Counting and Considering Milestones matter. Whether it's turning 21, that arbitrary age when one is considered an adult, marking that 25th wedding anniversary, or ten years on the job, some waypoints carry import and inspire reflection. This edition of the Island Institute's annual Island Journal is our 30th. Forgive our lack of modesty, but this is worth noting and celebrating. The publication has earned a reputation for excellence over the last three decades, not by merely surviving the increasingly stormy seas of the media realm, but by providing readers with colorful, thoughtful, and unique stories and images from and about islands here in Maine, and beyond.
Readers tell us Island Journal is visually stunning, and we agree. Much of the credit goes to one of the Island Institute's two founders, Peter Ralston, whose photographs carry readers to places as near as Vinalhaven and as far away as Newfoundland. With this edition, Island Journal designer Eric Wayne has honored that visual tradition by presenting photographs in large and dramatic form. We trust they will be received as they were conceived-as sparklingly clear windows onto our world. But rather than toast only our own anniversary, we have also focused on other anniversaries in this edition. Monhegan Island-that outpost at the far reaches of Penobscot Bay, with ties to the continent's early European settlers-marks the 400th anniversary of its permanent settlement this year. Rugged and rocky though it is, Monhegan has been fertile ground for some of the finest art New England has produced. It is fitting that renowned art writer Carl Little tackles explaining Monhegan's history.
Other anniversaries and milestones make appearances in this issue. North Haven's June Hopkins turned 90 last November, and she's run her island gift store for 60 years. Great Cranberry native Gary Allen has run more than 100,000 miles in the course of his life, 75,000 of them on the two-mile-long island road. The past is revisited in another anniversary piece, as Harry Gratwick recounts how a bridge changed Deer Isle 75 years ago. And there's the future, in David Conover's contemplation of Google's mapping of the ocean floor. And there's more. A Vinalhaven educator visits Scotland's outer islands and feels at home. A Newfoundland native reports on an island off that province that's being reborn; Island Institute president Rob Snyder visits Sitka, Alaska, and learns how a fishermen-owned processing plant has kept the salmon fleet alive; and fisherman-writer Paul Molyneaux explores the Passamaquoddy tribe's struggles to manage marine resources as its traditions bump up against state law. There's also reflection inspired by death, in poem, essay, and travel dispatch.
The threads that keep the island community tapestry strong, such as Islesboro's remarkable magnet school, the winter obsession with high school basketball on North Haven and Vinalhaven, and the work of an island car mechanic also are featured. In this fast-paced media landscape, where tweets and posts are gulped, not savored, we ask that you return again and again to this year's Island Journal to feast on its many courses. And please-let us know what you think. -Tom Groening, editor