Ah, destination weddings. What used to be a coveted booze-filled weekend away with friends in your twenties, soon turns into something less glam when you’re 33, secretly nine weeks pregnant and suffering from the most horrific morning (read: all-day) sickness ever. However, I am pleased to report my nausea temporarily subsided as soon as I stepped foot on the rocky shores of Monhegan Island, Maine. Monhegan is a car-free, forested, artist haven located about 10 miles off the coast. The bride’s family has owned property on the island for decades and it was the perfect backdrop to a chic, relaxed, Northeastern summer wedding.
With only 70 full time residents on the island, it was very obvious who the wedding guests were. The island’s dirt roads were suddenly crawling with L.A. and NY thirtysomething screenwriters and photographers, all clad in their New England best. Our ‘hotel’ was more of a hostel meets bed and breakfast with shared showers and no locks on the doors. A short walk from The Monhegan House leads you to a lake filled with the friendliest ducks who actually waddled up the shore to greet you. I made Jordan go every morning to see them, lest they forget who we were.
The day of the wedding, J convinced me to go on a little hike. Prior to this weekend I could only hike to the bathroom, so at the time this seemed like a major undertaking. However, as soon as we started on the trail I became, dare I say, invigorated. The trail circumnavigated the island and had amazing coastal views throughout. I must have made him stop at least ten times to spot harbor seals, which dotted the surrounding rocky cliffs. My nausea ceased to exist and I was myself again, just dying to pet a harbor seal.
The wedding was simple and elegant with vows followed by lobster at a local home. On the way back from our hike, Jordan and I ran into the bride. The ceremony started in three hours and she was swimming with her guests. Can you say chill bride? I don’t quite remember what I was doing three hours before my wedding, but it definitely did not involve a bathing suit and wet hair.
By this time I was a true convert and obviously started looking at property on the island. Shocker. I so badly wanted the cashier at the general store to know my name and put ‘it’ on ‘my tab’ that I pay monthly on good faith. Also, did I mention that there are dogs everywhere? Everyone has a large, wooly mutt faithfully following them. The island was basically my dream come true, minus the shared bathrooms and limited wifi.
After a scone and coffee at The Barnacle, we boarded the ferry for the ride back to the mainland. The bride and groom were both in attendance saying their farewells and handing each of their guests wild flowers. Monhegan tradition has it that if you toss your flower into the water from the departing ferry, you will return to Monhegan one day. In addition to the bride and groom, the entire town turned out to bid farewell to all of the wedding guests. As the boat was pulling out of the wharf, the locals jumped off the dock to retrieve our flowers, cementing our return one day. I don’t know if it was my raging hormones or knowing that it would be many years before I returned, but I actually started crying on the top deck of the ferry. Like real tears for this place that I had only known for 48 hours. I quickly dried my eyes as the ferry captain pointed out puffin island – I had to concentrate. I know that we will return to this magical place one day, this time with our children and wooly mutt in tow.