The Eagle Island Maine Historic Site is only a few miles off of the coast of Maine, and is largely devoted to the memory of Admiral Robert Edwin Peary, the first man to reach the North Pole. To date, he is arguably still the only man to have done so without any mechanical devices. Every summer, the Eagle Island Maine State Historic Site welcomes approximately 6,000 new visitors.
Eagle Island was originally purchased by Admiral Peary for only $200 and was to be used as the location for his summer home. It is easy to see why. The island overlooks Casco Bay and hosts a great view of surrounding islands, and ocean scenery in every direction. The island is full of seagulls and beautiful and fragrant flowers that are native to the island. The Eagle Island State Historic Site gives visitors a true sense of what it was like to live an average day in the life of Admiral Peary in the 1900’s. Once visitors step foot on the island, the first thing that many will notice is that there are no mechanical devices anywhere on the island. While he spent much of his time in the library, his wife Josephine tended to her many gardens, many of which feature the foxglove. Many of her gardens are still tended to today by the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands.
Today, visiting this island is a great treat regardless of how interested someone is in the history of the Eagle Island Maine State Historic Site. There are many activities that can keep an entire family involved for a day. Many visitors take to beach combing, hiking, fishing, sea kayaking, or just sit on the beach or on a trail and watch the native wildlife. Eagle Island is only open from June 15 to Labor Day, which means that visitors must plan accordingly. Many visitors use their own boat to get to the island, but there are also many tour boats that travel to the island frequently.
The boat ride to the Eagle Island State Historic Site is entertaining enough to merit the trip. Visitors will pass many fantastic lighthouses, bays, forts, and other historic markers. Each of these places has a rich history, and with the right captain or tour guide, you can hear the history of all of them. There is almost always great views of ocean wildlife including seals, seabirds, and maybe even a few harbor porpoises. Make a conscious effort to try to make the trip on a clear day, because heavy fog is not uncommon in the area and the many fantastic views can be lost from both the boat ride and the island itself.