Ten miles off the coast of central Maine, the tiny island of Monhegan is easy to miss. But it’s one of the most unique places where Amazon delivers.
There are no paved roads, and no car ferries travel to the rocky island. About 70 people live here year-round, and most of them get around the 1-square-mile island on foot or golf cart.
In the late spring and summer, Monhegan swells to hundreds of visitors a day who explore the many hiking trails, birdwatch, paint by the shore, or simply admire the 360-degree ocean views from the top of the island.
Amazon packages travel by boat, vehicle, and are delivered directly to customers.
Once autumn arrives, the island begins to hibernate for the winter, when lows average 18 degrees Fahrenheit and wind gusts average more than 18 miles per hour. Only the post office, the general store, and the school stay open.
But Amazon delivers to Monhegan year-round, thanks to our interconnected logistics network and third-party carrier partnerships.
After Monhegan residents’ packages make their way through one of our U.S. sort centers, an Amazon third-party carrier picks them up and delivers them to Port Clyde, Maine. That’s where Andy Barstow, owner of the Monhegan Boat Line, transports them to the island.
Barstow and his team load packages onto a 65-foot wooden boat called the Laura B. The Laura B. is a lifeline to residents on the island, delivering Amazon packages, the mail, and other necessities.
“We’ve taken backhoes, goats, pigs, cows, water, fuel, building materials, TVs,” said Barstow, whose family has owned Monhegan Boat Line since 1976. “You name it, we deliver it—everything but babies! That’s what my dad always said.”
The Laura B. was built in 1943 and commissioned by the Army Transportation Corps for use in World War II. The Laura B.— or T-57 as she was known then—sailed in the South Pacific as a patrol boat carrying troops, supplies, and two 50-caliber machine guns on deck.
The Laura B. has sailed to Monhegan since 1953 and still has 90% original wood planking and frames.
“She’s the best kept wooden vessel on the Eastern seaboard,” Barstow said.
Once the Laura B. arrives at the dock in Monhegan, Angela Iannicelli, the mail carrier on the island, loads packages into her pickup truck for delivery.
“I get a lot of satisfaction from being the last step to making it possible for people to live and work here,” Iannicelli said. “It’s a lot less expensive to just order it online and then have somebody deliver it to their door.”
Iannicelli has lived on the island for more than 18 years and has been delivering mail and packages for eight years. She’s a familiar face to everyone who lives on Monhegan year-round—especially to the small business owners and residents who depend on Amazon deliveries.
One of those customers is longtime Monhegan resident Sue Nelson. She and her husband, Holden, own The Monhegan House, a bed and breakfast on the island, as well as a restaurant and shop.
“This is a tough place to get to, so for being in a location like this, having a service like Amazon has just been an absolute godsend,” Nelson said. “It’s changed the way we do business.”
Before Amazon began delivering to Monhegan, Nelson and other residents would have to make the hours-long roundtrip ferry ride to the mainland just to pick up basic items. Those trips could often take days, depending on the boat schedule and their shopping list.
“Now all we do is open the door to the office and open packages, which is great,” Nelson said laughing. “You name it, and we have bought it from Amazon.”
Amazon is proud to support the communities where we serve, and we recently donated $25,000 to the Monhegan Island Sustainable Community Association, which provides affordable housing so people can live and work on the island year-round.