Emera Maine Employee Newsletter
Oh…the dreary memory of this long past winter is finally retreating. Time for my wanderlust
to awaken and tempt me to the places I hold dear. My yard cleared of winter litter, and my
new—slightly used—boat readied for adventures. I harken back to the first weekend of June
Admittedly, it’s sometimes a challenge to find a locale that stands out from Maine’s 4,613
picturesque islands, but low and behold, one beckoned. Perusing Maine Atlas, Map # 16, I’ve
looked at this island more than a few times, but given its proximity to the peopled shores of
Cranberry and Mount Desert Islands, I had skipped over it in search of more far-flung shores.
However, on that long ago weekend, it was time.
Four or more miles southeast of Mount Desert is a roundish looking island of 123 acres
called Baker Island. First settled in the early 1800s, it was once home to the Gilley and
Stanley families, who farmed and fished for a living. Nearly two centuries later, the only
evidence of the island’s former inhabitants is a lovely cemetery of ashen stones, old
cottages, and stony cellars. Mostly covered with spruce woods, a swaft of grassy meadow
still remains, leading toward a lighthouse in the middle of the island. Today, Baker Island is
part of Acadia National Park.
The island’s shoreline is a tumble of pink boulders and craggy ledges, broken occasionally
by flat slabs of granite. One such series of shelves was christened the Dance Floor where
people have been known to socialize and waltz. Given the rugged shoreline, it’s difficult to
make landfall and disembark unless you have a dinghy. Fortunately, I timed the tides just
right for this trip. A couple of hours before low tide, I lighted on a stretch of seaweed-covered
stones. In little time, the water had sieved away leaving the boat high and dry until the
After setting anchor, we had lunch on the shore before setting off for the island’s interior. As
we crested a spine of pink granite, we spied the cemetery where past generations of Gilley
and Stanley Families reside. Beyond was a grassy pathway winding past a series of rustic
cottages, and still farther beyond was the Baker Island Lighthouse. Built upon a prominence
of land, the lighthouse beacon is one-hundred and five feet above the surrounding sea. Like
most Maine islands, songbird and rabbit abound. Several times, we were surprised by the
sight of whitetail, seemingly unperturbed by our presence. No doubt, the remnants of an
apple orchard make this a paradise for deer.
Personally, I’ve never visited a lighthouse situated so far from shore, but its location made
sense given the 360 degree view. Regrettably, we didn’t have time to seek out the island’s
Dance Floor. Instead, we headed back to the beach where we flew Angry Bird kites and
waited for the rising tide. We vowed to return again someday—perhaps, this June?
|Secrets of Baker Island
|Maine Travels by John R. Cobb