Cousins Island Afternoon Walk

Sometimes I forget that not everyone sees the ocean every day, everywhere they go – on their commute to work, their Sunday afternoon walks, their downtown shopping districts. In Portland, Maine, we are not only blessed with the ocean all around us but also…the islands.

In all my ocean views, I see islands, big and small.

Islands are such a romantic notion to me – a way of life that seems more simple, less hurried, remote.

Maine has over 3,000 islands up and down our lengthy coastline.

Some islands near Portland are reached by boat or ferry. Some are attached to our mainland by long bridges. (And “long” is relative – nothing on the order of Sarasota or San Diego!)

Cousins Island off Yarmouth is attached.

Driving Falmouth and Cumberland Foresides to Yarmouth is a beautiful ride.

The stately homes and private drives date back years although now, many of the older homes are being torn down and new, gorgeous, larger homes are being built on the prestigious property. To our right, as we drive, we can see the ocean views in between homes all along the Foresides. Ancient trees dot the properties.

Just over the Yarmouth line is the fork in the road where you bear right to drive past Prince’s Point to Cousins Island.

The view from the bridge attaching to the island, left and right, is beautiful, particularly on our spring walk this afternoon at 4:00 when the light is perfect.

I love the light of day leading into setting sunsets. It’s sparkly and muted to me, not the brilliant, harsh light of mid-day. Late afternoon, it’s softened, as I am. Ready to be more quiet and relaxed, chores done, time to sit a spell.

Just after the bridge, to your left, is a small parking lot. From it, if the tide is out, you can walk the dirt path down to the beach area. Wear your puddle or L.L. Bean boots in spring. It can be muddy and slippery. There are rocks to step on, puddles left by the tide as it swept out, seaweed and wet grasses. The beach leads to an inlet of the island.

Up on high ground, you can also walk a wooded path atop the cliff or just beside it, a paved sidewalk along the road. The walk goes all the way to the electric power station at the southwestern peninsula – the Wyman Energy Center. Wyman is a “peaking power plant” which means it is only fired up to operate during times of high electricity demand in the region, such as hot summer days.

Although so close to the city, once on Cousins Island, you feel far away.

The views looking down each short road, left and right, to the sea, remind you you’re on an island. About 500 people call this island home. It’s kind of the best of both worlds to me – so close to town and working, but with the feel of being far, far away living a romantic, artisan island life.

Just before the power station, we take a left and walk down to the boat dock. From it, more breathtaking views of Littlejohn Island and Chebeague. The Islander, run by Chebeague Transportation Company, will ferry you across from Cousins to Chebeague in 15 minutes.

When you smell the sea, rock gently in the waves, feel that 4:00 sparkly sunshine on your face – you will know you are in a special place where all just seems right in the world.