Maine islands are conjured in the hearts of visitors as idyllic
settings where lobstermen haul traps year round and tranquil harbors are the
norm. These communities are the backdrop to just a single year-round store,
say, and an elementary schoolhouse of perhaps a dozen students. Gatherings on
the beach and community dinners would stand in for nightlife.
Long Island, located six miles and approximately 45 minutes
by ferry from Portland, does not disrupt these notions – rather it confirms
them. Such distinction does not come without its struggles, and Long Island
unapologetically has its own. Once part of the City of Portland, when property
taxes tripled in the early 1990’s, islanders decided that local control was the
only way to preserve their year round community. In 1993, the Town of Long
Island became the first new town in Maine since 1925.
Years later, the town reports a vibrant community where
citizens take a strong and active role in improving the quality of life for
all. Should you visit? Certainly – the
coastal spot of your dreams is meant to be experienced in person. The 3-mile
long, 1-mile wide island is best toured by bicycle (but bring your own). Visitors
will find a sandy beach, scenic walks along the shore, a brand new library and
art gallery, a gift shop, and an inn where dinner is served.