You’ll find Norton Island a mile off Beal’s Island, across the bridge from Jonesport, 50 miles up the coast from Bar Harbor.
Norton is a 150-acre island consisting of, primarily, spruce forests, massive glacial dumps and quarries of granite, birch, berries, and blankets of lush moss, “The Devil’s Broadloom.” The only permanent residents of Norton Island are bald eagles, seals, herons, ducks, deer, and feisty raccoons. You have never heard such varieties of birdsong. There are no poisonous plants or dangerous animals. The Nature Conservancy owns many of the surrounding islands, where the abundant wildlife, endangered species, and rare vegetation produced by the area’s unique microclimate are protected.
Travel to and from the island, as well as planned day trips, will be made with one of our 3 outboard boats. Leisure activities include amazing and varied hikes around the island, rowing, fishing, berry/flower gathering, sea kayaking, animal and bird watching, and exploring other nearby islands aboard the larger boat. Because of the ocean, rough terrain, and isolation, residents are required to sign a release form. In the fifteen years of the program, no one has ever been injured.
"I spent a perfect two weeks on this perfectly hatched island among a whole shoal of pine furry islands. There were seals, raccoons fishing for mussels, lobster men going by in the fog, seaweed red and ochre. And then the sun would come out, every now and again, and the sea would switch blue as a blueberry. The beauty of this place is astounding. The strawberries are small and flavorful. The lobster is the best I’ve ever tasted. The eggs are tiny and in several shades of white and brown… I miss it terribly as I write this, miss the bonfires and hiking through the mossy interior of the island, miss chatting with my fellow artists. It was a happy mixture of camping and writing colony. I worked very well with a clear brain and intense concentration, edited an entire manuscript of 450 pages, departed swigging a last bottle and singing pirate ditties. This has been the most generous writer’s center I have visited and I’m grateful to Steve for his kindness and for the fact that he keeps this place wild and devoid of that sanitary, academic, uptight atmosphere of so many of these centers."
Kiran Desai, author, The Inheritance of Loss, winner of the 2006 Mann Booker Prize