I recently accompanied a group of active seniors on their day-trip to Peaks Island, Maine. Their plan was to travel with their bicycles on the Casco Bay Ferry to this small island situated just 3 miles from downtown Portland. The ferry ride is a short 17 minutes and runs 14 times a day. So we boarded a ferry at our convenience and looked forward to a day of cycling and sightseeing.
We enjoyed our quick trip across Casco Bay and deported at the Casco Bay Line Ferry Drop Off. There we were greeted with the sweet scents of cinnamon and sugar drifting down the hill from the Peak's Cafe. We had to start the day with one of Linda's famous cinnamon buns at the cafe before walking just a few blocks further to pick up my rental bike at Brad's Island Bike Rentals.
Brad’s Bike Rentals looks like a small garage with a front yard full of used bikes that have been lovingly recycled by Brad. There’s no fitting or personalized service from Brad, just a friendly, “Pick what suits your fancy,” grab a bike of your choice, and off you go. Bike rentals are $5/hour or $15/day and my rented wheels were a perfect fit for the outing.
We finished one lap around the island in less than an hour, including stops to take in the views and look over the military bunkers along the way. The next leg of our journey involved cruising through the interior of the island, along dirt roads that sometimes turned into residents’ driveways and other times winded through neighborhoods of artistically crafted and meticulously cared-for private homes.
There is no doubt that extremely tolerant artists and retirees make up the majority of the year-round residents. There is a sense that you are free to wander even private property here, wherever you like to observe a butterfly, analyze the texture of a garden fence or sit on the front lawn and enjoy your lunch.
We opted to eat our packed lunches at a small park we found just down the street from the only “Keep Out” sign we encountered. We were deterred from that area only so as not to disturb the young seal pups that were nesting on the shore below.
Golf carts are a common mode of transportation on the island. In addition to several locals’ carts, we met a bright red Peaks Island Electric Golf Cart Tour vehicle at each of the Fifth & Eight Regiments Houses we visited. Guided tours are available if you’re not naturally inclined to exploring on your own. I’m sure that just like us they made a stop at the World’s Only Umbrella Cover Museum as well.
My trip to Peaks Island was a day filled with spectacular scenery, a touch of history, a bit of exercise, and a heaping helping of natural and man-made island beauty. Be sure to take time to visit Peaks Island, one of Maine’s quiet coastal treasures the next time you are in the Portland area.