Trip Report: Celia Thaxter’s Island Garden Tour

On July 20, about a dozen garden club members and their guests hopped aboard the Gulf Challenger research vessel in New Castle, NH and pushed off for an enjoyable 45-minute boat ride to Appledore Island, home of Celia Thaxter’s famous island garden.

The tour, run by Marine Docent volunteers and the Shoals Marine Laboratory staff — including our own Marie Nickerson, steward of Celia’s garden — included not only the garden but other sites of interest on the island, such as the graveyard where Celia Thaxter is buried.

Purely by chance, our club was there for the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the newly completed piazza (wooden porch) that once connected Celia’s cottage to her garden. Standing on this rebuilt piazza, we enjoyed breathtaking island scenery just as Celia did more than over 100 years ago.

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Jennifer Seavey, Kingsbury Executive Director, dedicates the new piazza
View from the new piazza (photo credit: Becky Stoughton)

One unexpected element of the day was that we saw seagull chicks everywhere. Appledore Island is a coastal breeding ground for gulls, and Black-backed and Herring gulls were in full protective-parenting mode, swooping down on anyone perceived to threaten a nesting site.  (For a 3.5-minute video of what we experienced, watch How Nature Works: Gull Territoriality.)

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A Black-backed gull with two chicks

Thank you to Marti Warren for organizing this unforgettable trip (including the stressful task of making sure that no one missed the boat!) and documenting the day in photos.

Marie Nickerson and Marti Warren in Celia’s garden (photo credit: Becky Stoughton)


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