I have a confession. I had no idea there were islands off the coast of Maine. I blame poor Geography lessons and the fact that we mostly went South for vacations. Well guess what? Not only are there islands off the coast of Maine (you probably knew that) they are equally parts gorgeous, remote, quaint, and charming. The family and I recently visited the Inn At Diamond Cove on Great Diamond Island in Casco Bay to close out our summer. We hopped a ferry from Portland and were greeted with a man driving a golf cart because there are no cars allowed. Observation #1: Do you know how refreshing it is to be on vacation with your kids and not have to worry about cars backing up or traffic? Let me tell you, it’s something that will immediately put you in relaxation mode…
The Inn At Diamond Cove went through a 12 million dollar renovation in 2015 and you can tell. It formerly housed a military base – Fort McKinley- built during America’s Gilded Age so army structures that were once scattered over the land have been restored and are now homes with historic detail and character. The Inn itself once housed 200 soldiers. The rooms are impeccably and modernly designed but you can still get the feel that these were once army barracks with its upper and lower floor layout and underground bedrooms (which makes for kids sleeping in longer thank you very much.)
We loved touring around the island with the kids. We found a beach that housed more sea glass than a 7 year old could ever dream of. We left that beach with our pockets and hearts full.
We happened upon a fairy garden next to a peaceful lake where we counted the geese and took turns jumping off the rock wall.
We stepped into an arcade and felt like we stepped into a movie set in 1976. The candlepin bowling and old-school games were a hit with the kids.
We made nightly trips to the general store and tasted what has to be some of the best frozen ice in the country. We docked a lot of pool time and jumped in the ocean.
We strolled to the other side of the island where, at low tide, you can literally walk across the ocean to a neighboring island under a fiery sunset.
There are 3 dining options on the island and since I have a strict no-cooking-on-vacation policy we took advantage of all of them for all 3 meals. The restaurant associated with the Inn serves great meals and there is a bar on-site. Make sure to check out the games they have by the fireplace and the coloring kits in the lounge area (or have the kids decorate the walkway, it’s allowed!)
The Diamond’s Edge restaurant is the perfect place for alfresco dining. It’s set on a small ledge and the kids loved playing along the rocks at low tide while they waiting for their dinner.
The Crown Jewel is a hipsters paradise and the food looked incredible, really bummed we didn’t get a chance to eat there. The Crown Jewel is also the general store, make sure to check it out for breakfast on the go.
“BEEN THERE” TIPS & TRICKS
- Bring bug spray on your walks. I forgot mine and became a forest feast (bites thankfully disappeared by the morning)
- Bring scooters and/or bikes. They have bikes for you to borrow but they weren’t the right size for the kids. We borrowed the free wagon for the baby, it was great.
- BYOF. There is very little food on the island so if you want to cook you must bring everything yourself. Check out the deal they have with Whole Foods.
- Make sure you park in the right lot by the Ferry service in Portland. We didn’t and ended up paying WAY more than we should have (3 kid problems/rushing to catch the boat problems.)
MIM IN MAINE