If you’re ever in Portland, Maine for the summer, going to Peaks Island for Reggae Sunday is absolutely mandatory. It’s a quintessential Maine summertime outing, and it is not to be missed! The adventure starts on a ferry that departs from Commercial Street in Portland, and cruises through Casco Bay, passing lighthouses, fishermen, and sailboats along the way.
It takes about 20 minutes to get to the island, which offers some stunning views of mainland Portland and the harbor. If you’re not into the drinking scene, skip Reggae Sunday and instead walk the length of the island, which takes about an hour. There are numerous sandy beaches along the way, where you can go for a dip or enjoy a picnic lunch. The island also offers bike rentals, which you can get at a steal for $15 a day.
However, we were in it for the music and the booze. Bud Light Lime and rum buckets are mandatory at Reggae Sunday, as are friends, sunshine, and killer dance moves. You can relax on the lawn by the water, sit and sip cocktails on the deck, or groove to live Reggae music on the dance floor. There’s also an indoor area incase it rains, but as previously mentioned, sunshine at Reggae Sunday is mandatory ;)The girls and I ordered way too many rum buckets, which resulted in new friends, grass stains, and a very un-sober Sunday. My girlfriends are the best, and getting to enjoy their company all at once is a rare and delightful treat. Jess lives in Colorado, Katie and Casey live in Maine, and Amie lives in Vermont. When you factor in my Amsterdam residence, there are three timezones and thousands of miles between us. But as the years go on we seem to grow closer and closer, despite the distance. I really treasure their friendship. Some people have one lifelong friend, some have two. I have a whole handful, and we’ve loved each other through thick and thin – babies, break-ups, husbands, fights, moves, and some of the most crazy wonderful nights a girl could ask for. I love Reggae Sunday because it feels so MAINE. The way people dress, interact, drink, dance, and behave is such a departure from the city life I’m used to in Amsterdam. Everyone wears flip flops and colorful florals. There are baseball hats, bottles of Bud, and neon shades. And everyone is so damn friendly. Life is easy in Maine, as it should be.
As Reggae Sunday starts fairly early in the afternoon, the live music ends as the sun begins to set. People cram onto the ferry, but wanting to avoid the rush, the girls and I opted to explore the island. We went and sat on the beach, and waited for a later, less packed ferry back to Portland. The girls went on to BBQ at Katie’s house, but I called my mom who offered to come pick me up. We stopped and got some pizzas on the way home (I ate a whole bag of cheesy breadsticks in the car) and then we hung out in the air conditioned living room at home, and watched True Blood. It was a seriously indulgent day (there were also ice cream sandwiches after the pizza), and one of my favorite holiday memories. Friends, rum buckets, sunshine, ocean, family time, and pizza :) I am lusting after Maine summertime again already. Only 11 more months to go ;)
Ps. If you’re interested in grooving at Reggae Sunday, you can catch the ferry out to Peaks Island from Commercial Street in Portland at the Casco Bay Line. An adult ticket to Peaks Island is $7.70. The Reggae fest takes place at Jones Landing, at 6 Welch St, Portland, ME 04108. I believe cover is $5, and they only take cash at the door, so make sure to bring some pocket change. Drinks are reasonably priced and other than the cover, all live entertainment is free. Music typically starts at 1pm, but doors open sooner if you’d like to pre-game a bit beforehand. Happy dancing friends!