Nine small islands about 10 miles offshore, the Isles of Shoals straddle the border of New Hampshire and Maine. First settled by Europeans in the early 1600s, they were an important fishing area for the young British and French colonies. The development of major ports on the mainland caused them to be largely abandoned until the middle of the 19th century, when tourism began and poet Celia Thaxter established an arts colony that is still remembered today.
One island, Smuttynose Island, is known as the site of Blackbeard's honeymoon, for the shipwreck of the Spanish ship Sagunto in 1813, and for the 1873 murder of two girls, popularized by the novel "The Weight of Water."
Other islands include White Island, which has one of just two lighthouses on the New Hampshire coast; Appledore Island, the operating station of the Shoals Marine Laboratory of Cornell University and the University of New Hampshire; and Star Island, the only island served by ferry from the mainland.