trip to Penikese Island

My husband and I took a day trip down to the Penikese Island School a few weeks ago. The school’s boat was out of service, so we volunteered to ferry some of the school’s teachers and visitors from the Mass. Dept. of Education in our boat. From Woods Hole, it took about 45 minutes to motor down Buzzard’s Bay along the chain of Elizabeth Islands to the very end, where the private island of Penikese lies.

Penikese Island School is a therapeutic boarding school for struggling teenage boys, located on this tiny island that also serves as a bird sanctuary.

The school is modeled after 19th century family farm living and the main house has no electricity and a large supply of kerosene lamps…

a vegetable garden…

and chickens.

Their environment is simple and natural, without the distractions of modern society and media.

We headed back that afternoon full of admiration for the dedicated and visionary staff at the school. It’s a truly remarkable place.

5 thoughts on “trip to Penikese Island

  1. Sometimes I think the world would be a better place if more of it were simple and without distractions. My sister and I were recalling our summer vacations in Ocean Grove, NJ. On Sunday’s everything was closed and cars were not even allowed to be seen. If you didn’t have a garage – your car had to be taken outside the little city limits by midnight Saturday. Sundays you could stroll through the streets on your way to the beach – simple, open, calming – beautiful.

    I know that there are several of these boarding schools across the country and the thing they all have in common? Returning to the “simple life!”

    Thanks for sharing these great pictures. And for stirring some good memories.

  2. Love these photos–they remind me of many summer spent on an island in Penobscot Bay and also time spent in the Thimble Islands in CT where most summer homes don’t have electricity. It is a wonderful feeling to be away from the world’s many distractions. To see the sky at night, hear the waves lap, to be away from city lights is a precious thing.

    It must be a good place for teenagers to take stock of themselves without intrusion. It looks utterly peaceful.

  3. Hello Salley,

    Your pictures remind me of childhood trips from the southern coast of England to the privately owned island of Sark, owned by the Dame of Sark who never allowed any vehicles on her island, paradise!

    Thank you once again for sharing with all of your fans.


  4. Lovely pictures, Salley. I am very fond of Penikese Island and the School. The name is reported to mean “sleeping land out in the water”.

    You can learn much about the school in the book Crossing the Water by Daniel Robb who taught there in the ’90s. The book brings us the thoughts of the boys who are there. I recommend it.

    Thanks for helping them out that day!

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