Sara Kirschenbaum
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A Surprise Trip to Outer Island

Posted Tuesday, Aug 18th, 2009 at 10:57am

For my recent fiftieth birthday my mom, Susan Weil, dreamed up a surprise trip to Outer Island - the island her father and mother bought in 1927. The island was sold in the early sixties (at the direction of my grandmother's will - she didn't want her kids following her dream - she wanted them to follow their own dreams)(although as far as I am concerned I don't see anything wrong with following your grandparent's dreams!). Since I have been working hard with my grandfather's island memoir, mom knew it would be extra special for me to go to the island. I hadn't been there since I was 3.

little me

She contacted an organization I had found on the web called Friends of Outer Island and they very kindly offered to meet us there and show us around the island. My mom worked very hard to orchestrate this surprise and lots of people helped, starting with Malia who loaned us her car. My dear Aunt Judy and Uncle Joseph and their daughter Molly joined us at the Stony Creek dock where a boat waited to take us to the island. Here are some pictures from the trip:

This is the island as we were motoring there: island

Here my mom sits in an opening in the old sea wall: Mom

I land, barefoot, on the pink granite of the island's shore: barefoot

Here you can see the shirt I made for my mom that she wore that day to the island. It has on it a copy of her father's notes on the island. Can you read it in this large picture? It is about swimming off the island shore with phosphorescent jellyfish. quote

A barnacled shore: shore

The house - rebuilt in 1951 or 2 after a fire - but with the chimney and foundation intact from the old house: house

I can't help but wonder if the day lilies were planted by my grandma? lilies

The old fireplace is 11-feet wide at the opening! fireplace

Treasure: rocks

Here I am before: sara (Photo Credit - Susan Weil)

And 47 or 48 years later in the same spot: saranow (Photo Credit - Joseph Shea)

Sea grass: sea grass

Getting ready to go: go

A hard act to follow? How about 1 1/2 lobsters for dinner? lob-eye

A special thank you to Lynn Dorsey and Nancy from Friends of Outer Island!


  1. Rachel Wrote on Tuesday, Aug 18th, 2009 at 11:49am

    What an amazing gift!

  2. Christina Wrote on Tuesday, Aug 18th, 2009 at 10:14pm

    lovely, lovely photos and story. What a special, thoughtful thing to arrange. I love so many of the photos--the seagrass and shore photos are my favorite. It's a beautiful island, seems like a good size to own...not too much to maintain...enough for grass, daylillies, barnacles to grow. The walls and fireplace stones are lovely. And the pictures of little Sara are a treat!

  3. Cara Wrote on Thursday, Sep 24th, 2009 at 12:38pm

    What a dream world! Thank you for sharing your journey:)

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