Ferries: Maine's Casco Bay Line
By Lill Hawkins

Casco Bay's (Maine) rocky shorelines and forested islands are a beautiful sight.
However, you can't see them by car. You have to take a ferry on the
oldest ferry
service in the country.

Just a few miles from downtown Portland, you can see secluded coves, lobster
boats, lighthouses and wildflowers in front of summer cottages and fishing piers.

To the islanders, the ferries are a lifeline, carrying kids to school on the
mainland and residents to doctor's appointments, cars, groceries, building
supplies and mail.  Almost without fail, the ferries of the
Casco Bay Line make
their regular daily runs through all kinds of weather.

Peaks Island, Little Diamond, Great Diamond and Cliff Island are all part of the
City of Portland. Although there are only 1,000 year round residents on Peaks
Island, there are several times that many in the summer months. Peaks Island is
only 20 minutes from Portland by ferry and there are several ferry runs a day
depending on the season. You can explore the whole island on foot or bike in
less than an hour, because it's only a mile wide and about two miles long!

Great Diamond Island has seen many famous visitors, including Harriet Beecher
Stowe, Henry Longfellow and early 19th century landscape painters attracted by
the beautiful scenery and stately mansions. However, Diamond Cove was also
the site of Fort McKinley, which was built during the Spanish American War to
protect Portland Harbor. The Fort was in active service until 1945, but is now on
the Register of Historic Places in the United States. There is currently a museum
and gift shop there, operating on a volunteer basis.

Special cruises feature lobster bakes in a rustic "summerhouse" on Peaks Island
for groups of up to 400. Or you can take a music cruise and listen to everything
from jazz to blues to rock to country.

There's something for everyone on the Casco Bay Ferry Line, even if you just go
along on the Mail Run and never set foot on land. The beautiful islands and
rocky coastline are at their best when viewed from the ocean. You might even
see a porpoise or harbor seal! At any rate, you'll return from your ferry trip
refreshed and relaxed   from the salt air and good company aboard the Casco
Bay Line ferry.

About the author: Lill Hawkins lives in Maine and writes News From Hawkhill Acres:
A mostly humorous look at home schooling, writing and being a WAHM, whose mantra
is "I'm a willow; I can bend."
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