new england, fishing vessel, kayaks, nature, submarine, casco bay
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An Island A Day
by: Nate Soule
Stand by the shores of Casco Bay on the coast of Maine and you may expect to
find ocean as far as the eye can see. Instead seemingly endless islands dot the
seascape. Sometimes called the calendar islands, there is rumored to be an
island in the bay for every day of the year.
Stretching from Cape Elizabeth to Cape Small these islands with their rocky
shores and rustic way of life define the stereotypical New England coastline.
Mostly uninhabited, they provide a serene escape from everyday life. Their
natural beauty and their sheer numbers create a place one could visit every day
and still never have completely explored. With an island for every day of the
year there is more than enough shelter from the wind to allow everything from
large fishing vessels to solo kayaks to roam the bay. While sandy beaches are
few and far between here, the rock strewn shores and miles of nature trails can
supply a continual source of enjoyment.
If you know where to look the Casco Bay islands will also provide a glimpse of
Maine maritime history. Being located on the eastern most part of the country,
these islands served their time during World War II as bases and look outs for
German U-Boats. Great towers and forts still remain on Jewel Island, and while
mostly converted to homes now, the military buildings on Great Diamond Island
are hard to miss. During the war anti-submarine nets and mines were deployed at
many harbor entrances and the islands took on a front line role. Even before
WWII Casco Bay held military purposes. In 1858 Fort Georges was constructed and
armed for the Civil War, Spanish American War, and was used to store submarine
mines during WWI.
Many opportunities await those looking to enjoy the islands for their less
historical characteristics. Chebeague is the largest of the Casco Bay islands,
and one of the few with a year round population. Ferry service takes visitors
from Portland or nearby Cousinís Island to the perfect setting for an
adventuresome hike or leisurely bike ride. You can finish the day off with a
delicious dinner or nights rest at the breath taking Chebeague Inn. Great
Diamond Island also offers an exceptional dining experience at the Diamondís
Edge restaurant in Diamondís Cove. Peaks and Long islands both present dining
opportunities to their guests and their proximity to Portland makes them popular
If you are looking for a little less populated destination then you have
literally hundreds of choices. You can relax on the beaches of Sand Island,
watch the seals bask on the rocks of French Island, or setup a picturesque
camping site on one of the Gosling islands. Many of these smaller islands will
require you to provide your own transportation, but kayak, canoe, sail, and
motor boat rentals all provide easy access.
Whether you are looking for fine dining, a historical stroll, or a relaxing day
on the beach Casco Bay offers something for every visitor and an island for
every day of the year.
About The Author
Nate Soule is a travel enthusiast and helps maintain the travel website