Celebrating the Fourth on Peaks Island

Ferry boats line up at the Casco Bay terminal

I think most painters, writers and photographers experience periods of creative block.  I know I do.  It’s as if there is a voice within us that whispers that the next creative act can wait another day.   The more we listen to that voice, the more days that pass where we “just don’t feel it” and the camera, brush or pen simply sits idle.

View of Portland from the Maine State Pier

For me, this voice comes in one of three choruses:

Conditions Aren’t Right – The light won’t be right; I don’t have the right gear for that; getting to the right location will be too much work.

It’s Been Done Before – With billions of pictures on Instagram, Flickr, Facebook and other social media, there’s probably no place on the planet that hasn’t been photographed already.  Why bother?

It Needs to be Perfect –   That’s a great idea but I could easily screw it up!

I doubt that I’m alone in this thinking.

A strong display of patriotism along the Portland waterfront
Let’s not forget our Canadian neighbors as they celebrate their 150th anniversary

So what’s the antidote for this artistic roadblock?  Pick up the camera.  Go out and shoot something, anything.  Done is better than perfect.

A great day for sailing on Casco Bay

After a month or so of feeling uninspired to click the shutter, I decided to take the camera along as my wife, dog and I made our traditional July 4th excursion out to Peaks Island to celebrate Independence Day.

Peaks Island’s colorful sights are abundant 

Knowing that we would be taking the late morning ferry, I turned down the volume on the internal voice that reminded me that “the light won’t be right at mid-day” and decided to focus on color – bad light be damned.  To capture the true essence of Peaks one must reveal its colorful sights and care-free lifestyle.  Think of any Jimmy Buffett song you’ve ever heard and Peaks Island embodies it.  This is Margaritaville north.

Parts of the island are very tranquil
Most cottages are very well maintained
Each cottage displays its unique decor

About a twenty minute boat ride from Portland’s waterfront, this is a tourist haven in the summertime.  With ferries running about once per hour, visitors can spend as little or as much time on the island as they please.  There are several good restaurants, a general store, ice cream worth the calories as well as bike, kayak and golf cart rentals.  Just remember to wear comfortable shoes.

Just about every hue on the color spectrum is represented somewhere on the island

There aren’t many rules on the island.  If a car runs, it’s considered road-worthy.  Don’t have a car?  A golf cart will do.  No cart?  Get a bike – the older the better.  This place is as laid back as it gets.

People get very creative with their cars
Peaks is a very dog friendly place

A golf cart in the front yard is the ultimate status symbol
Everyone should own at least one purple bicycle in their lifetime
Peaks Island literally offers a “Bicycle with a View”

Each trip to Peaks is unique and often times the ferry ride itself is what stands out.  My favorite pastime while on the boat is to survey the various items that people bring aboard – keeping in mind that there are about 1,000 year round inhabitants and hundreds more seasonal residents that need provisions and other “stuff”.  This year’s winner:  a guy carrying a 4 foot plastic Santa Claus figure.   Must have been a deal he couldn’t refuse.

There are many gorgeous flower gardens to admire

Some flower gardens fall into the “fake news” category

If you’ve never been to Peaks Island, you need to go and experience this quintessential slice of Maine for yourself.

Portland Headlight as seen from Casco Bay
Latest mural on the Maine State Pier

If you’ve been contemplating a visit but haven’t pulled the trigger yet, turn off that voice in your head that suggests “there’s no place to park near the ferry” (go early); it’s too chilly on the boat (bring a jacket); “I won’t know what to do there” (Google it).  It might not be your “perfect” summer excursion, but then again, it might.  Besides, done is better than perfect!

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