Another great birding adventure on Monhegan Island

We fell in love with Monhegan 9 years ago during a day trip there with Maine Audubon. And we’ve been returning every year since then, initially for 3 days, and now for a week in May, ideal time for birding.

We were there two weeks ago and the birding was spectacular, but we really love the island for its stunning scenery, great hikes, and friendly people. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy life.

I love this quote of Winnie Murdock’s grandmother: “There’s nothing to do on Monhegan and people get up early to do it.”

After I was diagnosed with ALS, Linda and I decided to stop traveling out-of-state and spend our time at our favorite places in Maine, including Monhegan, where we hope to return in September.

The island has lots of conservation lands and great hiking trails. And you don’t need a vehicle because everything is within walking distance.

We always ride out and back on one of the Barstow’s boats out of Port Clyde, Monhegan Boat Line. The trip takes about 75 minutes.
We stay at Shining Sails where John and Winnie Murdock are wonderful hosts. Last fall, when Shining Sails was full, they put us in a nice apartment at Fish and Maine. Our apartment at Shining Sails offers great ocean views and a beautiful back yard where we spend a lot of time.

Very few places on the island are open in May, but our apartment includes a kitchen where Linda cooks wonderful meals. The Murdocks do serve breakfast, giving us a chance to get acquainted with other guests. We’ve visited Monhegan enough that we now know quite a few residents, all of whom are very friendly. I also love their library, where the young librarian, Mia, is very helpful.

We saw lots and lots of birds which stop on Monhegan as they migrate north. There are lots of birders and birding guides on the island in May, and all are very helpful to us. We especially enjoyed spending a little time with Derek Lovitch of Freeport, one of Maine’s top birding guides. Linda and I use Derek’s book Birdwatching in Maine a lot. He lined up expert birders in each section of the state to write guides for birding in their areas.

We love the Island Inn’s restaurant and were pleased when it opened for the season while we were there, giving us a chance for a wonderful dinner. And of course, I enjoy the great beers brewed on the island at Monhegan Brewing Company.

Check out Shining Sails at and get yourself to one of Maine’s very special places, Monhegan Island, sometime soon.

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.