Thinking of having your Wedding on Peaks Island?

Thinking of having your Wedding on Peaks Island?

Peaks Island, ME is a popular site for weddings. But an Island wedding has its complications, and logistics that can add costs.

Venues

While many brides yearn for a beach wedding, beach access on Peaks is limited.  See http://peaksisland.info/peaks-island-beaches/

 

TEIA hosts weddings at their historic wooden “casino”  on a beach.   Most brides chose the lawn for a ceremony, with a splendid view.  TEIA has a kitchen but offers limited amenities, and all food, beverages, lighting, flowers, music  etc. must be brought in.   https://teiaclub.org/

 

Check out the Event space category under Organizations to find these locales.

 

The Lions’ Club Greenwood Gardens is popular, with a beautiful sea view lawn and a capacious indoor facility with a stage.  Amenities are limited.

 

The Inn on Peaks Island offers a more full service venue,  with a restaurant that can cater if you wish.

 

The Harbor View at Jones Landing also offers a venue and some food service, tho is usually more popular for rehearsal dinners or post wedding brunches.  Island Lobster House also has an event space on their lawn and offers lobster bakes.

 

Fifth and Eighth Maine are both available for rentals for events.

 

People do have their ceremonies on the rocky areas on the backshore. These are only suitable for small parties unless people don’t mind ending up in the water.

 

Housing

While there are plenty of rentals on the Island they book early (December) so you will need to plan ahead to house your guests and wedding party.

 

Transport

Getting to the Island.  While Casco Bay Lines is available it can be crowded in summer and people are sometimes turned away to wait for the next boat.   You can reserve the Bay Mist for your party.  At a minimum you should alert Bay Lines to the size of your group.  Also keep in mind the last ferry ….

 

The water taxis are also available but not cheap.  They do go where you need them tho – -such as TEIA.

Fireworks?
A permit is needed for fireworks on Peaks Island.   Now you know.

January 2024 storms and record high tides wreck Peaks Island Shoreline

 

In January 2024, back-to-back storms ravaged the Peaks Island shoreline, especially the “back shore.”

As of this blog, several areas are affected.

Notably the stairs to Sandy Beach have been washed away.

Seashore Road was washed away in several areas, and covered with rocks, with the worse damage in Spar Cove

Whaleback (rock formation) broke into halves

TEIA was flooded

Waterside cottages were flooded and damaged.

Portland public services crews, helped by private citizens, worked hard to clear the roads and repair damage.

Before visiting Peaks be sure to check on post storm recovery.

 

Sandy Beach

Whaleback

 

Ferry Beach

 

Can I walk or drive around Peaks Island?

Peaks Island is unique in Maine in allowing access to the shoreline.  (See Beaches post however – most beaches are private).  Most of Maine’s Coastline is bordered by private property and cannot be visited or seen.

Back in WWII  Peaks was a military installation and the land on the Ocean side, the “Backshore,” was commandeered by the military.  The military built a road along the Backshore that remains, and allows residents and visitors to drive, walk or bike along the shoreline.   There are even little pull off spots where you can stop and enjoy the view.  The shore road is about 1.7 miles of the full 3.68 mile loop, starting near the 8th Maine and ending at Spar Cove.  Along the way there are a number of military relics, including Battery Steele.

So yes, you can drive around but there are other options – walking and bike rentals, or a golf cart tour.   There are at least three reasons to leave your car in Portland.   One –  the ferry is expensive; two — there can be long lines to get on the Ferry; three – it will only take a short time to drive and then what?  Parking is available in Portland at a number of price points.   See Portland Parking Options

Seeing Fall Foliage on Peaks Island

Despite its nickname “The Rock,” Peaks Island has an abundance of trees that present a spectacular show of colors on the Autumn.

One great way to see the foliage is from Casco Bay Lines, either on the boat to Peaks on to the Diamonds, or one of the cruises.

Once on the Island, you can circuit the island on foot or bike and see the foliage along the shoreline.   Check for gold cart rentals which may be seasonal. For a map see Click here for MAPS

We do suggest that you explore the interior of the Island along the many trials maintained by the Peaks Island Land Preserve Click here for PILF maps .  You will be surprised how far from City life you will be, amidst beautiful foliage.

Halloween on Peaks – The Sacred and the Profane

If you are lucky you will be on Peaks Island for the Sacred and Profane. This event takes place at Battery Steele, an old WWII installation tucked into the middle of the Island. It’s a free for all of Portland’s artists, illusionists, creatives types and people who like a scare, with volunteer installations of music and art, and costumes, meant to haunt and inspire. As Owen Sandersen writes “I liken it to Burning Man meets arthaus meets classy haunted hayride. It draws lots of Maine College of Art (MECA) students and off-islanders, who build elaborate experiences and art installations deep inside the Battery.”

Word of the event tends to travel via word of mouth, so ask around.  Some say its on the night of the October full moon.

En route to the Battery enjoy the Island’s very creative Halloween decorations.   Check the Calendar for more official Halloween events.

With thanks to Owen Sanderson

New Public Restroom on Peaks Island !

The City of Portland and the Peaks Island Council have worked together to install a much needed public toilet in an area away from Down Front.

The toilet won’t be obvious to the casual hiker, but you can find it at Trott Littlejohn Park, on Florida and Island Avenue, just under 1 mile from the ferry terminal.   Google maps link to Trott Littlejohn

While visiting, check out Trott Littlejohn and its community garden.

For other toilet locations see http://peaksisland.info/FAQ

Toilet at Trott Littlejohn

Exploring the Charm of Peaks Island in Autumn

As the air turns crisp and leaves don their red and golden hues, there’s no better time to escape the bustling city and embrace nature’s seasonal transformation. Nestled just off the coast of Portland, Maine, Peaks Island stands as a quiet retreat for those seeking a quintessential autumn getaway.
Peaks Island, known for its serene beauty and tranquil ambiance, takes on an entirely new charm as summer crowds disperse, making way for the magic of autumn.
The island’s compact size makes it ideal for exploration by foot or bike. Travel along the rugged coastline, where waves crash against weathered rocks – Peaks Island is a rare place in Maine with coastal access.  Take a leisurely  hike through the many trails in the woods (see MAPS).   Capture the vistas from Battery Steele, a former military fort turned lookout point. The panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean, framed by fiery foliage, provide an excellent backdrop for your snapshots.

Photo © Curtis Rindlaub

As the sun begins to dip below the horizon, warm up with a cup of hot apple cider or beverage of your choice or indulge in a snack from the island’s local cafes, restaurants or Hannigan’s Market.
Don’t forget to explore the artistic side of the island too – galleries and studios often feature the work of local artisans.
Many businesses curtail their hours after Labor Day so be sure to check.
(thank you ChatGPT!)

Peaks Island Beaches

Peaks Island: Public Beaches

Not to start on a down note but  – public beaches on Peaks are limited.  Also all but one lack toilet sand none have shower facilities.

In Maine, beaches are private property to the LOW water mark. Homeowners generally tolerate people walking along their beach but unless you are fishing or clamming you don’t have the right to beach access.

Sandy Beach is on the South Side of the Island and is marked on the map as location 8.   MAP  It overlooks Whitehead Passage and Cushing’s Island  and true to its name is a rare Maine sandy beach.  Access is down a rather steep ramp, not accessible for people with disabilities.

One of the island’s most popular public beaches is Centennial Beach, somewhat rocky but also with sand that gently slopes into the water, making it an ideal spot for swimming and building sandcastles with loved ones. On the North side of the Island it can be accessed by taking Island Avenue past the school to to City Point Road — NOT Centennial St.   However this is not a public beach, it is owned by Central Maine Power, and they do occasion shoo people off.

Cairn Beach,  location 16 on the MAP, is a rocky area where you can enjoy tide pools and building rock cairns and sculptures.  You can’t swim there though

Cairn Beach

The beach to the right of the Ferry Pier as you exit also is used by the public,  its not clear who owns it but its below City property so probably owned by the City.  Its not far from the public toilets, a plus.