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Boston TV Shoots Smuttynose
Behind the Scenes, July 2000
Part 1: Out to the Isle
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Read Full Account of Chronicle Visit

Uncle Oscar

Everybody wants to talk about Smuttynose Island thanks to Anita Shreve's film "Weight of Water". This week we accompanied the Boston "Chronicle" crew out to the privately owned rocky isle for their planned special TV show on the infamous 1873 murders there. How ironic to go out on the tour boat Uncle Oscar, named for Celia Thaxter's brother who lived on Smyttnose island as a child in the 1840s. Oscar lived 90 years on the Isles of Shoals and was at Appledore nearby during the winter of the murder. OK, load up the camera equipment. Here we go...

Cruise to the Shoals

Everybody in this area knows Chronicle, the weekly feature news show on Channel 5 TV. The show is well known for its high quality coverage of places to visit in New England. Here's Kathy Bickimer on the left who is producing this Smuttynose segment and her summer intern Elissa Burnell who actually lives in nearby North Hampton. But where is show co-host Mary Richardson?

Mary Richardson

There's Mary! She's chatting with our Isles of Shoals expert Bob Tuttle of Lee who has logged a lot of hours as a steward on the island of Smuttynose. When Bob's there, the island has a population of ONE. A group of stewards protects the island throughout the season. There is no commercial access to the island, no tours, but private boat visitors may visit with permission of the island steward. Oh, that's Matt running the skiff and Mary's daughter Jessie on the right who also joined the landing party.

Smuttynose Arrival

Our group arrived first followed soon after by the Chronicle crew. The tide was pretty low and one could almost walk across the cove to Malaga, another of the nine rocky islands on the Isles of Shoals.

Haley House

Mary and Bob trekked up toward the Haley House. This week the island steward was Debroah Merritt. Deb and her husband Carl had been working hard on the little lawn in the 80 degree heat. Once there were about a dozen buildings on this island, but only the Haley House remains, one of the oldest houses in the state of Maine. Builder Sam Haley arrived here before the American Revolution and built a little utopia here with distillery, salt works, fish drying flats, sawmill, cherry orchards, warehouse and more. The Hontvet "murder house was right nearby and burned down in the 1880s. (See John Down's map of the island)


Disposable photos by J. Dennis Robinson
Copyright © 2000 SeacoastNH.com. All rights reserved.

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