of their finest pieces.


Mystery, Murder & Mayhem at the Isles of Shoals: Over 125 years ago, two women were murdered on an isolated island at the Isles of Shoals. One woman survived and the story she told scandalized the nation. Revisit the crime and decide for yourself whether the man convicted for the murders was really responsible for the tragic deaths on Smuttynose Island.

All programs: 1 hour, $100

Ann Beattie
abeattie@comcast.net