In Maine, we have the best artists, the best galleries and the best summers. We also have islands that are easily accessed by ferries, and some even by car.
Combine all that, and we have the making of a great road trip, by land or by sea. With summer on the way, here are eight ideas for island galleries across Maine, where you can get away for a few hours, overnight or several days to explore islands, art and the intersection of beauty, creativity and bliss.
15 Epps St., Peaks Island, Portland. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily and until 8 p.m. during Portland’s First Friday Art Walk. 712-1097 or richardboydpottery.com.
Peaks is the easiest island to get to in Casco Bay, and the Richard Boyd Gallery provides a great excuse for an excursion. The gallery is open year-round, which says a lot about the serious nature of the work of gallery owners Richard Boyd, a ceramicist, and his wife Pamela Williamson. They live on the island, and opened the gallery in 2012. They represent about 15 artists, including acrylic painter Jane Herbert, who lives in Damariscotta. The gallery is featuring her work through June 29, along with gallery artists. Getting there: cascobaylines.com
The Islesford Dock Gallery is magical. It is situated on the wharf in an rickety building that is divided into a series of small rooms where the walls are packed with art, salon style. And what a roster of artists: Henry Isaacs, Lynn Peters, Susan Wilder and Judy Taylor are among the widely known artists who show work there. It offers spectacular views of the mountains on the mainland, and the island is home to noted Maine artist Ashley Bryan. A tip: Settle in for dinner at the adjacent Islesford Dock Restaurant, and stay for the sunset. There are none better in Maine. It opens for the season June 22.
Getting there: islesford.com/node/3
1 Lighthouse Hill, Monhegan; opens June 24, 1:30-3:30 p.m. daily through June 30; 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. July and August, and 1:30-3:30 p.m. September; monheganmuseum.org
This summer, the museum high atop Maine’s best-known artists’ island will feature the work of island artist Lawrence C. Goldsmith. Goldsmith painted on Monhegan for nearly 40 years, beginning in the 1960s. His work is colorfully abstract and captures the many moods and shifting characteristics of the island. The museum opens for the season June 24.
Getting there: monheganwelcome.com/get-here
48 Main St., Monhegan; 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily; 594-8131; lupinegallerymonhegan.com
At any given time, there are more artists per capita on Monhegan than on any other island in Maine. Or so goes the story. Since 1985, the Lupine Gallery has shown and sold art by some of the finest artists who have worked on the island, past and present. Lupine shows hundreds of paintings, and this summer returns to its long tradition of featuring many artists at once. In recent years, the gallery has featured solo shows, as well. This year, the gallery is showing the work of the late island painter Don Stone at the Island Inn.
Getting there: monheganwelcome.com/get-here
60 Main St., Vinalhaven; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday; 863-9351; neweragallery.com
The New Era Gallery opened in 2002 and quickly established a reputation for showing two- and three-dimensional contemporary work by an array of artists with ties to the island. The annual “Winter Works” exhibition is up through June 22. Beginning June 25, the gallery features work by George Bartko. Gallery owner Elaine Austin Crossman runs the gallery as she makes a painting. “Each season starts in a specific place and evolves from there,” she said. “I put together artists whose work I feel is complementary in some way, and some kind of dialog develops among the works that are on the walls.”
Getting there: maine.gov/mdot/ferry/vinalhaven
7 Hopkins Wharf, North Haven; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily; 867-4647
It’s hard to beat a gallery on a wharf. Hopkins Wharf on North Haven shows work by island artists, of whom there are many, including the painters Eric Hopkins and David Wilson. “We do group shows, all from the island or pretty close vicinity,” said Wilson, who helps run the gallery. “We’re very local. There are a lot of professional local artists from North Haven, Vinalhaven and the midcoast.” The work changes weekly. Getting there: maine.gov/mdot/ferry/northhaven
61 N. Deer Isle Road, Deer Isle; 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, 2-6 p.m. Sunday; 348-9977; theturtlegallery.com
The Turtle Gallery has been showing fine contemporary art on Deer Isle since 1982 and has a reputation for blending art and craft in a variety of media. The season-opening exhibition illustrates the breadth of the gallery’s artistic vision. The show features landscape photography by longtime gallery painter Lydia Cassatt; abstract drawings by University of Maine art professor MaJo Keleshian; new work by metalsmith Stephen Yusko; wood pieces by Chris Joyce; and spheric sculptures and sacred spoons by wood artist Jacques Vesery in his first exhibition at Turtle. The show opens with a reception from 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday and is on view through July 9.
Getting there: Deer Isle is accessible by car on Route 15, via the spectacular Deer Isle Bridge.
68 Main St., Stonington; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday, 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday; 207-367-2900; gwatsongallery.com
A self-described painters’ gallery, gWatson in downtown Stonington always shows Maine’s most interesting and challenging landscape, abstract and figurative painters. This year, gallery owner Ron Watson is featuring work by Richard Brown Lethem, Nancy Morgan Barnes, Hannah Bureau and the late Jon Imber, among many others. The gallery is in an old building across the street from the busiest lobster port in Maine.
Getting there: Follow Route 15 down from Deer Isle to Stonington until you hit the water.