We just finished spending several days at a cottage on Chebeague Island, (pronounced Cha-beeg) just off Portland, Maine. We told some friends in Cuenca that we were going to spend a month in New England chasing the Fall Foliage colors. They said they had a cottage on this island that was available, and asked if we wanted to use it for a few days. We jumped at the chance to experience this part of New England!
The island is only 1 mile X 3 miles, and is the largest island in Casco Bay not connected to the mainland by bridge (the idea to create a bridge was floated, but soundly voted down in 1970). The island has an official population in the 2010 census of 340 people — with astounding growth to an estimated 346 by 2014! ☺
The panorama above is shot from the Casco Bay ferry landing, showing the jut of land on which our friend’s cottage sits. Theirs is a small red building in the middle of that row of half a dozen buildings (can’t be readily seen at this resolution, though it shows up nicely in a full size print).
The cottage appears to be a small unimposing log cabin from the road. Enter though, and it is spacious and very comfortable, with one of the best views from the island. Lower-right shows a scene from the sitting area on the harbor side, which was part of a recent remodel. The cottage is shown in the other photographs, including drone images of the property (upper-right and lower-left).
It is easy to drive the full circumference of the small island in under an hour. There are two ferry lines that go to the island; the ferries (upper) are lifelines to the mainland, and arrive every few hours all day long. If you want full groceries (beyond what is available at the small country store on the island), you can order it from Whole Foods on-line, and this ferry will deliver your groceries to the island!
There is only one hotel in town — the Chebeague Inn, shown lower-right. The food here is extremely good, and we ended up eating there three times in our four days here. The island, along with the hotel, shuts down mid- October, and reopens the following spring.
There are no taxis, so our friends loaned us their “island car”, which has no license plates. Keys were left in the unlocked car at the ferry landing, and the cottage was also left unlocked. We had forgotten that there are places in the world that are safe enough to leave doors unlocked. The gas station is a single unmarked pump at the dock.
There is also a boat dry dock (lower-second-from-left) on the island, where many residents store their boats for the winter.
And, of course, being a small island, water is always a major part of life (bottom-right two images). Chebeague Island has a small town feel, and it is easy to kick back and relax.
We timed this trip to catch the Fall Foliage colors. We were a bit early on the island, and this time of year tends to have mostly cloudy days. As such, our attempts at nighttime star photography was only marginally successful, The upper and lower-left images show how pervasive the clouds were. The clouds not only block the stars, but they also reflect the light from the nearest city — Portland,Maine in this case.
Here is a short one minute video (sans music) showing the island hotel and activity around the ferry dock.