My aunt bought a cottage on Long island, Maine in 1987, the same year I was born. Every summer, I’ve spent at least one weekend on this quaint island, a mere 1.4 square miles in land area, located in Casco Bay. Like any island, time tends to stand still here. I’ve continually felt a sense of peace and comfort while walking along the quiet roads, listening to the ocean’s calm waves, and eating lobster under dim lighting in my aunt’s cottage.
Despite the summer tourists, Long Island is a close-knit community, with approximately 200 residents occupying the island year-round. Locals are greeted on a first name basis, like the one taxi driver named Chub and the mechanic named Ski. There are two small general stores, and a few other businesses that are mainly open in the summer. It’s presumably normal to walk around barefoot, wearing nothing but a bikini. Additionally, the speed limit is 15 miles an hour, and the cars mostly consist of the old, deteriorating models that have failed to pass inspection on the mainland.
Many lobstermen fish off the coast of the island.
During WWII, Casco Bay became the United State’s Atlantic naval base, and this builidng, located near the main pier, was constructed for this purpose. It’s now abandoned, I believe.
There are many cute, quirky homes and structures around the island. I’m loving this lobster mailbox.
Fern Park Lobster Co. sells the freshest lobster on the island.
An artist named Shirley has created an installation of buoys, plastic flamingos, and action figures in the yard surrounding her home. With some slight changes, the same plastic figurines have been placed here ever since I can remember.
Barbie and her date, trailed by flamingos in cars.
Near South Beach, a handmade sign warns passersby to be careful of the poison ivy.
Singing Sands Beach, located on the other side of South Beach.
The Casco Bay Islands were actually formed by glaciers thousands of years ago. The rocky coast is beautiful to photograph and fun to climb.
Some kids are playing in the sand on South Beach.
Depending on the schedule, the ferry arrives every few hours to take passengers back to Portland.
Some locals have their own boats and relax on the dock.
Locals and tourists wait to board the boat. It’s quite easy to differentiate between the two. Tourists usually have a backpack, cooler, a beach towel and all their belongings for the day. Locals may have rolling carts and/or strange looking freight, while wearing flip flops with windblown hair. Since I’ve spent time on Long Island for 24 years, I tend to feel like a local, especially when I’m with my aunt. We’ll cut the ferry line and greet everyone. I’ve biked and walked along every road and path, seeking out hidden dwellings. However, at the same time, I’m a tourist, packing my lunch and slathering sunscreen on my pale, city-dwelling skin. It’s nice to bounce between these two existences, knowing that my next trip awaits me.
-Text and photography by Sarah Shaw @ www.mappingwords.com. All rights reserved.