The Appledore Hotel
Eccentric Thomas Laighton was "King of the Shoals"
et Opened in 1848, far in advance of the tourism boom on the New England coast, the Appledore Hotel evolved into a cultural Mecca for writers, musicians and artist from Boston to Maine. Writers Nathaniel Hawthorne and John Greenleaf whittier, painter Childe Hassam, President Franklin Pierce,and musician Ole Bull were among the guests who frequented Celia Thaxter's island salon. Eccentric Portsmouth entrepreneur Thomas Laighton originally conceived of his island resort as a sanatorium for invalids due to the cool health-giving sea air that continually flows over the Isles of Shoals. In its heyday the Appledore (originally on Hog Island, but the name was wisely changed) could accommodate 500 guests with 100 staff in service. Murder victim Karen Christensen was a maid here and Celia Laighton Thaxter, who family owned the hotel, was first on the scene to nurse Maren Hontvet after she escaped from Smuttynose Island nearby on the morning of March 6, 1873. Thomas Laighton died in 1866, but his wife Eliza and their two sons Oscar and Cedric managed the hotel into the 1890s. Business faded after the death of island poet Celia Thaxter and the hotel burned in 1914. The island is now home to the Sholas Marine Lab, run by Cornell University and the University of New Hampshire. (photo courtesy SeacoastNH.com)