An online project under the direction of the CAPE ANN MUSEUM
"Penobscot Bay is Maine's grandest stretch of water, and its largest, measuring 20 miles across from Whitehead Island to Isle au Haut and trending 30 miles north to the mouth of its equally superlative namesake river. Encompassing almost 1000 miles of shoreline and encircling 624 islands and ledges, Penobscot Bay is also the second-largest embayment on the east coast of the United States, after Chesapeake Bay. Giovanni da Verrazano, an early explorer, captivated by the site of the bay's channels and islands, wrote "all near the continent; small and pleasant in appearance, but high, following the curve of the land; some beautiful ports and channels are formed between them, such as those in the Adriatic Gulf in Illyria and Dalmatia…"
Penobscot Bay was, in every respect, a maritime community in the nineteenth century. The Island Kingdoms, with their cod fisheries, shipyards, and small farms, were tied commercially and economically to such large ports on the mainland as Rockland, Belfast, Bangor, Castine, and small ports of Mount Desert. The Islanders owned their own small fleets of coasters, finding cargo all along the coast, from the Maritimes to Portland and beyond. The glue that held this community together was family, extended family, there were no strangers in Penobscot Bay, among the coastal towns, or among the islands, for family members, as shipwrights, sailors, fishermen, merchants, and farmers, or by the simple act of marriage, formed close knit bonds which established a unique maritime culture.
– Mark Honey
U.S. Coast Survey
Chart with key showing the route of an excursion on the sloop "Superior" out of Castine made by William H. Witherle, Lane, Stevens and friends during which Lane made several sketches of Mt. Desert scenery. The trip was chronicled by Witherle in his diary of 1852.