On the Island
July 08, 2009
Shannon Roecklein, Star Island Assistant Conference Center Director, had the unique pleasure of leading a guided tour of the island for Senators Judd Gregg, Trent Lott, and Lamar Alexander and their wives on Saturday, June 20. The group was brought to the island by Sue Reynolds aboard her boat, the Uncle Oscar, and by all reports the trip was a great pleasure for everyone.
“Senator and Mrs. Gregg often go to the Isles of Shoals, and have done so for many years, to visit the various UNH marine initiatives, Celia Thaxter’s Garden, and to support the White Island Lighthouse for which they helped to secure over $250,000 for restoration efforts. Last month, the Greggs enjoyed the opportunity to bring Senator and Mrs. Trent Lott and Senator and Mrs. Lamar Alexander to Star Island, and especially appreciated touring the Island which is such an important landmark and historic area in New Hampshire,” stated Laena Fallon, Press Secretary to Senator Gregg.
Members of the Board of Trustees met with the esteemed visitors and were happy to see that Senator Gregg came back to Star Island (we all do come back) and that he brought such a distinguished group of friends.
Photos: (top) Senator Gregg, Mrs. Lamar Alexander, Senator Lamar Alexander, Mrs. Judd Gregg, Former Senator Trent Lott, and Mrs. Trent Lott. (bottom) Shannon Roecklein with Senator Alexander.
On the Island
July 01, 2009
“Moments after the Thomas Laighton ferry docked at Star Island yesterday, several passengers disembarked and headed straight for the wooden rocking chairs overlooking Gosport Harbor.
Some came to escape the chaos of their lives on the mainland.
Others came to tour the rocky island they haven’t seen since they were young.”
Check out the full article.
Neighbors in the Shoals
July 01, 2009
It all began on a beautiful June day in 2006 when Emmy Award-winning producer Andrea Melville visited Star Island with her family. That day, she rediscovered the magic of the Shoals and had the idea of producing a television documentary.
She learned there had never been a television program featuring the complete history of the Isles of Shoals. With an extensive program outline in hand, she began writing grants to fund her one–hour documentary, An Island Kingdom. Books were read, historians were found and the first grant was awarded; taping began in May 2007. Since then, more than twenty hours of interviews, historic photographs and beautiful views of the Shoals have been taped—with more to go!
An Island Kingdom includes important historic events dating from 1614. The program features interviews with historians familiar with the history, culture and characters of the Isles of Shoals, historic photographs, film, drawings and paintings. Music spanning four centuries is featured, composed by seacoast musicians. Actors reading letters and poetry written by residents and guests of the Shoals enhances the program while an actor portraying Nathaniel Hawthorne, who visited Appledore House Hotel in 1852, becomes the “host” of An Island Kingdom.
Many current, on-going projects that highlight present-day restoration and conservation efforts that sustain the history of these islands and strengthen their importance off the New England coast are also be featured.
An Island Kingdom has received generous support from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts and the New Hampshire Humanities Council. This project is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a nonprofit arts service organization that will receive donations in behalf of An Island Kingdom. Copies are available for purchase in the Oceanic Hotel gift shop on Star Island.
On the Island
April 17, 2009
Beginning this June the Thomas Laighton, sailing out of Portsmouth, will provide ferry service to Star Island three days a week. The Isles of Shoals Steamship Company will offer passage mornings and afternoons on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays from mid-June through mid-September.
See ISSCO website for details.
On the Island
April 03, 2009
The first group of staff moved to Star Island on March 30 to begin two and half months of work to prepare the facilities for the summer season, which officially begins June 13. Each week more staff will join the first crew and they will be joined by volunteers on work weekends beginning May 1 and ending June 7.
Pictured [from left to right] are Noah Blakney (Logistics and Purchasing Manager), Andrew Burt (Island Information Technology), Tietjen Hynes (Island Engineer), Ryan Langley (Transportation and Equipment Manager), Shannon Roecklein (Assistant Conference Center Director), Keith Noyes (Director of Operations and Maintenance), and Friendly (Dog).
On the Island
March 19, 2009
The television production crew for the Sci-Fi Channel’s series Ghost Hunters came to Star Island in November to film an episode about its spectral visitors. The producers, directors and on-camera investigators from The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) spent a week in Portsmouth preparing for their night in on Star Island. Their work began with historical research at the Portsmouth Athenaeum and included interviews with local historians and ended with a dark and stormy night spent on Star Island.
The Star Island episode was broadcast as the premier program for its new season on March 18 at 9 pm EST on the Sci-Fi channel. It is the first program filmed in high definition. This is the second Ghost Hunter’s program filmed in the Seacoast area. In October they spent a night in the Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse at Fort Constitution in New Castle. This show aired on December 10. Both episodes are available for viewing on the show’s website: www.scifi.com/rewind/.
Star Island historian Ann Beattie met with the television crew to film a segment about major events in the island’s history and lighter topics, including stories about pirates and mysterious events on the island.
Roxie Zwicker, author of three books, whose New England Curiosities tours include Maritime Mysteries and Ghostly Lighthouses, knows first-hand the effect of a Ghost Hunter’s show. “After the Ghost Hunter’s show about Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse, the phone didn’t stop ringing and we had to add dates for our Lighthouse tours,” said Zwicker.
Visitors to the Seacoast and the Isles of Shoals this summer will likely include many who first heard of the area through one of the Ghost Hunters shows. We expect some will come to Star Island out of curiosity and we know some will come back because the spirit of Star Island will become part of them and they will become part of Star Island.
On the Island
February 06, 2009
Star Island CEO Vicky Hardy expressed her gratitude for volunteer and community support in the following letter to the editor in the Portsmouth Herald:
Star Island Corp. grateful for help with new home
Feb. 3 — To the Editor:
On Monday, Feb. 2, the Star Island Corporation opened its offices in the Morton-Benedict House at 30 Middle St., Portsmouth. This historic building, part of the former Portsmouth Library, now the Discovery Center, was made ready by a Star Island volunteer paint crew led by Dave and Patti Boynton.
More than 20 volunteers gave up one of their weekend days on Saturday, Jan. 24, to paint the walls and the complex moldings so popular in the early 1800s when the house was built. At noon a crew from Flatbread Co. showed up with a stack of pizzas for the volunteers who happily took a break from ladders, buckets and paint brushes.
On behalf of everyone at the Star Island offices, I thank all of the volunteers who worked on this project since it began, especially Patti and Dave Boynton who have been hard at it and led the effort since Jan. 9. I also want to express our thanks to Flatbread Co., which heard about the volunteer effort and spontaneously donated the delicious lunch.
Star Island is one of the rocky, wind-swept Isles of Shoals, located off the coast of Rye. For more than 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.
CEO, Star Island Corporation
On the Island
January 12, 2009
The SIC will move its offices two blocks from its current location to the Morton-Benedict House, 30 Middle Street. This historic building, part of the former Portsmouth Library, now the Discovery Center, is being made ready by a volunteer paint crew of twenty-five Star stalwarts led by Dave and Patti Boynton. “New” office furniture was donated by Josh Davis, board member and long-time LOAS conferee.
J. Dennis Robinson writes about the interesting history of the Morton-Benedict House in his article “Things You Never Knew about Old Portsmouth Library” on SeacoastNH.com. He states that, “Portsmouth loves to recycle its architecture. What we call the “old library” is really two separate Federal Style buildings – a private home and a school – both built around 1810. The former Portsmouth Academy and the Morton-Benedict House were linked by a brick connector in 1954. Both priligy reviews have a fascinating history.”
“Thomas Morton built the fashionable brick residence next door to the Academy with a well and a stable. Morton ran a store downtown selling groceries and goods from the West India Trade that was at its peak in 1810. Only two years later, as America entered the War of 1812 and the economy began to falter, Morton advertised the house for sale in the NH Gazette. The house had twelve more owners and a number of additions before it was purchased by the city and officially became part of the Portsmouth Public Library in 1951. The interior, amazingly, remains much as it did in 1810.”
The Academy and the main library building are still in use by the Portsmouth Historical Society’s Discover Portsmouth Center.
Our address as of February 2, 2009 will be:
The Star Island Corporation
The Morton-Benedict House
30 Middle Street
Portsmouth, NH 03801