Driving across a bridge in Portland, ME we saw the waters of the Atlantic flowing into bays with factories and other commercial structures lining the shores. Portland has a very blue collar feel. We arrived at our destination in Old Port. This section of town is known for its history featuring cobblestone streets, fishing piers and 19th century brick buildings. Our plan for the day was to take a short ferry ride to Peak’s Island. Having never been in Maine before, I was unaware of how many islands exist off the mainland. Peak’s was just one of them and a fairly sizeable island.
We boarded the Casco Bay Island Ferry for Peak’s. On this particular day, hurricane Joaquin was wrecking havoc further south down the coastline. Most of the weather elements would miss Maine, but walking out on the deck of this moving ferry, I encountered a pretty fierce wind. The air was crisp cold but the sun was shining.
Fort Gorges, a military base completed in 1865 after the Civil War, sits in the middle of Casco Bay which we sailed by. I read that people can take private boat tours out to this historic fort but from our vantage point, this small island (that, for the most part, just included the fort) was deserted.
Very friendly people that we met waiting for the ferry had told us all about Peak’s Island. As we were about to board, they recommended renting a golf cart and driving around the island. Sounded like a fun idea to me so we found Mike’s Carts just off the ferry ramp. The offered a golf cart for one hour at a rate of $20. Deal. We loaded up Naomi’s stroller and hopped in. I had never driven a golf cart before but discovered this was a piece of cake. The adventure around Peak’s had begun.
Mike’s Carts had outlined a road map that went around the coast of Peak’s Island and designated some sites to see (which mostly involved beaches, open ocean and other islands). This was a wonderful part of the trip. Driving around this island was incredibly peaceful. We encountered many people who lived on the island who seemed genuinely friendly and accommodating to us west-coast tourists types. Endless ocean water could be seen from some vantage points and from others, the waves crashed into the other islands around Peak’s. Stopping maybe about halfway around the island, we hiked back to an old World War II battery. The battery was obviously old concrete and had been “creatively” decorated by graffiti artists but that really wasn’t the highlight of this stop. It was the walk back to this battery through tall grass with the sun shining down. At points, the trail got muddy and had retained water so there were boards laid down to help people get back to the battery. It certainly increased our spirit of adventurism.
Lunch was at the Cockeyed Gull which was a nice little spot near the ferry and came wholeheartedly recommended by a guy named Paul Knox, another friendly islander who directed us there to get some food. I thoroughly enjoyed a BBQ Brisket Sandwich.
When we arrived back in the old port, we walked around the historical place and found a playground with a view of the ocean for Naomi until dinner time arrived. We had received another recommendation from our Airbnb host in Rhode Island, Richard, who mentioned that we had to go to Duck Fat. This was quite the culinary experience. This was a small little restaurant a few blocks up from the water who were known for their frites. Specifically, they were Belgian styled fries made from Maine potatoes and fried in duck fat. This was the exclusive specialty. The other items on the menu included Panini’s but the place revolved around the duck fat fries. The food was incredibly tasty and we washed down the poutine we ordered with an apple pie milk shake. Highly recommended for anyone in the Portland, ME area.
As we lay down in our cliché Motel 6 that evening, our stomachs were transcendently happy.
If staying in a Motel 6 was cliché enough on a big trip, I have another confession to make. Our family at a Denny’s for breakfast two days in a row. Day 9 of the trip would be the second. But hey, they have $4 dollar meals there.
In the morning, we hurriedly drove up to Naples, ME because we heard this picturesque small town was beautiful. Parking down by Long Lake, an expansive and peaceful looking lake at this hour in the morning (maybe 10amish), we got out of the car to walk around. There basically wasn’t any activity this early in the morning. On the water sat the Songo River Queen II which we thought about doing but the cost was $25 per person for just travelling around a rural lake. Ouch.
Before heading down into New Hampshire and toward our trip’s conclusion, we went over to the Songo Locks. It was an incredibly peaceful area boasting visual reminders that fall had arrived. Campgrounds were all around and we wished we had the time to pitch a tent and hang out a few more days.
Driving south further south, we had on the agenda to stop by Kennebunkport, ME which is famously where the Bush Compound is located. Kennebunkport was a small fishing village that had the charm that one would expect to find in any small American town. We didn’t see where the Bush compound was but we did stop so Michelle could have some Maine lobster. I’m not as much a seafood fan so I had to settle for chicken strips as we ate on a wooden pier overlooking a little bay where anchored boats dotted the landscape. Kennebunkport was beautiful.