March 10, 2020
Daytrip Destination: Great Chebeague Island, Maine
Some three nautical miles from the mouth of the Royal River in Yarmouth and some six nautical miles northeast of Portland Harbor, Great Chebeague Island is the ultimate boater’s escape.
The island is mostly private, but visitors can gain access to its lovely white-sand beaches and quiet, bike-friendly roads by staying at the venerable and cozy Chebeague Island Inn, located on the island’s northwest tip. Originally built in the 1880s, the inn was destroyed by fire, but rebuilt to its original form in the 1920s. Today, the restored three-story clapboard building overlooks a rolling lawn and private golf course, with magnificent views of Casco Bay.
You can stay overnight, or simply enjoy brunch, lunch or dinner at the inn. If you plan to arrive by boat, call ahead to check on mooring availability. There is good water depth in the cove, and the approach is marked by private aids. Passengers and gear can be dropped off at the pier in front of the Inn, after which you can grab a mooring or anchor. The inn staff can give you a ride to shore, or you can dinghy to the pier. Once ashore, it’s a short walk to the inn, or you can arrange for a shuttle to pick you up.
The inn features a sprawling porch where you can enjoy hors d’oeuvres and a cocktail as the sun sets. There’s indoor and outdoor dining, with a varied menu that includes everything from salads to steak. The inn is well known for its Sunday jazz brunch, with live music provided by local musicians.
If you choose to stay overnight, you can enjoy use of the inn’s bicycles to get around the island’s quiet roads. Several white-sand beaches are within easy reach. Room rates range from $225-$255 for double-occupancy, European-style room with garden view to $360-$410 for a double-occupancy ocean-view room with private bath. A gourmet breakfast is included.
Nearby launch ramps include the Yarmouth Town Landing, on Yarmouth Harbor, just minutes from Rte. 295 and Rte. 1. There is a $15 launch fee and $5 overnight fee. Another nearby launch facility is Portland’s Eastern Promenade ramp. There is a $10 fee for non-residents to launch and park.