QUICK FACTS

The Town of Frenchboro is located on Long Island, Maine at the entrance of Blue Hill Bay, two miles southeast of Swan’s Island and eight miles south of Mount Desert Island. The island is often referred to as Outer Long Island, or simply Frenchboro, to avoid confusion with other islands in Maine that share the Long Island name. The Frenchboro town limits also encompass eleven other, smaller islands in the surrounding waters, including Great Duck, Little Duck, Black Island, and Mount Desert Rock. The village, concentrated around Lunt Harbor on the northwest side of Long Island, has a longstanding tradition as a fishing community.

COMMUNITY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Frenchboro Historical Society
  • Museum and Library
  • Frenchboro Congregational
  • Church and Parsonage
  • Annual August Dinner Church Fundraiser
  • Frenchboro School
  • Lunt’s Dockside Deli
  • The Community Building – Post Office, Town Office, and Fire Hall
  • 4th of July Celebration and Fireworks
  • Frenchboro Community Fund
    Gooseberry Point Sunsets
  • Great Duck Island Light
  • Bass Harbor Island Cruises – Frenchboro Lunch Cruise

Frenchboro - Population

ECONOMY

The island’s economy is dominated by the commercial lobster fishing industry, which sustains the majority of the community’s residents. Two small, family-run aquaculture businesses operate in the island’s surrounding waters. The remainder of island residents, both year-round and seasonal, work in a variety of fields, including education, healthcare, arts, government services, caretaking, and remote business operations.

Although the island is not heavily frequented by tourists, the protected and conveniently located harbor is a local favorite for sailboats and yachts passing through the area during
the summer, as is the island’s only seasonal restaurant,
Lunt’s Dockside Deli.

The Frenchboro Historical Society Museum and Gift Shop also opens seasonally, allowing visitors to learn about the history of the community and purchase a variety of Frenchboro clothing, local artwork, and other gifts.

Frenchboro - School

Frenchboro - Occupation

LOCAL INFRASTRUCTURE

Working Waterfront

As a fishing community, working waterfront access is a necessity. The town owns and maintains a wharf and boat launch in the inner harbor for both commercial and recreational waterfront access. A winch located at the Maine State Ferry Service pier on the northeast edge of the outer harbor also helps commercial fishermen move traps, bait, and other supplies on and off boats.
In 2017 the town received a grant from the Maine Coastal Program for a Deepwater Municipal Landing Study. Following this study, the town’s Select Board and Harbor Planning Committee have continued planning for reconfiguration of town floats and dredging of the inner harbor that would improve float accessibility in all tides and increase boat mooring capacity in the harbor.

Mail and Grocery Delivery

Although Frenchboro does not have any year-round or seasonal grocery stores on island, residents are able to purchase groceries from The Island Market and Supply (TIMS) on Swan’s Island. TIMS owners also hold the contract for mail delivery to Frenchboro and deliver groceries ordered in advance during the mail run. With infrequent ferry service and rare round-trip opportunities making trips off-island difficult to plan for residents, particularly in the winter, TIMS and its ownership play a critical role in life on Frenchboro, bringing mail, groceries, and medicine six days a week in all but the worst weather.

Maine Coast Heritage Trust Frenchboro Land Preserve

Roughly 1,000 acres of Long Island’s 2,500-acre total land area are held as a wild preserve by Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT). This preserve offers a habitat for a wide variety of animal and plant life, while still allowing public  access for those who want to explore the extensive system of MCHT-maintained inland and coastline trails. The trail system, which offers stunning views of Frenchboro’s landscape and surroundings, is a major attraction to the island for both residents and visitors.

How to get there

As an unbridged island, Frenchboro is reliant on the Maine State Ferry Service for public transportation between the island and the mainland ferry terminal in Bass Harbor on Mount Desert Island. Frenchboro shares a car ferry—the M/V Captain Henry Lee—with neighboring Swan’s Island. The ferry runs between Frenchboro and Bass Harbor three times per week year-round, on Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday, with an extra afternoon run the first and third Wednesday of each month. Between April and November, the R.L. Gott passenger ferry, owned by Bass Harbor Island Cruises and contracted by the Maine State Ferry Service, runs a Friday morning and Friday evening trip each week. The R.L. Gott also seasonally operates the Frenchboro Lunch Cruise. This trip allows day visitors enough time on-island for a short walk around town or a trail hike and lunch at Lunt’s Dockside Deli before their return trip to the mainland.

FORE MORE DATA ON MAINE’S ISLAND AND COASTAL COMMUNITIES VISIT:
www.islandinstitute.org/waypoints

FOR DATA QUESTIONS, CONTACT:
Meghan Grabill: mgrabill@islandinstitute.org

With gratitude to our community reviewers: Carley Feibusch, Mott Feibusch, and Tara Hire

Telling stories of island and coastal life