We got up, ate breakfast at the hotel restaurant and took the hotel's courtesy van to the Casco Bay Lines terminal. The twenty minute ride to Peaks Island was magnificent. I saw the harbor for the first time in 17 years. This is the place that I took for granted as a kid, riding the boat every day to school. After arriving on Peaks Island, we headed down Island Ave. and explored the area around my childhood home on Centennial St., then headed to the East End. We went up to Pleasant Ave. and headed back, passing Brackett Church and the elementary school (my dad claims it was called Peaks Island Grammar School - "good ol' P.I.G.S." - when he attended it in the 1930s) on the way.
Lunch was at the Peaks Island House restaurant. Brandie had a sandwich and I had the corn chowder, which was excellent. We then headed the opposite way on Island Ave. and explored the back shore of the island. We eventually circled the entire island. Many, many pictures were taken on the way.
After buying a few souvenirs for the kids, we headed back to Portland and took in some of the shops in the Old Port district. We ate dinner at Sebago Brewing Company. Their burgers were very good, and the Amber Ale was great. We then called the courtesy van and returned to the hotel, thoroughly worn out and sunburned.
Again we rode the courtesy van from the Doubletree to the Casco Bay Lines terminal. This time we boarded the boat for Long Island. After stops at Little Diamond, Great Diamond and Diamond Cove, we arrived at Long Island's new dock. New since I've been there, anyway.
We headed up Beach Ave. and checked out my grandparents' former house, where my mother grew up. We then walked around to Fowler's Beach and eventually to Singing Sands Beach. Coming back, we took the road around the west end of the island. Lunch was at Clark's store, where they have installed a deli-style sandwich counter. The only restaurant on the island, The Spar, doesn't open until 5pm.
After lunch, we walked to the east end, past my cousin's boatyard and to the cove where at one time every resident was a relative. I'm not so sure that every resident on the island wasn't a relative. :) We walked around the back side of the island to Beach Ave. and then went back to the store, where we picked up some more souvenirs. 4:45 came much too quickly, but we boarded the boat for the trip back to the city. After going back to the hotel, we took a bus to the airport and picked up a car for the next day. We had dinner at Vinny T's, which is adjacent to the Maine Mall in South Portland. Excellent Italian food.
Today we took in some of the historical sites in Portland. After driving down Congress St., the first stop was the Eastern Cemetary, where Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, among others, is buried. Right up Munjoy Hill is the Portland Observatory. The climb to the top was well worth it. The view of every part of the city is amazing, and the knowledgeable guide provided many interesting tidbits of information about Portland's history.
After a personal aside to Falmouth Foreside to see my grandparents' graves, we crossed the city and went out to Portland Headlight in Cape Elizabeth. On the way, we again enjoyed Anania's pizza, this time at their South Portland location.
Portland Headlight was one of the first lighthouses built by the American government. The view is beautiful and the history is rich. We spent several hours there taking pictures and looking around the park. We then took a driving tour of the city center and the Eastern Promenade, culminating in a shopping spree at the gift shops in the Old Port. After dropping our purchases at the hotel, we returned the car to the rental agency and took a taxi to the Casco Bay Lines terminal. We went to Peaks Island for one last time and had dinner at the Island House Restaurant. This time, I had a burger and Brandie had a club sandwich. Both were very good. Leaving Peaks Island was hard. Appropriately, it rained on the trip back to the city.