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The Elizabeth Islands, off the coast of Massachusetts
Satellite image of Elizabeth Islands and Martha's Vineyard
The Elizabeth Islands
ElizabethIslandsChart.gif
Major Islands listed in order from east to west
Nonamesset Uncatena Naushon Pasque Nashawena Penikese Cuttyhunk
Minor Islands:
Bachelor Baret Bull Cedar Gosnold Gull Rock Veckatimest Weepecket Islands

The Elizabeth Islands are a chain of small islands extending southwest from the southern coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts in the United States. They are located at the outer edge of Buzzards Bay, north of Martha's Vineyard from which they are separated by Vineyard Sound, and constitute the town of Gosnold, Massachusetts in Dukes County. All of the Elizabeth Islands except Cuttyhunk and Penikese are privately owned by the Forbes family.[citation needed]

The islands were claimed by England and named after Queen Elizabeth I.[1] In 1641, Thomas Mayhew the Elder of Watertown, Massachusetts, bought the islands (along with Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard) from William Alexander, the Earl of Sterling. Before the creation of the Province of Massachusetts Bay in 1691, the islands were part of the extinct Dukes County, New York. The total land area of the islands is 34.55 km² (13.34 sq mi) and there was a permanent population of 86 persons as of the 2000 census.

Named islands[edit]

Stretching south-west from land's end at Falmouth, Massachusetts, the islands are:

  • Nonamesset Island, the closest to the mainland
  • Veckatimest small island.
  • Uncatena Island, uninhabited as of the 2000 Census
  • Naushon Island, 5.5 miles (8.9 km) long and the largest. Composed of the main island and small uninhabited Bull Island. Owned by the Forbes' Naushon Island Trust, and while it is not generally open to the public, the Forbes family has set aside Tarpaulin Cove to the south and Kettle Cove to the north as well as Bull Island and Hadley's Harbor to the northeast for public enjoyment including picknicking.
  • The Weepecket Islands, three small, publicly accessible islands north of central Naushon owned by the Forbes family. These islands offer very few places to land, are nearly obscured by water, and are home to numerous shore birds, seals and other animals.
  • Pasque Island, 1.5 miles (2.4 km) long, owned by a subset of the Forbes family, and covered in poison ivy. A shallow tidal creek cuts part way through the island.
  • Nashawena Island, 3 miles (4.8 km) long, owned by another subset of the Forbes family, it has grazing livestock.
  • Penikese, located about 0.5 miles (0.80 km) north of Nashawena and Cuttyhunk. Penikese is owned by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and has a colorful history. It was the site of a groundbreaking 19th-century research facility that was the precursor to the famed Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, was the site of the state's only leper colony in the early 20th century, and is currently a bird sanctuary and site of the Penikese Island School, an innovative, 35-year-old school for troubled teens.
  • Cuttyhunk, farthest west in the chain, and home to most of Gosnold's municipal population. Like Penikese, Cuttyhunk is not owned by the Forbes family, and therefore much of the island is publicly accessible.

Named channels and harbors[edit]

Channels with strong tidal currents, known locally as holes, separate the islands from each other and the mainland. Currents of up to 6 knots (11 km/h) are driven by the different sizes and filling rates of Vineyard Sound to the southeast and Buzzard's Bay to the northwest. At high tide, water flows from Buzzards Bay to the Vineyard Sound. Near mid-tide the water stops and reverses, filling the Bay at low tide.

Listed in order away from Falmouth, the named channels are:

  • Woods Hole separating the mainland from Nonamesset Island
  • Robinson Hole between Naushon Island and Pasque Island
  • Quick's Hole between Pasque Island and Nashawena Island
  • Canapitsit Channel between Nashawena Island and Cuttyhunk Island.

Cuttyhunk Harbor is sheltered on its east by Nashawena Island on its west by Cuttyhunk Island and on its north by Penikese Island.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Visiting the Elizabeth Islands," North American Review 5 (15) (Sept 1817), 313-324 [1](accessed July 7, 2009)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°28′30″N 70°46′00″W / 41.475°N 70.7667°W / 41.475; -70.7667


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Islands — Please support Wikipedia.
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21 news items

WCAI

WCAI
Wed, 01 Oct 2014 15:18:45 -0700

Ideal conditions to witness flights of birds on the Outer Cape, Chatham, the south shore of the Cape, Woods Hole and the Elizabeth Islands especially Cuttyhunk Island as well as both Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket are after a clear night with brisk ...
 
SouthCoastToday.com
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 21:07:30 -0700

Three times a week the staff runs supplies over on a boat, the Richard S. Edwards, from Woods Hole to the island, which is located at the tail end of the Elizabeth Islands in Buzzards Bay. This week, the boat was loaded with paper towels, a trash can, ...
 
Boston.com
Wed, 24 Sep 2014 10:17:02 -0700

No, that's not Iggie's House. The home you see belongs to Iggie's creator, renowned young adult novelist Judy Blume. Blume is also creator of Fudge, the mischievous little brother from Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Superfudge, and Fudge-a-Mania.

Martha's Vineyard Gazette

Martha's Vineyard Gazette
Tue, 23 Sep 2014 14:11:15 -0700

Come one, come all. Help Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Fern and Feather Day Camp. I can't believe I was teaching there when I was a mere 23 years old, seems like yesterday. The activities commence at 11 a.m. and ...

Boston Globe

Boston Globe
Sat, 13 Sep 2014 09:15:19 -0700

The women at the Historical Society know the most arcane information about the island, beginning with the fact that Bartholomew Gosnold discovered it and the other Elizabeth Islands in 1602, long before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth. Martha's ...
 
Conway Daily Sun
Fri, 19 Sep 2014 14:00:00 -0700

Leaving the Vineyard under overcast skies, we sailed on toward the Elizabeth Islands, passing through Quicks Hole and on into Buzzards Bay. During parts of the transit, tug boats aided the ship, but for a good part of the journey, the Morgan was ...

Minneapolis Star Tribune

Minneapolis Star Tribune
Wed, 17 Sep 2014 11:45:00 -0700

His mother comes from Ralph Waldo's line, and this lineage gave him access to wide swaths of property on the Elizabeth Islands, near Martha's Vineyard. “I grew up summers on that land and spent my time in the mud,” Forbes said. “It's always been heavy ...

Martha's Vineyard Gazette

Martha's Vineyard Gazette
Tue, 09 Sep 2014 21:35:22 -0700

Mr. Berwick also carried Gosnold, the seventh town in Dukes County and smallest town in the state. Twelve out of 144 registered voters turned out Tuesday to vote on the Elizabeth islands. Mr. Baker got all three Republican votes, while Mr. Berwick got ...
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