Great Cranberry Island, Maine
Great Cranberry Island, the largest of the Cranberry Isles, has a truly commanding and spectacular view of Mount Desert Island and the mountains of Acadia National Park in Maine. Take a look at this photo of Cadillac Mountain. Wouldn't it be nice to wake up each morning with that on the horizon? Because of its location near the southern entrance of Somes Sound, the island also provides great views of Manset, Southwest Harbor and up into Somes Sound to the northeast. Sutton Island and Northeast Harbor are to the north. Little Cranberry Island and Islesford are to the east. The Bear Island Lighthouse can also be seen from this vantage point.
Great Cranberry Island is about two miles long by one mile wide (3.2 km x 1.6 km) The population ranges from about 40 year-rounders to over 300 during the summer with the added seasonal residents. As with many of the small out islands of Maine, the hardcore year-rounders are mostly fishermen, lobstermen, and their families.
Great Cranberry Island Dock GPS: 44.258252, -68.270516
What is Here
There is a little general store on the north side of Great Cranberry Island near the dock that provides the usual fares. Access to the island is by boat. You can rent a boat in Manset provided that you have the required experience or license. You may also hire a captain to operate the boat. The added benefit of this is the knowledge of the area that they have. Another option is to use one of the water taxi or ferry services. See below for a few options.
Great Cranberry Island has a small museum, café, library with a WiFi hot spot, an art gallery, and a gift shop. It also has a one mile long walking trail that goes through shaded woods with views of moss and ferns and has open views of Mount Desert Island (rated easy). The trail begins behind the Cranberry House.
People will appreciate the Free Shuttle Bus called the Cranberry Explorer (sort of like an extended golf cart that carries 7 passengers plus a driver). The driver has a cell phone with him to receive pick-up calls (207) 244-7800. The Shuttle travels round-trip each half hour starting at the town dock, goes to the other end of the island, then returns. Funding is provided by the Great Cranberry Island Historical Society. Call Cranberry House for more information: (207) 244-7800.
Stats & Facts
- Beal & Bunker Mail Boat and Ferry Service
18 Harbor Drive, Northeast Harbor, Maine
- The Cranberry Cove Boating Co.
(from Southwest Harbor & Manset)
(207) 244-5882 or (207) 460-3977
- The Delight Water Taxi and Custom Cruises
Seasonal service (early June to late September)
- Cranberry Explorer Shuttle Bus
Operates daily - Approximate Schedule
Summer (June 28 - August 31) 9 AM to 6 PM
Fall (September 1 - 30) 10 AM to 4 PM
Call Cranberry House for more info: (207) 244-7800.
- Town of Cranberry Isles
P.O. Box 56, Islesford, ME 04646
- Great Cranberry Zip Code: Cranberry Isles 04625
It Took A While - But I Got There
I was born and raised in Maine. My family went to Bar Harbor and the rest of Mount Desert Island for generations. This tradition continued into my adult life as well. I thought that I was real familiar with the locations and the whole experience of it all. I did not know what I had been missing until I got my own private captain out of Manset in Southwest Harbor and took a trip to visit Great Cranberry Island and Islesford on Little Cranberry Island. I loved it. Have you ever gone somewhere new and wished that you could be sharing it with some close friends or family? This is one of those places.