Thursday, December 12, 2013
It's a great time of year to visit some of the islands that dot Casco Bay, and when doing so there's no reason to leave your bike at home.
Several easy-to-access islands offer biking options that come with little auto traffic and great views. Here are a few to check out:
Holly Bowling walks her dog, Nandi, while riding her bike under flag adorned untility poles on Chebeague island. Press Herald file photo
Chebeague Island: Catch the ferry from Casco Bay Lines in Portland for $11.55 (additional $6.50 for your bike) or through the Chebeague Transportation Company from Cousins Island for $15 (additional $6 for your bike).
Once on the island enjoy the mostly flat roadways on a trip around Chebeague that will cover about 10 miles. You'll get a chance to check out island life, get a snack at the Clam Shack or take a dip in the Atlantic. Plan your trip on Aug. 10 when there is an ice cream social at the Parish House or on Aug. 18 when the Good Ol' Fashioned Chebeague Island Lobster Bake takes place.
Sunbathers crowd the point as kids looks for crabs during low tide at Sandy Point Beach on Cousins island in Yarmouth. Press Herald file photo
Cousins Island: Get to Cousins Island by land by cycling through Falmouth and Yarmouth along Route 88. You'll see some impressive homes and gorgeous ocean views, particularly when pedaling across the Cousins Island bridge.
Just over the bridge there's a good spot to stop for a quick dip or to put your feet in the water. Then get back on your bike and pedal to the ferry landing at the far end of the island where travelers to Chebeague board. You'll also be able to see the Wyman Energy Center, an oil-fired electric power plant on Cousins Island.
Donna Rouillard and Taryn Adams of Portland wait to board the ferry to Peak's Island to do some biking. Press Herald file photo
Peaks Island: You'll take the Casco Bay Lines ferry to Peaks, and see some great views in the harbor on the way. The views may be even better when you arrive as you pedal around and look back at Portland.
Peaks is the most populous island in Casco Bay but also offers trails and a land preserve. Visit Brad and Wyatt's Island Bike Service for any of your cycling needs before checking out the Eighth Maine Regiment Memorial or the Umbrella Cover Museum. If you're hungry stop in at the Cockeyed Gull restaurant, Downfront (ice cream, candy) or Hannigan's Island Market (sandwiches, pizza, groceries).
Brunswick residents enjoy the cooling waters off a beach in Garrison Cove on Bailey Island. Press Herald file photo
Bailey Island: Doing this island by bike will take the better part of your day (and you'll want to get an early start) if you're starting out from Portland. It's about a 45-mile ride but well worth it when you hit Land's End, the famous rocky beach at the far end of the island.
After riding through Brunswick and across Orr's Island you'll cross over the world's only cribstone bridge, which connects Orr's and Bailey. Check out much-photographed Mackerel Cove and The Giant Stairs, a rock formation that resembles a flight of stairs.
When you're finished exploring catch the ferry back to Portland. It departs daily at 2 p.m. with a $17.50 price tag for a one-way ticket.