A Perfect Weekend on Peaks Island

Explore an abandoned artillery bunker, see the world’s largest collection of umbrella covers, dine al fresco, and more.

Cairn Beach, Peaks Island
On the rocks at Cairn Beach. Photo by Cara Dolan
By Adrienne Perron
From our June 2023 Island Issue

Get There

people on a ferry
Departing the ferry. Photo by Cara Dolan

Peaks is the easiest of Maine’s unbridged islands to visit. Take Casco Bay Lines’ Peaks Island Ferry (56 Commercial St., Portland; 207-774-7871), which leaves almost every hour. Round-trip tickets can only be bought in person at the Maine State Pier terminal and cost $7.70 during the high season. The trip is just 15 minutes. (It’s possible to bring a car, but you won’t need it.)  

Eat & Drink

Grab a latté from Baba’s Café (79 Island Ave.), which opened last year in a 1901 Cape that proprietors Natasha Markol-Riss and Ted McNally renovated. At lunchtime, stop by Baba’s for a warm turkey, chicken, or brie panini, or drop by The Greeks of Peaks (Welch St., next to the American Legion; 207-650-1602), a food truck that serves up co-owner Nancy Klosteridis’s Greek family recipes. Try a gyro or grilled souvlaki or paros skewers. In a wooded clearing full of picnic tables, a quarter-mile from the ferry dock, Il Leone (2 Garden Pl.; 207-370-1471) turns out bubbly-crust Neapolitan pizzas from a trailered wood-fired oven. In the evening, take to the huge deck at Jones Landing (​​6 Welch St.; 207-766-5652) for a view of Casco Bay, good chowder, colorful (and strong) cocktails, and live tunes (reggae on Sundays packs them in).

Explore

For a full island tour (and great ocean views), rent a bike from Brad’s Bike Rental & Repair (115 Island Ave.; 207-766-5631) or a golf cart from Peaks Island Golf Carts (62 Island Ave.; 207-747-8309) and follow roadside signs for the Peaks Island Loop, a four-mile circuit of the island. Stop at rocky Cairn Beach (284 Seashore Ave.) and leave your mark by building a cairn, like many beachgoers before. Then, drop by Battery Steele Park (accessible off Florida Ave.), one of the largest decommissioned military batteries in the country, to wander the pitch-dark rooms. Back in town, check out the world’s largest collection of umbrella covers at the Umbrella Cover Museum (62 Island Ave.; 207-939-0301), where curator Nancy Hoffman displays more than 2,000 umbrella sheaths, many of which fans have sent to her from more than 70 countries. In 2012, Guinness World Records certified that she has the largest collection of umbrella covers anywhere.

Stay

Built in 1891 as a summer home for 8th Maine Regiment veterans of the Civil War, the 8th Maine Oceanfront Lodge & Museum (13 Eighth Maine Ave.; 207-749-1705) is now a public guest house. Overlooking the ocean, the lodge includes a library and museum with Civil War artifacts as well as rustic and simple Victorian-style rooms. The 8th Maine Regiment Memorial Association, the nonprofit that owns the property, celebrated its 150th anniversary last year. 

Discover more weekend getaways in Maine.

May 2024, Down East Magazine

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