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.


News from the Board

An update from Brad Greeley, Board President

At a special Board meeting May 18th, the Star Island Board of Directors re-elected me as President and elected Russ Peterson to be our new Vice President. Russ is a regular at NHC and has been the President of South Church in Portsmouth which I also attend.

Open-up went very well. Perhaps the most exciting news was the remarkable progress being made on the West Wall. Our fire inspections all went very well and our first conferences—ARTS and YAC—are now up and running.

Registration. We are coming along but are behind last year’s numbers. If you are not yet decided, please join us. The Board voted to eliminate Room & Board charges for children 2 and under. It is an obvious investment in the future. We are on target budget-wise for the end of the year, but we need to fill more beds in a number of conferences.

As you can see in the picture, the Chapel path has been greatly improved. However, we still are exploring options for Chapel seating.

We have taken a hard look at who we are and how we function. I am confident that we have learned a great deal and are moving ahead well. We all are looking forward to the summer as never before. On behalf of the SIC Board, we hope you get to the Island for a week, or perhaps just a few days. We need you to come back, feel the spirit of our Island and be refreshed so you will be re-inspired to help us continue on our mission.

Yours in Star spirit,
Brad Greeley


Portsmouth Herald reports on new Star Island CEO

Be sure to check out this article from the Sunday, May 18, 2008, Herald: New CEO wants Star Island to shine.

The new chief executive officer of the Star Island Corp. at the Isles of Shoals has a goal of bringing the island up to code and into the 21st century.

Of course, visiting Star Island is a bit like stepping back in time, and that’s important to many of the regular visitors.

And that means walking a fine line to accomplish both objectives.

Some great photos accompany the article, and you’ll also want to check out another recent photo gallery of Star pics on the Herald site.


Star Island Newsletter

Star Island Newsletter

Spring 2008

Volume XXXIV, Issue 2

    Inside this Issue:

  • Seacoast Day
  • Shelter Rock Grant
  • On Solid Ground: 2008 Annual Fund
  • Passages
  • Personal Retreats
  • We Apologize
  • News from the Island
  • Conference Availability Update

On the Island

Star Island Corporation welcomes new executive: Seasoned educator, college administrator to lead

The following is a news release from Star Island Corporation

ISLES OF SHOALS, RYE, NH—An experienced educator and former Stanford University senior administrator is the first Chief Executive Officer of the Star Island Corporation (SIC).

Victoria Hardy, of Lowell, Mass., is the new head of the non-profit religious and educational organization operating summer conferences at the enchanting Oceanic Hotel & Conference Center at Star Island, one of the historic Isles of Shoals.

Hardy will lead the historic and serene island destination to a new productive platform in 2008 following a short 2007 season. Hardy most recently served as a professor and academic department head of design and facilities at the Boston-based Wentworth Institute of Technology where she worked since 2003. “The opportunity to work with the Star Island Corporation is one that I delightfully embrace,” said Hardy. “It is a tranquil and historic island destination attracting a diverse audience and reflecting the best of New England.”

Star Island is one of only a handful of places in the region where groups, individuals and families can come together for a quintessential New England getaway, Hardy said. Star Island is known for its traditional environment. Offering a rare glimpse at the grand hotel era when Star Island—home to the extraordinary Oceanic Hotel—attracted such notable artists and writers as Childe Hassam and Nathaniel Hawthorne, the educational and religious conference center will reopen for a full season in mid-June.

“We are excited to welcome new visitors and long-time conference guests to the Oceanic Hotel and grounds for an engaging family or corporate retreat, a religious or educational conference or to simply reflect on the days gone by in an open and safe environment,” she said.

Prior to her work in Boston, Hardy, 61, was the primary facility management faculty at Ferris State University in Michigan for ten years. Before joining Ferris State, Hardy spent twenty years managing programs and facilities at Stanford University, in the Meadowlands in New Jersey, and in Detroit, in addition to consulting in the arts and entertainment industry. She was named the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) Distinguished Member of the Year for 2005, received the Boston IFMA Chapter Education and Professional Development Award in 2005, and was selected in 2001 as the IFMA Distinguished Educator. Hardy completed her term responsibilities at the Wentworth Institute and joined Star Island Corporation full time March 10 after her appointment by the board of directors.

“Hardy brings a wealth of experience and demonstrated business expertise to the organization,” said Brad Greeley, president of the SIC Board of Trustees. “She also brings with it personal familiarity with diversity and a spirit and energy which match her experience and expertise. We are fortunate to have Victoria Hardy to guide our organization.”

Hardy holds a Bachelor’s of Science, a Master’s Degree in Management, and is a graduate of the Stanford Management Development Program. She is also a certified facility manager both in the United States and Japan.

There are many opportunities to visit Star Island, Hardy said. For example, last year the island hosted more than 100 people on personal overnight retreats. In addition, families or individuals may sign-up for one of the many conferences this summer season including the Natural History Conference, the International Affairs Conference, Elderhostel in September or one of the many faith-based meetings.

Others with private boats in Gosport Harbor are welcome to tie up a dinghy to the dock for a day visit. In addition, other boat companies offer day or evening island cruises to Star Island aboard the Uncle Oscar in Rye or the Newburyport-based Captain’s Lady. For those interested in visiting the island as an overnight guest in 2008 with a conference group, as a family or an individual, inquiries may be made via email by contacting office@starisland.org.

The non-profit Star Island Corporation has owned and operated Star Island for religious, educational, and kindred purposes since 1916, providing affordable individual and family retreat. While Star Island is founded on the liberal spiritual ideals of Unitarian-Universalism and the United Church of Christ, people of many denominations and faiths (including none) attend conferences regularly. Each of the Star Island conferences is self-administered by a dedicated group of volunteers and the island is staffed in the summer season by over one hundred young people, affectionately known as Pelicans. The organization is headquartered year-round from its offices in Portsmouth.

For more information about Star Island conferences, events or fundraising, log on to its official website at www.starisland.org or call the Star Island office at (603) 430-6272.