Southern Belle in Training

Virginia Lifestyle Blogger || Southern Blogger || Charlottesville Blogger

August 8, 2019

MAINE TRAVEL GUIDE: Visiting Peaks Island.

     Today I'm taking you on a virtual tour of one of my very favorite places in my home state- if not my absolute favorite! Let's set sail for Peaks Island! I'm hoping to convince you today that this gem is a must-visit if you're ever in Maine.




Peaks Island Info:
     Peaks Island is the most populated of the Casco Bay Islands, which are right off the coast of Portland, Maine's largest city. Peaks Island is a three mile ferry ride to/from Portland, which takes about 20 minutes one way. I am prone to getting motion sick on boats, but Casco Bay is usually very calm, so I've never experienced that when taking this ferry. It has an annual population of almost 1000 residents, and that number swells to 2-5x that when summer residents arrive. There are also thousands of people that visit Peaks Island for day trips like I just did!
     Government-wise Peaks Island is technically apart of the city of Portland, but the entire island itself is like a small village. It has its own post office, library, and elementary school, and there's also a small grocery store. Cars are allowed on the ferry and the island, although the preferred method of transportation is by golf cart or bike, so it feels a little bit like a trip back in time! I also guarantee you will see some of the most beautiful and charming sights that Maine has to offer on Peaks Island.
     My first trip here was in middle school with my mom, and each trip since then was so special! I had been back three more times: once for a family friend's Bar Mitzvah which was held on the island, once for my Sweet 16 birthday, and finally for another day trip with my mom, a few weeks before I moved South for college. I hadn't been back in seven years before my day trip this summer- which was far too long! I knew I wanted to make an overdue day trip there this summer, and my friend Shara came along which was lots of fun!
     Getting to Peaks is very affordable and easy. There are currently 14 daily ferry departure times for Portland, and round trip ferry fare was under $10 this summer!






Eat:
     There aren't a ton of restaurants to choose from on Peaks Island, but there are a few great options!
  • Inn on Peaks Island (33 Island Ave.): This is the only restaurant I've ever eaten at on Peaks, but it sure is a winner! My birthday dinner for my Sweet 16 was here, and I've eaten here on most other day trips to the island as well. The Inn restaurant is open for both lunch and dinner, and their menu features a variety of sandwiches, seafood options, and other American cuisine favorites. On this past visit, I had one of the sandwiches, and it was great! They have both indoor and outdoor seating, and many of the tables have beautiful ocean views. They also carry a few flavors of Captain Eli's sodas (the strawberry flavor is incredible and the perfect accompaniment to a meal here).
  • Cockeyed Gull (78 Island Ave.): Located very close to the Inn on Peaks Island, this is another lunch, dinner and drinks option! Their food is described as casual fine dining, and they have a variety of American inspired entrees. 
  • Peaks Island House (20 Island Ave.): A more casual spot that specializes in seafood entrees- think your classic little Maine seafood restaurant. This restaurant is seasonal! 
  • Down Front (20 Welch St.): A gift shop very close to the ferry terminal that also sells ice cream and candy. 



Stay: 
      If you're visiting the Maine area, I recommend staying overnight in Portland, Maine's largest city. There are a number of beautiful hotels downtown, and several within walking distance to the ferry terminal! Peaks is so easily accessible for just a day trip.
     However, if you do desire to stay overnight on the island itself, here are your options!

  • The Inn on Peaks Island (33 Island Ave.): In addition to being a restaurant and wedding venue, the Inn on Peaks Island is also an inn! I would love to stay here someday- the rooms all look stunning. Definitely a pricier choice to stay here in the summer, but in off-season deals can be found.
  • Eighth Maine Regiment Lodge (13 8th Maine Ave): The Eight Maine Regiment Museum preserves the legacy of Maine's Eight Regiment from the Civil War. In addition to the museum and banquet space, there is a lodge on the property with several guest rooms. Since it's in a historical property and not a traditional hotel, all guest rooms have shared bathrooms (think like dorm room style!), but this will be a cheaper option for lodging than the Inn on Peaks Island.
  • Airbnb: There are several Airbnb options on Peaks Island- everything from rooms to rent to entire houses. 



Play:
      Peaks Island is filled with fun adventures just waiting to be had! Here are my favorite things that I've done: 
  • Brad's Bike Rental and Repair (115 Island Ave.): Peaks Island is about 4 miles in size around, and it's the perfect place for bike riding and exploring that way! You can bring bikes on the ferry, but if you aren't able to do that you can rent them hourly at Brad's Bike Rental and Repair. Since there are few cars on the island it truly is a biker's paradise. 
  • The Umbrella Cover Museum (62 Island Ave.): Yes, you read that correctly! A museum of... umbrella covers! The mission statement for the museum includes a phrase about celebrating the mundane, and this museum does just that. The museum curator and director, Nancy 3. Hoffman, currently holds the Guinness Book of World Records certificate for the largest collection of umbrella covers in the world. The museum is just one room, but it's filled from top to bottom of umbrella covers of all shapes and sizes. You won't want to miss your chance to see one of the most unique museums in the US! 
  • Spirit of Peaks Golf Cart Tour: One thing that I truly love about Peaks Island is seeing all of the golf carts. If you want a unique way to see the entire island, you can book a tour with the Spirit of Peaks! They run tours May-October.
  • The Battery Steel: There is a hidden former military reserve on Peaks Island! It was completed in 1942, and at its height it held 58 military defense structures. Today it stands abandoned, but visitors are free to explore! There is really cool graffiti on all over to explore. If you want to spend awhile here, I recommend bringing a flashlight as parts are very dark! Even the light from an iPhone flashlight won't do very much.






     
     Honestly though- when it comes to my absolute favorite thing to do on Peaks Island, it's simply to explore. This island is full of some of the most stunning ocean views, charming seaside homes (everything from cottages to mansions), and New England bliss is everywhere you look. Time slows down on Peaks Island, and you can take time to just savor and enjoy!






     Hope that you enjoyed this Travel Guide to one of my very favorite places in my home state! As I said earlier, Peaks Island has been special to me for a long time. One of my favorite memories was having my Sweet 16 birthday here! My parents, a few friends and I took the ferry out and rented bikes in the afternoon, and then had my birthday dinner at the inn on Peaks Island. Here's a throwback photo of my parents and I from that! (Please excuse this hideous outfit I thought was so stylish in 2010...) 



     Have you been to or heard of Peaks Island before? I think I decided after my day trip there this summer that if I get married in Maine someday... I want it to be here. Haha!

     See more of my Travel Guides here!


     God Bless,


     xoxo Annaliese 



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5 comments

  1. Wow I have never heard of Peaks Island, but want to go now. You did such a good job capturing this gorgeous place. I keep hearing Maine is beautiful and now I really need to visit.

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  2. I lived in Maine last fall and never visited Peaks, but I'll have to go some day!

    Caroline
    carolineolesky.com

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  3. Umbrella cover museum?! how fun!!! I'm dying to visit maine one day!

    www.mollyonthemoveblog.com

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  4. We ALMOST went there when I was in Portland this summer but ended up doing the lobstering boat cruise instead. That was fun, but this is making me wish we went. Definitely going to have to add it to our next ME trip!

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  5. Maine is so SO on my list, now even more so. This looks amazing. There's nothing like a New England town in summer, amIright?

    www.basicbritt.com

    ReplyDelete

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