The magic of Monhegan Island, Maine, draws him back year after year

Painters on a beach at Monhegan Island, Maine.
(Chistopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)

I was pleasantly surprised when I read Christopher Reynolds’ article about Monhegan Island, Maine (“Wildly Charming,” July 28). It’s not often that a West Coast writer would take the trouble to find a tiny jewel tucked off Maine and miles into the ocean. My father introduced me to it as a boy, and I’ve taken my family there for decades.

Reynolds’ article was so well written that I felt conflicted. I hope others go and enjoy it, but I hope nothing changes its yesteryear feel. One famous actor lived there in the ’60s and he feared the same. He would stand on the wharf when the tourist boats arrived and cry, “Cholera!” hoping no one would disembark. He did not prevail. In his memory, I try to rent his house when I go back.

The traditions and its people are diverse yet traditional. The Murdocks, who run Shining Sails bed and breakfast, are the most hospitable people you would ever want to know. People who respect tradition and who want a safe environment for children will fall in love and return for a lifetime. The minute you arrive, you can feel that you’re about to experience something lasting and even mystical.


George Schwartz
San Diego

A timely reminder

Thanks for the reminder about getting a health insurance policy if you’re traveling abroad and are on Medicare (“Travel Insurance Required?” On the Spot by Catharine Hamm, July 28). I almost neglected to do that for a trip to Australia. Because I’ll be driving about 1,200 miles and Medicare does not cover me, I need to be sure that I have insurance that will cover any incidents. Just a smart thing to do for peace of mind and wallet.

Paul Brown

Santa Ana

A surprise in Scotland

Thanks to Alice Short for her lovely article about Scottish dining (“A Scottish Feast,” July 21).

We just returned from three weeks in Britain. We were in Scotland for nine nights and had some excellent dinners — and a few not. The best was at the Wedgwood on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, a Michelin-reviewed place where it had something called “A Wee Taste of Scotland.” It was seven courses of small dishes featuring Scottish food made in a gourmet manner. It was wonderful and made even better by what happened after about the third course.

In walked Rick Steves. (We used his book extensively to plan our trip.) My wife, Linda, grabbed the camera and tried to make it look as though she was taking my picture while getting him in the background. He was talking to the woman who, with her husband, owns the Wedgwood.

The pictures didn’t really capture him, but we congratulated ourselves for having seen him.

The next thing we know he’s at our table. He asked how we were doing and where we were going next and then he let us take a selfie.

We were thrilled and announced it the best travel day ever, especially because we got a selfie with one of our favorite authors, Ian Rankin (who writes the Inspector Rebus novels), earlier in the day.


Tom and Linda French
Hermosa Beach