On the Island

The 2009 Summer Season Open-Up

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

Ghost Hunters on Star Island

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

Star Island Thanks Community for Support with Office Move

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.

Victoria Hardy

CEO, Star Island Corporation


Star Island Newsletter

Star Island Newsletter

Winter 2009

Volume XXXV, Issue 1

    Inside this Issue:
  • From the CEO
  • From the Development Office
  • From the President
  • Ghost Hunters
  • Help Spread the Word
  • Introducing Our New Development levitra online sales Director, Angela Matthews
  • Passages
  • Tell us your Story
  • Poetry: Isles of Shoals
  • Seacoast Day on Star Island

On the Island

Star Island Corporation Moves its Offices to the Morton-Benedict House

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

On the Island

Star Island Benefit at Dos Amigos and The Red Door

We are holding a benefit for Star Island all day on Tuesday, December 2nd at Dos Amigos Burritos (owned by former Pelican, Joel Harris) and The Red Door. All day, 15% of anything you buy at Dos Amigos will be donated to Star. Also, for every special “Star Island” drink you order at The Red Door, $2 will be donated to Star.

The year-round office folks will be at Dos for lunch that day at 11:30 a.m. if you want to come by and say hi.

Tell your friends! Bring your neighbors! We hope to see you there!

Dos Amigos and the Red Door are located on the corner of State and Chapel in Portsmouth. Check them out online at dosamigosburritos.com and reddoorportsmouth.com.

Neighbors in the Shoals

Star Island in the News

Karen Dandurant writes about Star Island in Sunday’s Portsmouth Herald in an article entitled 112-year-old Star Island makes 21st century upgrades

“People have been visiting Star Island since 1897, 112 years. At that time, the rates at the island retreat were $10 a week and covered the room and three meals a day for a week. Times have changed, but the island hasn’t changed much. It still has that unique 19th-century feel that is guaranteed to put anyone’s mind at ease.”

(Photo of Vicky Hardy courtesy Karen Dandurant)

In addition, Foster’s Daily Democrat featured a piece on the Shoals entitled Seacoast a spooky magnet for ‘Ghost Hunters;’ to film 2nd episode at Isles of Shoals.

Dugan said the Isles of Shoals shoot was among their more difficult as the crew battled rough seas, harsh tides and unseasonably cold nights, which is often when they must shoot video for the show.

“This was challenging,” said Dugan.

He said the atmosphere on Star Island and its Oceanic Hotel made for an interesting backdrop for the episode.

“It was like taking a walk back in time,” he said.

The Star Island episode is the first Ghost Hunters has shot in high definition and Dugan suspects the episode could be the premier in their next season, which he said will begin in January or March.

(“Investigators interviewed local historian Ann Beattie at the Athenaeum in Market Square.”—Cunningham/Democrat photo)

Neighbors in the Shoals

You’re Invited: Banks Gallery “Island Light” Exhibit and Reception

We are pleased to announce that the second exhibition “Island Light, Paintings of the Isles of Shoals” will be running at the Banks Gallery from November 7th, 2008, through January 4th, 2009.

All friends of Star Island are invited to a preview reception at the gallery on Thursday, November 6th from 8 to 10 p.m.

The reception will include dessert with chocolates by Byrne & Carlson Chocolatier and wine from South Street and Vine.

Tickets are $25 per person and all proceeds benefit Star Island Corporation. In addition, a portion of any artwork sold at the preview will benefit Star as well.

For information on tickets, please call the Banks Gallery at (603) 431-9799 (closed Monday & Tuesday) or email info@banksgallery.com.


Star Island Newsletter

Star Island Newsletter

Autumn 2008

Volume XXXIV, Issue 3

    Inside this Issue:

  • Darwin Conference
  • Scout’s Butterfly Playground
  • From the CEO
  • From the President
  • Pre-WWII Pelicans
  • Fundraising Update
  • Star Island Survey
  • Passages
  • Banks Gallery Art Benefit
  • Edith Doolittle: 60 Years on Star

On the Island

Development Director Job Search

The Star Island Corporation, a not-for-profit 501(c) (3) organization with offices based in Portsmouth, NH seeks qualified candidates for the 3/4-time position of Development Director.

The Development Director designs, implements and manages all fundraising activities including annual giving, endowment and capital campaigns, and serves as the senior advisor on development for the Chief Executive Officer, the Board of Directors and its committees.

This 3/4 time position reports to the CEO of the Star Island Corporation, offers a competitive salary along with a comprehensive benefit package.

Please view the job listing and application information and the detailed job description if you or someone you know is interested in the position.