Find True Relief from Your Chronic Illness at Med Matrix in Peaks Island, ME

Med Matrix - Your Partner in Vitality

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Functional Medicine in Peaks Island, ME

Have you ever been to a primary care doctor and wondered why they focus on treating symptoms instead of addressing the root cause of your illness? Rather than take a patient-centered approach to address questions like, "Why are you ill?" they prescribe medications that alleviate symptoms but don't do much to solve the underlying issue that's causing you to be sick.

When you have a cough, you're handed a cough suppressant. When you have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, you're prescribed a pill that masks the issue. The truth is that this approach only masks symptoms and can even make them exponentially worse. Medication never treats the root cause; your body's dysfunction isn't due to a deficiency of the medication you're taking.

That begs the question: Wouldn't you prefer to deal with the underlying cause of the problem making you feel bad? At Med Matrix, we take a functional approach to medicine instead of simply treating the symptoms our patients have.

We ask questions like:

  • Why is your body making more cholesterol?
  • Why are you obese?
  • Why is your blood pressure higher than ever before?
Functional Medicine Practice Peaks Island, ME

Med Matrix: Taking a Functional Approach to Healthcare

At Med Matrix, we delve deep to uncover the fundamental reasons behind your persistent health issues, offering you a path to lasting relief. Our team consists of knowledgeable doctors and skilled functional medicine experts who create caring environments focused on patient needs. We prioritize a holistic healing approach that looks beyond symptom management and aims to uncover and solve the core causes of your conditions for sustained wellness.

Are you:

  • Fed up with prescription after prescription and the side effects that come with them?
  • Seeking clear answers to complex health issues?
  • Craving a proactive role in improving your health?
  • Looking for a supportive, compassionate healthcare team in Peaks Island?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above or cannot get relief through conventional methods, functional medicine in Peaks Island, ME, is for you.

What is Functional Medicine from Med Matrix?

The functional medicine model of care offers a patient-centered approach to managing chronic diseases. It aims to answer the question, "Why are you ill?" so that you can receive personalized and effective care tailored to your needs.

Functional medicine providers in Peaks Island, like Med Matrix, take the time to listen to you and gather your medical history. This information helps us identify the root cause(s) of the illness, including triggers such as:

  • Poor Nutrition
  • Stress
  • Allergens
  • Toxins
  • Genetics
  • Microbiome (the bacteria living in and on your body)

Once we identify the triggers, we can create a customized plan that helps you lead a healthy life. Your plan will address various aspects of your life, including physical needs such as nutrition, exercise, and sleep, as well as mental and emotional stressors related to social, work, and community life.

 Functional Medicine Meal Plan Peaks Island, ME

The Med Matrix Difference

 Functional Medicine Testing Peaks Island, ME

At our functional health center, we provide a full spectrum of services and cutting-edge technologies to support your path to optimal health. Our team is skilled in a variety of practices including functional medicine, health coaching, hormone therapy, ozone therapy, and nutrition. Unlike some clinics that prioritize profits, we use diagnostic tools such as genetic testing and comprehensive laboratory evaluations to obtain a deeper understanding of your health conditions. In short, we take the time to get to know you, your body, your needs, and your goals. That way, we can provide the most effective, longest lasting care possible.

We also introduce innovative treatments and therapies like regenerative medicine, IV nutrient therapy, detoxification programs, PEMF mat, peptides, exosomes, and more. By integrating the most effective elements of conventional and functional medicine, we offer a comprehensive approach to health care that is tailored to you - not someone with a similar body type, age, and chronic illnesses.

Our Philosophy

Med Matrix was founded on the notion that patients deserve personalized, comprehensive care and unwavering commitment. Our philosophy also includes:

Above Beyond
Going Above & Beyond

Conventional medicine primarily aims to label diseases and prescribe medications for specific symptoms. At Med Matrix, we believe in a more holistic approach. Functional medicine - our chosen path - perceives the body as a harmonious. We view it as an interconnected system rather than a mere collection of isolated organs. In essence, we treat your entire system by delving into the root causes of your symptoms rather than trying to alleviate them on their own.

Working Together
Working Together

At Med Matrix, we consider patients to be more than visitors. We believe they're valued partners on the path to optimal health. Our cohesive team of seasoned physicians, devoted nurses, and expert nutritionists has an unwavering commitment to steering every patient towards health and happiness - a state we affectionately term "Health Actualization." Our functional medicine clinic is your comprehensive destination for wellbeing, and healing that propels you toward a life full of energy and vitality.

Advanced Testing
Advanced Testing

We seamlessly blend time-honored Western medical practices with cutting-edge functional medicine diagnostics conducted within our state-of-the-art, in-house laboratory. We understand that every patient has unique health needs and goals. Our diagnostic testing helps uncover the underlying issues you're dealing with so they can be addressed effectively. We do so through individualized treatment plans and custom treatments, not generalized care. Whether your path to wellness includes supplements, botanical medicines, prescription medications, therapeutic diets, detox regimens, or stress-reduction strategies, we're dedicated to your health.

Patients First
Patients First

Our core philosophy revolves around patient-centered care. Our practitioners take the time to listen, truly understand your unique story, and make you an integral part of the discovery process. We firmly believe that there's no one-size-fits-all solution in healthcare. That's why we're dedicated to delivering the highest quality functional medicine in Peaks Island, ME. Our approach to Health Actualization isn't solely about the absence of disease; it's about fostering vitality and overall wellbeing. Together, let's collaborate to achieve your path to Health Actualization.

Functional Medicine Memberships from Med Matrix

Our functional medical memberships are designed to optimize your health and prevent diseases from interrupting your wellbeing. These 12-month memberships feature the following core components and timeline:

Advanced Testing.png

Advanced Testing

Our advanced diagnostic testing takes into account more than 100 biomarkers, which helps us identify and ultimately address the underlying problems causing you to be sick.

Functional Medicine

Functional MedicineReview

We'll set up a one-hour meeting where you'll meet with an IFM-certified provider. During this meeting, your provider will get a better sense of who you are and the goals you have for your body and overall wellness.

Healthcare Plan

Personalized Healthcare Plan

Your healthcare plan is customized to your body and your goals and can include guidance on lifestyle optimization, diet optimization, supplement optimization, and hormone optimization.

Quarterly Testing

Quarterly Testing and Review

Once a quarter, you'll meet with a health coach from Med Matrix who will check on you and where you're at with your health goals.

Other benefits of signing up for a functional medicine membership include IV vitamin credits, access to a professional health coach, and discounted pricing on stem cell therapy.

Top 6 Reasons to Consider Functional Medicine in Peaks Island, ME

One of the most popular questions we get from new patients at Med Matrix is why they should even consider functional medical services over those at conventional medical centers. We get it - if you've only known the traditional side of medicine, exploring treatment from a functional medical doctor might seem unnecessary or uncomfortable. Before you retreat back into your comfort zone, take these points into consideration.

 Functional Medicine Consults Peaks Island, ME

Comprehensive Treatment Options

Unlike conventional doctors, who must work in a narrow scope of treatment, functional medicine opens the doorway to a wealth of therapies and treatments. For instance, at Med Matrix, when a patient presents with symptoms of depression, we don't simply consider which prescription medication to prescribe.

We thoroughly assess omega-3 levels, vitamin D levels, hormones, thyroid imbalances, gut issues, and inflammatory markers. Our goal is to identify the root cause of your depression. We seek to understand WHY your depression is happening. Some common functional medicine treatment options can include the following:

  • Health Coaching
  • Lifestyle Changes
  • Diet Optimization
  • Holistic Treatments and Therapies
  • Hormone Balancing
  • IV Vitamin Therapy
  • Med Spa Services
  • Peptide Therapy
Healthcare-and-Wellness

Healthcare and Wellness Services Catered to You

Functional medicine recognizes that each person is unique, so their treatment should be personalized. We all have different genetics, upbringings, diets, stress levels, and backgrounds. As functional medicine providers, we aim to understand each patient's life story from birth and create a plan that is tailored to them. Common sense says that conversation could take some time, and you'd be correct. An initial consultation with a functional medicine provider from Med Matrix can last an hour or more. But that allows us to provide you with focused, one-on-one attention.

This approach is in stark contrast to an appointment with a primary care physician, which only lasts a few minutes and can make you feel like you're just a number. It's challenging to have a meaningful conversation and provide a comprehensive solution in such a short time. Doctors who practice functional medicine in Peaks Island, ME, often see fewer patients per day, and for good reason - they're able to devote more time and energy to you, not processing transactions.

Education-that-Empowers

Education that Empowers

The primary objective of functional medicine is to equip and empower the patient to take charge of their health and enhance their quality of life. Since you can't visit a Med Matrix doctor every day, it's important that we continue your healing process using guidance provided by your functional medicine provider.

This guidance will cover important topics relating to your individual health, and may include protocols for optimizing your diet, lifestyle, exercise, stress, and supplements intake. We couple that guidance with advanced lab testing, condition diagnosis, and medication management. We understand that can be a lot to process in one or two meetings. As such, we may recommend health coaching and other services to help.

System-Based-Treatment-Protocols

System-Based Treatment Protocols

Functional medicine believes in treating the person, not just the disease or the symptoms. Most conventional medicine models prioritize prescription medications that match up to specific symptoms. In the world of functional medicine, that's a short-sided approach. Instead, providers at Med Matrix take a systems-based approach to care.

For instance, if you're concerned about enduring too much stress, we want to know that's due to inflammation, malfunctioning adrenals, G.I. problems, or something else entirely. To find out, we check the functionality of your kidneys, heart, gut, liver, thyroid, hormones, and even your vitamin D levels. The more we know, the better understanding we have of the systems we need to address.

functional-medicine-appointment

Uncover the Root Cause

Many people struggle to find answers to their medical conditions because they are passed around from doctor to specialist and back again. This happens frequently. Numerous patients have told us that they were informed, "it's all in your head" and "your labs look normal," despite experiencing severe symptoms indicating that something was wrong.

When you come to Med Matrix for a functional medicine appointment, it's almost like you're hiring a medical detective to uncover the root cause of your symptoms. Our doctors thrive on difficult cases and won't stop investigating until a solution is uncovered.

Preventative-medicine

Cost-Effective Treatment, Long-Lasting Results

Functional medicine goes by many names, such as integrative, holistic, personalized, and preventative. Preventative medicine is the most cost-effective form of healthcare. By preventing or slowing down diseases, you can save future healthcare costs that would have been incurred if a preventative approach wasn't taken.

For instance, let's consider Type II Diabetes. Patients who visit a functional medicine provider are proactive and start addressing blood sugar concerns well before conventional medicine does. Functional medicine providers monitor blood sugar levels even before they reach conventional pre-diabetes levels. When patients are informed and educated about diet and lifestyle before the onset of a disease, much better results are achieved in disease prevention. Once someone has a diagnosis or disease, it becomes more challenging and expensive to correct.

Essential Vitamins and Minerals for Maintaining Your Health

One of the major hallmarks of functional medicine in Peaks Island, ME, is to stay healthy year-round by eating a healthy diet and exercising. While diet and exercise are crucial for wellness, many Americans don't get the necessary amounts of vitamins and nutrients in their diets. Whether you're working with a health coach or you're simply looking for diet tips, keep these important supplements in mind as you work towards a healthy life.

 Functional Medicine Treatment Center Peaks Island, ME

Two words that send shivers down the spines of every man are "erectile dysfunction." Unfortunately, when your T levels are lower than they should be, this is one of the most common symptoms that men must endure. Being unable to get it up isn't just embarrassing - it can be downright depressing and lead to issues with mental health. It's a hard topic to discuss, but a personalized TRT plan from Med Matrix can help.

Natural sources of vitamin D include:

  • Sunlight
  • Fatty Fishes
  • Dairy Products
Functional Medicine Practice Peaks Island, ME

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a crucial nutrient for supporting the immune system and overall health. In addition to its well-known role in preventing scurvy, vitamin C is essential for collagen synthesis, wound healing, and combating infections. It also acts as a powerful antioxidant, protecting cells from damage caused by free radicals. Including vitamin C-rich foods in your diet or taking supplements can help ensure that your body has an adequate supply of this vital nutrient.

Natural sources of vitamin C include:

  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Citrus Fruits
  • Cauliflower
  • Tomatoes
  • Cruciferous Veggies
 Functional Medicine Meal Plan Peaks Island, ME

Anemia is a condition that affects millions of Americans, resulting from various factors including iron deficiency, which is one of the most common national deficiencies. Iron is crucial for maintaining healthy blood. It plays a key role in supporting the production of hemoglobin, a protein found in red blood cells that is responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body.

Natural sources of iron include:

  • Seafood
  • Poultry
  • Meat
 Functional Medicine Testing Peaks Island, ME

Functional Medicine in Peaks Island, ME: A Root-Cause Focus from Med Matrix

As a catalyst in the evolution of healthcare, functional medicine adopts a holistic approach to promoting health and wellbeing. It delves into the underlying causes of diseases and aims to restore optimal bodily function through a personalized and patient-centric approach. This approach complements conventional medicine and serves as a crucial partner in the overall healthcare landscape.

If you're sick and tired of relying on traditional models that push pills and prescriptions down your throat, it's time to make a change. At Med Matrix, we look beyond symptom management. We're focused on being proactive, not reactive. Our doctors of functional medicine are trained and fully equipped to help you reimagine what it's like to live a happy, healthy life.

If you're ready to take the first step toward true wellbeing, we're here to help. Contact our office today to learn more about our comprehensive functional medicine program.

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Latest News in Peaks Island, ME

Crews busy working to clean up devastating storm damage on Peaks Island

Community members are dealing with washed-out roads and the destruction of several landmarks after record flooding impacted Maine's coastal towns and cities.More VideosPORTLAND, Maine — Portland Department of Public Works crews were busy from Saturday to Tuesday on Peaks Island, working to clean up from Saturday's devastating wind and rain storm which brought flooding and and washed out roads to coastal communities throughout th...

Community members are dealing with washed-out roads and the destruction of several landmarks after record flooding impacted Maine's coastal towns and cities.

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PORTLAND, Maine — Portland Department of Public Works crews were busy from Saturday to Tuesday on Peaks Island, working to clean up from Saturday's devastating wind and rain storm which brought flooding and and washed out roads to coastal communities throughout the state.

Work slowed Tuesday afternoon during a snow episode, with Portland Public Works Supervisor Marty Mulkern picking up recycling for Peaks Island residents.

"There is still some road work we need to do," Mulkern said.

Mulkern brought NEWS CENTER Maine to Seashore Avenue, the road that runs along the coastline on the east end of Peaks Island. The winds from Saturday's storm came from the east, so that's where the brunt of the waves crashed into homes and the sea wall, which turned into a pile of rocks seemingly within minutes.

"The water has the ability to move the rocks like this and your little golf cart... you're going to end up on the other side of the road," Mulkern said. He showed us a video where large rocks, sometimes three to four feet large, in the middle of the road and into bushes on people's property.

"Obviously people are devastated by the storm but people will recover," Mulkern said. "The islanders have been outstanding supporting us and we were back-to-back... we will be back after all this [snow] stops."

A historical tourist sight on the east end of Peaks is Whaleback Rock, which had the "head" of the whale split off by the storm. The rock, which is around a hundred feet long, stretches from the sea wall to the water, mimicking a whale.

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"It was a crazy storm, it was a lot of damage," Nikolai Moxay said. He was walking along the washed-out Seashore Avenue with Simone Durane.

"I thought this might happen for some time but I guess in the storm it got cracked and pushed over... that's been here for a long time and it looks totally different now," Durane said.

The City of Portland said it is still working to estimate the true financial extent of damages from Saturday's storm, and said it hopes to have one by Jan. 22.

For the latest breaking news, weather, and traffic alerts, download the NEWS CENTER Maine mobile app.

This Maine veterinarian still makes house calls. Because her clients live on islands in Casco Bay, she comes by boat.

SHAREAnyone who lives on the islands of Casco Bay knows that securing the most basic of amenities can be challenging. Caring for pets, depending on the animal, can be even harder.That’s where Dr. Kate Domenico comes in.Domenico works as a clinician at Portland Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Care, but she also runs Island Veterinary Service, conducting house calls for pets on the islands of the bay.“It bridges my two passions: Veterinary medicine and being on the water,” she said on a recent t...

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Anyone who lives on the islands of Casco Bay knows that securing the most basic of amenities can be challenging. Caring for pets, depending on the animal, can be even harder.

That’s where Dr. Kate Domenico comes in.

Domenico works as a clinician at Portland Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Care, but she also runs Island Veterinary Service, conducting house calls for pets on the islands of the bay.

“It bridges my two passions: Veterinary medicine and being on the water,” she said on a recent trip Thursday, Aug. 3.

Twice a week, weather permitting, Domenico goes down to Aspasia Marina in South Portland hops on the Rita Joan -- her 27-foot converted lobster fishing boat -- and ventures into the bay. Pet owners meet her on the docks of islands for everything from basic exams and vaccinations to diagnosing and treating more serious ailments.

Dr. Kate Domenico, owner of Island Veterinary Services, secures a line on her converted lobster boat at the dock at Peaks Island Thursday. (Spectrum News/Sean Murphy)

“We can do pretty much anything a brick-and-mortar clinic can do except surgery,” said Elspeth Pennel, one of two vet techs that usually join Domenico on her trips.

Domenico, a Chicago native, spent much of her childhood with her parents on sailboats on Lake Michigan. She came to Maine nine years ago, and heard about Island Veterinary Service, which had been run by Dr. John Flood for more than 10 years.

“Somebody told me somebody was going around to all the islands, and I said, ‘I’m going to do that,’” she recalled.

So she did, joining Flood three years ago. When Flood retired in 2022, Domenico took over the business. It was already doing well, fueled almost entirely by word of mouth, but since taking over she has added a strong social media presence, which has given the business a boost.

Domenico estimated having as many as 250 different animal patients throughout the bay, enough to keep her busy just about year-round.

A typical day can involve trips to as many as six different islands, with multiple pets lining up on the docks to see her.

Elspeth Pennel, center, a vet tech with Island Veterinary Service, feeds a treat to Harley, a four-year-old Greaer Swiss Mountain Dog, while his owners, Mark Fazio, right, and Karen Fazio, left, help maneuver him onto a scale for weighing on the dock of Great Diamond Island. (Spectrum News/Sean Murphy)

On Thursday, there was a light schedule: Two island stops to see three different pet owners and their animals.

First, Domenico and Pennel ventured to Great Diamond Island. They pulled a large, battery-powered dog scale from the boat and placed it right on the dock as they greeted Harley, a four-year-old Greater Swiss Mountain Dog.

Harley’s owners, Mark and Karen Fazio, who live in the Philadelphia suburbs and summer on the island, helped maneuver the good-natured giant onto the scale, which indicated roughly 168 pounds. Mark Fazio said the size of the dog alone makes the value of Domenico’s service obvious.

“It would be planes, trains and automobiles trying to get him to the mainland,” he said.

His wife agreed: “This was a 10-minute walk, as opposed to a 20-minute ferry ride.”

This wasn’t a routine visit for Harley. The Fazios recently found a large lump under the skin of his neck, roughly the size of a tennis ball. Mark Fazio said a previous pet had gone through a long and painful illness before passing away, which had been gut-wrenching for the couple. When he saw the lump, he said, he feared the worst.

“I thought, ‘Here we go again,’” he said.

Happily, after a short exam, it was clear Harley was not suffering from anything so dire. Domenico diagnosed it as an abscess, most likely caused by an infection from the bite of a playmate.

Dr. Kate Domenico, owner of Island Veterinary Service, treats Strawberry, a a five-year-old Buff Orpington chicken, on the deck of her converted lobster boat while docked at Peaks Island Thursday. Domenico performs house calls for island-based animals twice a week. Here, vet tech Elspeth Pennel, right, and Abbott Kelley, 11, the bird's owner, center, keep her calm. (Spectrum News/Sean Murphy)

When asked if she was relieved to hear the news, Karen Fazio said, “You have no idea.”

After draining and cleaning the wound, Domenico gave the Fazios a prescription for antibiotics to fill on the mainland, and she was on her way.

Next, Domenico traveled to Peaks Island to meet “Strawberry,” a five-year-old Buff Orpington chicken. The bird’s owners, year-round island residents Scott Kelley, 60, and his son, Abbott, 11, brought Strawberry down to the dock for a case of bumblefoot, essentially an infected wound on the chicken’s foot.

While Abbott Kelley held Strawberry still, Domenico cleaned and dressed the wound, remarking, “I’ve never bandaged a chicken foot before. This is new.”

While Domenico worked, Scott Kelley said the family keeps several chickens, along with a rabbit, a dog and even a lizard. He said he’s grateful that Domenico’s service comes to them.

“Going into town, everything’s harder,” he said, then corrected, “Going into town makes everything harder.”

Scott Kelley said he can’t imagine trying to wrangle animals of any kind across the bay.

“Going anywhere, doing anything, is just,” he said, trailing off and shaking his head.

Finally, summer resident Pat Hughes, 67, brought a cat carrier onto the boat bearing “Leo” and “Marsha,” two one-year-old cats of unknown breed. Both received an annual checkup and rabies vaccine.

“It’s so convenient to walk down to the dock,” Hughes said.

Both cats’ treatments didn’t take long, and after processing more electronic payments for her services, Domenico was off back to South Portland. She said this was a light but good day, while Pennel, who used to live on Peaks Island, said she loves getting the chance to return.

“I guess the island communities always have a special place in my heart,” she said.

Island life in Maine: Fine dining, fog, and ferries

CASCO BAY, Maine — The omnipresent fog didn’t bring me down. It made my experience on the Casco Bay islands more authentic. I was here to explore the cluster of islands just minutes from downtown Portland. Even when the fog grew thicker than coagulated clam chowder, I forced a smile while straining to see through the mist and gloom.Maine, the way fog should be.But my smile melted away when the torrential rains began. On my first day here, I kayaked from Portland to Fort Gorges, an imposing Civil War-era granite cita...

CASCO BAY, Maine — The omnipresent fog didn’t bring me down. It made my experience on the Casco Bay islands more authentic. I was here to explore the cluster of islands just minutes from downtown Portland. Even when the fog grew thicker than coagulated clam chowder, I forced a smile while straining to see through the mist and gloom.

Maine, the way fog should be.

But my smile melted away when the torrential rains began. On my first day here, I kayaked from Portland to Fort Gorges, an imposing Civil War-era granite citadel perched on Hog Island Ledge in the middle of the bay. The fort, which was constructed during the Civil War but never saw battle, is on the National Register of Historic Places and open to visitors. By the time my kayak tour group came upon the 19th-century fort, thunder clapped in the distance. We were mere feet away from the fort — at least I think we were, I couldn’t tell in the fog — and were told to turn back.

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That may not sound like a ringing endorsement, but despite the inclement weather, the Casco Bay islands are unique. You can take the Casco Bay Lines ferry from Portland to six islands and find yourself transported from the hip downtown restaurants to petite family-run lobster shacks and remote nature trails in minutes, all for around $10 round trip. You can bring your car on some routes, but I managed fine without one.

The islands are rustic, rural, and incredibly peaceful after the ferries full of day-trippers have finished their routes. Long before I saw the weather forecast, I planned to visit three islands, specifically those with grand old hotels: Chebeague Island, Peaks Island, and Great Diamond Island.

Chebeague Island

Chebeague (pronounced sha-big) is geographically the largest of the islands not connected to the mainland by a bridge. It’s just over 3 miles long and has a lovely grand dame hotel, the Chebeague Island Inn, a golf course, and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it town center.

The inn is located on a hill overlooking the ocean. It faces west, and I was told it has a gorgeous view of the sunset from the wraparound porch. I had to use my imagination to picture the sun painting the evening sky with swaths of orange and pink. I’d never stayed in a hotel room that was truly boho chic before Chebeague Inn, but this was the real deal. My room was painted all white, even the old wood floors were white. Contrast that with modern art adorning the walls and a Queen Anne chair with dramatic seashell upholstery and you get the vibe. Think of it as a Maine island hotel by way of Soho. Rates during the summer hover at $269 a night. If you don’t stay over, you can still grab dinner at the inn and easily see the island in less than a day.

The inn has the best restaurant on the island. Lobster would have been the most logical dish to order. It comes directly from the nearby dock. But I spotted a delicacy called pollack schnitzel on the menu. I always feel compelled to order anything made with brown butter emulsion. Unlike it’s porcine cousin, the pollock schnitzel felt far healthier as it tenderly flaked under my fork. If you stay at the inn overnight, the blueberry pancakes are a necessity. Don’t even pretend you want yogurt, just get the pancakes.

It rained through dinner, but the following morning, the fog appeared to be burning off. After pancakes, I optimistically grabbed one of the hotel’s bikes and pedaled before the precipitation had a chance to return. I rode through an incredibly quaint downtown and continued to a handful of tiny (and deserted) beaches. There are beaches on the Casco Bay islands, some quite nice, but if you’re planning an extended beach vacation, I would likely stick to the large sandy beaches south of Portland. I found the islands best for hiking, relaxing, and eating. Not necessarily in that order.

I opted for a self-directed hike to the scenic rocks at Deer Point to finish off my time here. It was the perfect place to eat my sandwich from Doughty’s Island Market.

PEAKS ISLAND

As my ferry approached Peaks Island, I thought I saw sun, but it was difficult to tell through the orange haze of the Canadian wildfire smoke. But there was no rain (hurrah!), and I was ready to explore. The ferry ride to Peaks Island, which is approximately 15 minutes, will set you back $7.70 round trip from Portland. The island is a metropolis compared to Chebeague. There are a few art galleries, a handful of restaurants and shops, the inn, and, most importantly, Down Front, an ice cream shop that has heavenly moose tracks ice cream.

As I learned from my ill-fated kayaking voyage to Fort Gorges, Casco Bay was once a hotbed of military activity. The 5th Maine Museum was built as a social hall by the veterans of a local volunteer Civil War Regiment. It now houses a museum that looks at the history of Peaks Island, plus the Civil War and the island’s role in WWII. There’s more war history at Battery Steele, a concrete structure that was used as a coastal gun battery during World War II. It’s now empty and the long, dark interior rooms are covered in graffiti. It’s the kind of place where you might see Leatherface and his family staying for a respite between chainsaw murders. Bring a flashlight if you decide you want to do some creepy exploring.

I skipped Battery Steele because I was more interested in trying the local seafood than getting murdered. The Island Lobster Company is a “trap-to-table” restaurant with staples such as lobster rolls and whoopie pies. When I arrived for a late lunch, there was casual day drinking and fried food all around me. I was craving a clam roll, and it arrived in a perfectly toasted golden bun with a small mountain of crisp fried clams. I returned to collapse in my room at the Inn on Peaks Island.

The Inn on Peaks Island has eight suites, so unlike the 41-room Chebeague Island Inn, it tends to book quickly. The largest suite sleeps 16 (that’s not a typo), and goes for about $1,000 a night during summer. I choose the lovely Chebeague Island Suite, which sleeps two for $350 a night. I’m normally not a TripAdvisor kind of guy, but I opted for the number one restaurant on the island (that’s out of three eateries), the Cockeyed Gull. I was expecting another fried seafood clam shack, but the Inebriated Gull, as I renamed it, has a menu with dishes such as jerk chicken bites, cheesesteak, and almond-encrusted haddock. There’s also a beautiful terrace outside. I opted for inside, as the rain and fog decided it wasn’t done with me.

As with all the bay islands, there are a finite number of activities. On Peaks Island, you can locate most offerings as soon as you disembark the ferry. One of those activities is the kookiest place I’ve ever seen, which is really saying something. The Umbrella Cover Museum which pays homage to the sleeves that cover umbrellas, holds the Guinness Book of World Records title for the largest collection of umbrella covers in the world. There are more than 2,000.

The star of the museum is Nancy 3. Hoffman. Yes, her middle name is the numeral 3. She finds any excuse to bust out her accordion and start singing the museum’s two theme songs, because every museum should have two theme songs. If you ask nicely, she’ll play selections from her CD of umbrella-related songs. I immediately asked for Rihanna’s “Umbrella,” which she does not know. I asked for the Carpenters’ “Rainy Days and Mondays,” but she didn’t have it memorized. Instead she sang the love theme from the 1964 film “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” with lyrics that she created herself. I decided my time on Peaks Island was over, primarily because I was afraid that Hoffman might track me down and start playing her accordion again.

GREAT DIAMOND ISLAND

As my island adventures were nearing an end, the sun decided to pay a visit. I ended on Great Diamond Island, which offers little in the way of commercial activities, but much in the way of relaxation. There are no cars, with the exception of a few commercial vehicles. People traverse the island by golf cart. It’s dominated by brick barracks that were once home to Fort McKinley, a base constructed to defend Portland Harbor during the Spanish-American War. There is a museum where you can learn more about the island’s military past.

The brick barracks, constructed at the turn of the last century, are now condos that overlook a charming town common. These long brick structures and their surrounding grounds are private, and there are signs on every corner to remind you. The luxurious Inn at Diamond Cove also served as a military barracks.

I’d describe the Inn at Diamond Cove as more of a retreat or resort than an inn because of its peaceful surroundings and remote nature. The price also reflected its posh nature. Summer rates flirt with $450 night. I’d recommend spring or fall, which runs a more reasonable $250 a night. But remember, you can day trip to any of the islands. In the case of Great Diamond Island, take the ferry to Diamond Cove, and you can easily cover the entire island in less than a day.

I opted to use my time to sit by the pool at the inn, which I considered work because I needed to make sure it was suitable for readers. My verdict is that it was more than suitable. But with the sun blazing, I had time to hike and linger on the beaches. Diamond Cove beaches are dominated by pebbles, but they’re tucked away. You can bring a beach chair or towel and watch the boats buzz through the bay. After a week of fog, I took this as my reward. I decided the Fort McKinley Museum could wait, at least until the fog found me again or Nancy 3. Hoffman showed up with her accordion.

These 13 Unique Attractions In Maine Are An Absolute Must-Visit

In addition to beautiful landscapes and lovely people, Maine is home to some of the strangest attractions in New England. From deserts in the middle of nowhere to more than one larger-than-life monument, the state will give you a dose of strangeness you didn’t know you needed. Once you’ve checked off the ones on this list, you can return to your regularly scheduled appreciation of our state’s coastal and inland beauty. Here ...

In addition to beautiful landscapes and lovely people, Maine is home to some of the strangest attractions in New England. From deserts in the middle of nowhere to more than one larger-than-life monument, the state will give you a dose of strangeness you didn’t know you needed. Once you’ve checked off the ones on this list, you can return to your regularly scheduled appreciation of our state’s coastal and inland beauty. Here are some of the most unique places to visit in Maine.

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Watch this cool YouTube video by Sky Travel highlighting some of the best places to visit in Maine.

What are your favorite unique places to visit in Maine? Share it with us in the comments section below. Also, be sure to check out some of these unique things to do in Maine.

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Melissa M. | July 14, 2022

What are some must-see attractions in Maine?

Aside from the unusual attractions mentioned above, there are numerous natural attractions in Maine that are worth seeing in person. Take in the views of the Bay of Fundy with its towering cliffs. And then there’s Vaughan Woods which is like a fairy tale forest complete with waterfalls and a stone bridge. There are so many magnificent places to see in Maine, and here are some more that we recommend:

Check out this previous article to read more about these must-see attractions in Maine.

What are some of the most unique things to do in Maine?

Maine is a fairly large state best explored on a day trip. Maybe you’re in the market for some unique day trips in Maine and we have you covered! Spend some time on Peaks Island, explore the charming town of Bath, or take a drive to view some of the state’s most majestic lighthouses … the possibilities are endless! Want more? Here’s an article featuring some unusual things to do in Maine.

What are some of the most unique places to spend the night in Maine?

A unique state like Maine certainly has plenty of one-of-a-kind accommodations. Some of the most unique places to stay in Maine include a houseboat in Georgetown, a lighthouse in North Haven, and camping yurts in Millinocket.

Related Articles

Meet the Milkweed Man on a Quest to Help Monarch Butterflies

Steve Bushey’s passion for the humble weed is spurred by a love of native ecology.Before dawn on an October morning, a thick fog wends its way down the many trails of Maine’s Peaks Island, coating the trees and fields in a gray blanket. A man makes his way along the trails, peering through the mist to admire the gardens kept by the thousand or so year-round residents. You might think that he is just an early riser on a casual walk, but Steve Bushey is on the hunt for milkweed seed pods of the common milkweed (asclepias ...

Steve Bushey’s passion for the humble weed is spurred by a love of native ecology.

Before dawn on an October morning, a thick fog wends its way down the many trails of Maine’s Peaks Island, coating the trees and fields in a gray blanket. A man makes his way along the trails, peering through the mist to admire the gardens kept by the thousand or so year-round residents. You might think that he is just an early riser on a casual walk, but Steve Bushey is on the hunt for milkweed seed pods of the common milkweed (asclepias syriaca), and he knows just where to find them.

Bushey and his wife, Angela Faeth, moved to Peaks Island more than 20 years ago. From their home, they run a map company that focuses on outdoor activities and documenting trails. As soon as he joined the small community, Bushey became the de facto trail guru for the many paths covering the island’s 750 acres in Casco Bay. In managing the trails, Bushey found himself focusing on the trees and bushes that grew alongside as much as the paths themselves. Peaks Island, along with the rest of the state, struggles with invasive bittersweet, honeysuckle and Norwegian Spruce.

That was the beginning of Bushey’s fascination with native and invasive plant species in Maine. He studied how they grew and ways to disrupt the growth cycle of the invasive plants to allow native species to thrive again. Then one day, he watched a documentary on the migration of the monarch butterfly.

At first, he did not connect the needs of monarch butterflies and their 2,500-mile migration to his work on Peaks Island. The monarchs’ travel takes them from the northern US and Canada to their breeding grounds in Mexico, and the trip spans generations of butterflies. They rely exclusively on milkweed plants to sustain their migration and feed each generation of monarch caterpillars. There are 73 varieties of milkweed growing in the United States, more than 30 of which are hosts for the monarch butterfly and its caterpillars. It contains a chemical compound called cardenolide, which is toxic to most would-be predators. This provides the caterpillars safety from being eaten, and it remains in the bodies of butterflies after they transform.

A monarch caterpillar (left) and butterfly (right). (Photos courtesy of Steve Bushey)

The population of monarch butterflies has declined by more than 90 percent since the 1990s. This is partially due to logging in their overwintering grounds in Mexico and severe weather during their migration. But studies suggest that a downturn in the nation’s milkweed supply has been the leading cause of the dramatic decline in the monarch butterfly population.

The toxin of the milkweed makes the plant incompatible with fields hosting grazing cattle or intended for hay, and milkweed is renowned for aggressive growth that chokes out field grasses. This makes it a natural enemy of many farmers, who deploy herbicide sprays to eradicate the plant.

Fascinated by monarchs, Bushey thought about going to Mexico to see the butterflies in their breeding grounds. Then he realized he could help them on their journey from his backyard in Maine. “I flipped it around, and I thought it has to be a terrible journey trying to work your way down the East Coast through all those urban areas.”

“I had a lot of conversations with people on the island,” says Bushey. “I became an advocate for the bees and the butterflies. I became an advocate for encouraging people not to pull up the milkweed and to plant native flowers.”

Bushey was immediately impressed with the resilience of the milkweed plant. “Milkweed is an aggressive native grower,” he says, admiring how it can appear in disturbed areas of soil and how one seed can give rise to a plant that, through rhizomes, spreads into an entire cluster.

With his experience in mapmaking, Bushey recognized that he could help the monarch butterflies from home through propagation of the milkweed plant. He started to track where milkweed was growing on Peaks Island. “On my morning walks, I began mapping the locations of all the milkweed patches I could find,” he says. “I spent three or four weeks doing these long walks, poking around corners and talking to people in their yards.” Using GPS mapping technology, Bushey came up with more than 60 locations of milkweed patches on the island. And he noticed something interesting: “There were not many wild locations where milkweed was growing. Most locations were in gardens.”

Steve Bushey with a milkweed plant. (Photo: Sarah Bryant)

Bushey was determined to expand the milkweed options for weary butterflies, and so as the monarchs began their fall migration and the milkweed went to seed, he turned from mapmaking to seed saving.

“People would pick their milkweed pods and hand them to me in brown paper bags,” he says. “I had one woman stop me in the middle of the street to hand me a bag from her car window into mine—it probably looked like a drug deal, but I was just receiving pods.” Bushey ended up receiving hundreds of pods.

Milkweed seeds are dried and stratified within their pods in the natural temperatures of a Maine winter, which helps the vitality of the seed. The seeds take five to six weeks to dry, and they can be laid out on screens or strung between rafters in a barn or shed, leaving plenty of room for air flow around the pods and allowing for the temperatures to drop naturally. Eventually, the pods begin to crack open, releasing their seeds. At this point, the seeds can be removed from their “parachutes”—the soft white fluff that allows them to blow and spread on the wind.

Bushey sees seed pod gathering as an opportunity to foster community and intergenerational connection. “You can go outdoors and watch milkweed grow,” he says. “Watch the caterpillars, then the chrysalis, and at some point the butterfly comes out, and then you can start collecting the seed pods. Keep it within your community—so learn where to find the seeds, talk with people, get people to give you seed pods.” After the seeds are collected, the fun starts. “You can have seed parties, which can be messy but are great fun for kids. Then you can all make packages. It’s a lot of handwork—you can’t make money at this, but it builds friendships and a bond between the older generation and the youngest.”

Milkweed plants (left) and Bushey’s seed packets. (Photos courtesy of Steve Bushey)

Bushey did not just dry, store and spread seeds for himself. To encourage milkweed growth across Peaks Island and the state of Maine, he started selling packets of milkweed seed. He took homemade seed packages to his local garden center where they set a display up at the register, and he shared the packets with anyone interested in growing milkweed. Before long, many of the gardeners of Peaks Island had started milkweed in their seedling trays.

For residents of New England, Bushey is happy to share milkweed seeds for pollinator gardens. Just reach out through the email contact at MapAdventures.com, he says, and he’ll put a packet of seeds in the mail for you. He prefers to keep his seed packages within New England so as not to introduce common milkweed to areas where it is not native, and he recommends researching on which variety native of milkweed monarchs feed in other regions.

Now the milkweed man of Peaks Island, Steve Bushey’s vision for the life-giving weed goes much further than Casco Bay. He imagines a world where milkweed is no longer seen as a weed but as a favored flower and connection point between generations of gardeners and seed collectors.

“The monarchs’ journey is a multi-generational journey,” he says. “They die along the way and they have to lay their eggs and hatch butterflies, and it’s the next generation that makes it to Mexico. Imagine three generations of humanity sitting around a table talking, helping another species on their multi-generational trip.”

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