Saturday, May 06, 2006

Custom House Wharf

Arriving on Peaks Island in 1975, our only way home at night was to pass through the aging portals of Custom House Wharf to the Casco Bay Lines. Down an aging pier with warped decking, past Boone's Restaurant, past the Porthole Restaurant and into the waiting area for the next boat to Peaks.

In the ten years I made this trip I don't ever remember the waiting area being painted. I do remember spending many waiting times reading the gray stained walls for the latest additions of hand written news updates and philosophies. The waiting room had seating for about ten and standing for about twenty all under a single flourescent unit that flickered in perfect syncronization with your heartbeat. I won't even discuss the facilities. Unless it was below zero with a strong breeze blowing down the Fore River, the waiting for the next boat took place outside under an ever more warping roof. Of course, whenver it rained it was absolutely necessary to open your umbrella or pick a spot that the rain wasn't cascading down through the roof. Yet, that outside waiting area was perfect for many a game of kick the can for the kids returning from a Maine Marriner's Hockey Game.

We parked our car in the Hub Furniture parking lot and walked down the hill to the Bay Lines. There was nothing like the annual Memorial Day Weekend Friday night 5:30 boat to Peaks. If ever there was a Hong Kong Express, that was the boat. Coming down the hill you could see the milling mob jockeying for position to get on a boat. The wharf was filled with humanity back past the Porthole and often all the way down to Boone's. How we would ever squeeze the number of people that use the boats today into that old decrepit facility is impossible to imagine. Yet, as always, a number of Islanders objected to leaving Custom House Wharf for the facilities we use today. The term "quaint" was used often and loudly but fortunately, saner, longer term thinking prevailed. Enjoy these views of the old Custom House Wharf.


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