The iconic, rocky coast of Maine, filled with finger-like peninsulas, hidden coves and welcoming harbors, is one of the great treats awaiting cruising boat owners. And then there are the islands. Here’s a look at five of Maine’s most beautiful islands from New England Today. If you’re cruising Down East this summer, you’ll want to visit at least some of them, if not all.
My personal favorite is Monhegan, pictured above, a small (one square mile) outpost about ten miles off the coast at Port Clyde, which is a great destination in its own right. And it has a fairly protected harbor, between Manana Island on one side and Monhegan itself on the other.
For the past 100 years or so Monhegan has been a summer artists’ colony (only 65 people live there year-round), and you can see painters at work in studios and in their front and back yards. There aren’t any cars or paved roads on Monhegan, but there are great hiking trails and panoramic views from the tops of high cliffs. The 1850 lighthouse (now a museum) is worth a visit. A handful of inns and casual eateries beckon with lobster rolls, chowder and sandwiches. Over the years, I’ve cruised to Monhegan many times, and I’ve always been sorry to leave.
Down the coast, Chebeague Island in Casco Bay is only about ten miles from Portland, and its full of summer houses, winding scenic roads and what New England Today says is one of the best hidden beaches in all of New England. For relaxation, sit on the large wraparound porch at the only hotel there, the Chebeague Island Inn, and let your worries float away.
Then there’s Squirrel Island, about three miles from Boothbay Harbor; it’s said to look like a squirrel holding an acorn. Whatever. But Squirrel Island, just a mile long and half a mile wide, is the home of Maine’s oldest summer colony, and it has five miles of paved sidewalks to encourage easy walking and sightseeing (cars and bikes are not allowed). For more: