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News, events, and musings from the Pilgrim’s Inn

Summer's Bounty

Visiting the Deer Isle or Stonington farmers market at this particular point in August takes me back to my childhood when a trip to the beach, or a day on the waters of New England were followed by a stop at a farm stand, where we loaded up with plump tomatoes and sweet corn.  At the often un-attended small shack on the side of the road, we felt privileged the owners trusted us to leave the correct amount of money, so we were always sure to count it out carefully.

Coated in sand and salt and glowing with the effects of the sun, we'd take our bounty home where my mother would serve the tomatoes with a pinch of both sugar and salt, and dinner would offer that perfect combination of fresh corn, sliced tomatoes, and boiled new potatoes with butter. For me, those wonderful vegetables were the stars of the meal, and the meat or fish was the accompaniment.  If blueberries were still lingering, then homemade blueberry pie would complete the experience.  This was back in the day when August was lazy and relaxed, and excessive use of sunscreen, or the dread of returning to school before September didn't exist.

I can't imagine a life without these experiences, which is why Deer Isle and this particular neck of the Maine coast are so wonderful and unique within the context of our busy, complicated world. We are blessed with many organic farms and farmers markets, and you'll still find those un-attended farm stands that bring out the best in us.  That intoxicating combination of salt air, a day on the water, late summer sun, and earthy vegetables, is something every child should have in their memory bank. 

The Deer Isle farmer's market takes place every Wednesday starting at 9:30AM, and the Stonington market is Fridays at 10AM. For a day at the beach or on the water, Sand Beach in Stonington, and Old Quarry Ocean Adventures for a kayaking trip are good bets. -- Tina Oddleifson

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posted by Your Innkeepers @ 5:29 PM   0 Comments

Places to visit in Maine: Belfast to Deer Isle

Maine is a very big state with a lot to offer, leaving many people wondering -- what are the best places to visit? If you're like most people, you've heard of well known places on the Maine coast like Camden and Bar Harbor.  But it's the off the beaten path locations, tucked between these larger spots, where the true gems are found.

If you want a truly authentic Maine experience, then our recommendation is to plan a trip starting in Belfast, ME,  then moving on to the Blue Hill Peninsula, and saving the best for last with a visit to Deer Isle, ME  and a stay at Pilgrims Inn.  If you are coming from the North, back down the coast, then just reverse the trip.

It is in these places where you'll find the best opportunities to experience, "the way life should be."  From scenic drives along the beautiful coastline and visiting shops and galleries, to adventurous activities like kayaking, hiking, sailing or even lobstering, you'll find things to do for everyone in your group.  You can make this trip as short or as long as you like, but we recommend at least three days to enjoy these places to visit without spending a lot of time in the car.

Belfast, Searsport & Bucksport

 Belfast, ME is a funky artists community with a hip vibe similar to Portland, and offers many locally owned shops and galleries.   The food scene is creative and Belfast is a good base for exploring the surrounding towns of Searsport and Bucksport as you head up the coast.

For luxury lodging we recommend a fellow Select Registry member, the Belfast Bay Inn.  For breakfast or lunch we think the vegetarian restaurant Chase's Daily is a great pick, or the Belfast Food Coop for eat in or take-out , especially if you are planning a picnic for later in the day.   For a great lobster pound experience, you must go to Young's Lobster Pound off of route 1 in Belfast, at 4 Mitchell St.

Spend your day strolling the streets of Belfast and visiting its many shops, galleries, historic areas, town parks and the Belfast Harbor Walk on the waterfront.  Information on self guided walking tours and seasonal special events can be found through the Belfast Chamber of Commerce on Main St.

In the nearby town of Searsport, we recommend a trip to the Sears Island Preserve, the largest uninhabited island on the East Coast.  Miles of hiking, biking and quiet coastline offer numerous activities and is a great way to spend a nice day.  Farther down the road in Bucksport,  a trip to the observation tower on the Penobscot Narrows Bridge is a must.  The bridge boasts the highest bridge observatory in the world! Also in Bucksport, a visit to "America's first Fort Knox" is worth the trip to this historic site, which acted as a fortification during battles with the British.  Visit the Friends of Fort Knox site for more information.

Castine and Blue Hill

Past Bucksport on Route 1, take a right on Route 166 and follow into the town of Castine.  Pentagoet Inn.  For lunch, check out Markels Bakehouse tucked away off of Water street.  For dinner, the deck at Dennetts Wharf is perfect for the raw oysters, lobster and scenery, or for something finer, dinner at the Pentagoet Inn is a treat.  While in Castine, stroll around town and be sure to take a peak at the large training vessel at the Maine Maritime Academy, if it's in port.  A visit to the Castine Historical Society is a good place to learn about the area. We also recommend a sail with Guild Dive Cruises to explore this pretty harbor.
This gracious town with Georgian and Federalist houses and Elm tree-lined streets has a different feel than some of the more rugged fishing communities along the Maine coast.  Home to the Maine Maritime Academy, and steeped in history, Castine is a good place to spend the day.  If you're staying the night, we recommend fellow Select Registry member the

Before heading over to Deer Isle, a trip across the peninsula to Blue Hill is worth the trip.  This scenic town has cute shops and galleries on its pretty main street.  Our favorite activity is a hike up Blue Hill Mountain, which will reward you with beautiful views towards Acadia National Park.  If you decide to stay, the Blue Hill Inn is another Select Registry gem and dinner at Arborvine for a fine dining meal, or something more casual at its companion Deep Water Brew Pub is a good bet.  For something fun, we recommend a boiled lobster at the Boat Yard Grill, which is located inside a boat yard, with views of the water.

As you head toward Deer Isle to finish your adventure, we recommend traveling down the peninsula via Route 175 through the towns of Brooklin and Sedgwick.  It's a beautiful coastal drive that you won't forget.  Head over the Deer Isle bridge across Eggemoggin Reach in Penobscot Bay and you'll find our beautiful island and the Pilgrim's Inn awaiting you with beautifully appointed rooms and delicious food.

Deer Isle is rugged and beautiful and one of the best places to visit to experience the beauty of the Maine coast.  Offering some of the best kayaking on the Atlantic coast,  beautiful hiking trails, world class sailing, and dozens of art galleries, we have it all.

 In the town of Stonington, ME located a few miles south from the Inn on the Island is the most productive lobster port in all of Maine.  So if you like lobster, you won't find any better than on our island!  For specifics, please visit our Things to Do page.  Our Inn offers the very best of local dining at our restaurant, the Whale's Rib Tavern

If you're looking for places to visit in Maine, your plans must include this beautiful section of coastal Maine if you are to really experience  this part of New England.  We look forward to welcoming you to this gem of the coast.

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posted by Your Innkeepers @ 7:55 PM   0 Comments

Planning Your Spring Getaway to Coastal Maine

While warm weather may seem a long way off, it's never too early to dream about your coastal Maine vacation, including a stay at historic Pilgrim's Inn on Deer Isle, offering the very best of food and Maine coastal lodging.

While summer is undoubtedly beautiful on the coast of Maine, we think the best times to visit are the shoulder seasons in the spring and fall.  Your experience in the off-season will be more relaxed, with more opportunities to meet and learn from the people who live life off the beaten path.  Our early season at Pilgrim's Inn is May 15 - June 25th and is one of the best times to visit Deer Isle.  The weather is fine and the crowds of tourists have not yet arrived.  You'll also find the very best rates of our entire season during this time period with numerous special offers on top of our already low spring rates.

Deer Isle is a magical place where balsam scented forests give way to beautiful views of the rocky coast and everyday life is simple and relaxed. Spend your day soaking in the sun as you picnic on the warm rocks of a secluded beach, or sail on a schooner in the clear blue waters of Penobscot Bay in the Gulf of Maine.  Take a ferry ride to Isle au Haut, a secluded part of Acadia National Park, and spend the day biking or hiking this scenic gem; or kayak the waters of the Stonington Archipelago, long considered some of the best kayaking on the Atlantic seaboard.

Explore the inlets, tidal pools, forests and villages of the island archipelago and peninsula that inspired authors, photographers, painters, musicians, and architects like Robert McCloskey,  E.B. White,  Elliot and Fairfield Porter, Dan Fogelberg, and Buckminster Fuller.  Or spend a day visiting our numerous art galleries and studios where fine art and beautiful crafts express the creativity of our island community, and offer the chance to take a unique treasure home with you. 

Take a trip on Maine lobster boat, pull lobster traps from the ocean floor and learn about a unique way of life, sustained by the bounty of our local waters.

After your day of adventure come home to our relaxing and beautiful bed and breakfast accommodations at Pilgrim's Inn. Our rooms are all unique and feature comfortable beds and fine quality amenities. Our restaurant, the Whale's Rib Tavern, offers the very best of American cuisine featuring local seafood, and fresh farm produce from our area organic farms.  You will of course find our world famous lobster on the menu, plus an excellent selection of wines, a full bar and Maine micro-brews to pair with your meal.  Our cozy bar is a wonderful place to relax with a beverage or eat a meal in a more casual environment.  Chances are you'll strike up a conversation with a local fisherman, artist or one of the many well known authors who frequent our pub.

Our Fall season starts right after Labor Day, on Tuesday, September 8th, when the seasonal rates will be reduced from our busy season and periodic specials will be posted weekly.  As you may know, the Fall is when New England is at its very best.   Warm days and cool nights characterize this time of year, but it is the colors that really make this season special.  Not only the obvious and beautiful colors of the changing leaves, but there is something about the light that takes on a mystical quality, highlighting the warm sienna's, cranberry reds and vivid blues.

Spring & Fall Pilgrim's Inn Specials
  • Our first weekend of the season celebrates the spring bird migration with our annual island
    event, "Wings, Waves & Woods"  This special weekend offers opportunities to view the migration on boats and guided walks with national birding experts.    The event also celebrates nature with gallery openings and special workshops.  When you participate in this special event you'll receive 15% off your room rate.
  • If you are able to travel mid-week, then take advantage of our "stay two nights get your third night free" special.  If one of your three nights includes a Tuesday, anytime from May 15 - June 25, 2015 then you will receive a free night at the Inn!  This special re-appears for our Fall season starting September 21st.
  • Take advantage of our half price rates and help a worthy cause when you use our "Hospitality for Habitat" special from May 15 - May 21st.  During this time period all of our rooms are available at half their posted rate in exchange for a $35 check to Habitat for Humanity.  This annual special event is part of a state wide program sponsored by the Maine Innkeepers Association.
  • If you love lighthouses, then stay at Pilgrim's Inn the weekend of September 12th for Maine's Open Lighthouse Day and receive 15% off your room rate.  You'll have a chance to visit lighthouses in our area that are normally not open to the public.  You'll receive a special stamp in your lighthouse "passport" for every lighthouse you visit.
  • And finally, if you are a resident of Maine then we have a special discount just for you.  You'll receive 20% off your room rate between May 15 and June 14, and again starting  September 21st.

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posted by Your Innkeepers @ 7:18 PM   0 Comments

Hiking the Trails of Coastal Maine

Maine's Acadia National Park was dubbed "America's favorite park" this year by USA Today, and "America's favorite place" by Good Morning America.  And while a trip to this beautiful national park is always a highly recommended day trip from Pilgrim's Inn, Deer Isle is blessed with a similar landscape and beautiful hiking trails, making it the perfect place for your coastal Maine vacation. Balsam forests, quiet coves and panoramic views can be found right here on the island, offering visitors the chance to decompress and walk at a slower pace, without fighting traffic to get there.  Combine this natural beauty with a stay at Pilgrim's Inn, offering the very best in Maine coastal lodging, and you have the perfect Maine vacation package.

Barred Island Preserve

Our most favorite hike on Deer Isle is the Barred Island Preserve, owned by The Nature Conservancy and managed by Island Heritage Trust.  The hike is two miles round trip and takes approximately a half hour to forty five minutes each way depending on your pace, with ample opportunities to stop and admire nature's handiwork.  New signage and an educational brochure make it a great trip for families wanting to introduce children to hiking and nature exploration.  The preserve also has a "letterbox" which is a treasure hunt style outdoor quest involving navigational skills and is fun for both kids and adults.  Because of the environmental sensitivity of this preserve, dogs are not allowed so please respect the rules.

While the trail to Barred Island is easy, it has many exposed tree roots, so a sturdy pair of shoes is a good idea.   You'll start from the parking lot and hike through a shady coastal forest where the scent of balsam fir and the quiet of the landscape is punctuated by the sounds of Mark Island fog horn off in the distance.  Light filters through the trees creating a magical environment, and if you slow down and look closely you'll find a fascinating microbial world to discover. From mushrooms to fungi, lichen, and mosses, a virtual fairyland of miniature plants can be found throughout the forest.

As you hike towards the ocean the trees begin to thin and the smell of balsam gives way to salt air.  You'll come to a sign for an overlook, so hike the short distance up to the spot and you'll be rewarded with panoramic views of East Penobscot Bay and Maine's spectacular coast with views to Isle au Haut and Mark Island light beyond.

Continue down the trail until you come to a sign for Barred Island or the Shore Loop trail and go to the right towards the island.  At low tide you'll find a beach and a wide sand bar that takes you out to this uninhabited island.  The island will be closed to the public if there are nesting eagles, so please respect any signage. If the tide is high and the sandbar not visible, don't dismay.  Spread out a towel and relax on the smooth rocks made warm by the sun.  Take in the scenery, the smells of the ocean and the quiet of this special place. If you do walk out to the island, take note of the tide before you go, as you do not want to get stuck on the island for the night!

Settlement Quarry

Another hike to enjoy on Deer Isle is Settlement Quarry Preserve off of Oceanville Road in Stonington, owned by Island Heritage Trust. Dogs on a leash are welcomed at this preserve.

Settlement Quarry helps preserve Deer Isle's history of granite quarrying, and its famous pink granite. The quarry was active from the turn of the last century until the 1920's and again in the 1960's and 1980's.

You'll find the parking lot on Oceanville Road, just past the sign for Old Quarry Ocean Adventures on the right.   Walk through the entrance and take the "Erratic Trail" to the right through the woods. This section of hiking trail includes coastal forest similar to the start of the Barred Island trail.  Educational signs along the way describe the glacial erratic and environmental activity that exposed the granite and eventually turned this area into an active quarry.  As you emerge from this short 10 minute trail you'll come upon a large expanse of windswept stone surface. Hike to the highest point where you'll see beautiful views towards Isle au Haut.

The entire area feels like an open amphitheater and leaves you imagining how perfect the spot would be for outdoor performances of Shakespearean plays, musical events and performance art.  The Stonington Opera House has used the preserve for just these kinds of special events

Walk throughout this open area where you'll find educational signs about the history of quarrying and the family who owned Settlement Quarry.   Follow the arrows to Old Pole Head and other features to learn more.

There are several short hikes to take from the top which will take you to other sections of the preserve.  The Grout Pile Trail leads down a hill through the woods towards a large pile of quarried rock with educational signs along the way.   It will continue through a wooded area, which leads you throughout the rest of the preserve.  These trails offer additional glimpses of the quarry industry and are worth exploring.  They also will add additional time to your walk beyond the short hike to the quarry.

Mariner's Memorial Park

If you are not up for a hike, and just want to stroll through gentle terrain near the water, we highly recommend Mariner's Memorial Park,  The park is located near the start of the Sunshine road around the corner from the Inn.  Take your first right off the Sunshine Road onto Morey Farm Road,  Drive down the road and take a left into Mariner's Park, which will lead you to the parking area.

This lovely expanse of open space is maintained by the Evergreen Garden Club on Deer Isle and offers walking paths, a picnic area and a kayak and boat launch that is open to the public.  Dogs are welcomed on a leash. Take the path from the parking area, and be sure to stop and appreciate the pollinator's garden that attracts important insects like bumble bees that help pollinate and create the beautiful flowers on the island.

The path leads to the water where the boat launch is used by locals and visitors alike,  Under a shady tree you'll also find a large granite stone memorial to all those from the Island who have lost their lives at seas.

Continue on the path up the hill where you'll find pretty views of the water.  At the top of the hill are nesting boxes as part of an area-wide bluebird nesting trail, maintained by the Maine Audubon Society.

This park is a great place to also bring a picnic lunch to enjoy the view.  Several picnic tables near the parking area are a great spot to sit before taking your kayak or other boat into the water.

These parks and preserves are just a sampling of what you can do on Deer Isle.  Kayaking, art walks, historic sites, scenic villages, sailing and other fun activities make it one of the best places in Maine to visit.  Visit our website to learn more!

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posted by Your Innkeepers @ 6:30 PM   0 Comments

Stress Free Local Holiday Shopping!

About the third week in November a vague sense of panic begins to settle into the back of my brain when I realize I've not yet done any holiday gift shopping.

I've always been impressed (mystified really) by people who plan months in advance and have their shopping done, their gifts wrapped and shipped before Thanksgiving.  You know these people, they are the ones who have birthday cards filed neatly in a drawer months before they need them, and are standing next to you in line buying Christmas gifts in August, while you're hoping to find a birthday gift before the word "belated" gets too old.

Adding to my panic is the fact that I hate giving generic gifts from big box stores and battling the crowds at shopping malls, and most of the people I know are at the point in their lives when they are trying to get rid of the junk in their homes, not collect more of it. 

But a few years ago, in an effort to put some thought into my gift giving before the anxiety settled in,  I decided that the gifts I give should have at least three of the following four criteria:
  • Be easy to purchase and to ship (preferably by someone else, so you don't have to stand in long holiday lines balancing boxes on your hip at the post office); 
  • Support a local business;
  • Is something that gets used up or can be recycled at the end, such as food, candles, tickets to an event, gift certificate to dinner, etc; OR
  • Is something unique and special, not plastic and disposable.

Thankfully living on Deer Isle makes satisfying my criteria pretty easy to do, and thanks to the internet, you can buy these gifts too!  Here is my recommended list of sources for great holiday gifts that meet at least three of our four criteria, and all of them are from Deer Isle, Little Deer Isle or Isle au Haut.

Nervous Nellies Jams & Jellies is always on the top of my "go-to" list and satisfies all four of my criteria.  It's a local business, the jam gets eaten up, it's totally unique, and easy to send -- check, check, and double check. Ann and Peter Beerits not only produce their wonderful jams and jellies right here on Deer Isle, they also carry Joan's scone mix, Lucy's granola, maple syrup and other
unique gifts exclusively from Maine.  Prices range from just $20 for a gift box with two jars of jam, up to collections like the "breakfast adventure gift box" for $48.35.  The best part is you can set up an account on their website to store the addresses for your friends and family, so each year it's just a few clicks and your gift is on its way with a cute gingham ribbon, and a fragrant sprig of balsam.

Next on my holiday list are balsam wreaths from Harbor Farm on
Little Deer Isle.  They also have a website where you can store addresses for your friends and family, and with just a few clicks your shopping is done.  We've been sending the Blueberry Christmas Wreath to our extended family for years.  The wreath is uniquely Maine, decorated with realistic looking blueberries, fresh pine cones and reindeer moss, and comes with a nice velvet blue ribbon.  Once again my criteria is satisfied - local business, it can be recycled at the end of the holiday season,  unique and easy to send (since they do it for you).  They also carry centerpieces, swags and even a big box of balsam to be used for holiday decorations.

Deer Isle is well known for its pink granite, which can be found in famous buildings, bridges and monuments throughout the country; and the most popular items sold at Pilgrim's Inn are vases made from this distinctive stone.  We use these vases on our tables and fill them with a few small sprigs of flowers from our garden or field -- they are beautiful and simple and make a perfect gift. Our friend Peter Perez of the Deer Isle Granite Company makes these vases along with cheese boards, candle stick holders, clocks, card holders, furniture and other items made from Deer Isle granite.  You can purchase these items directly through his website - local, beautiful, unique, and easy to ship!

We always know it's a 44 North Coffee roasting day when we smell that fragrant, rich, slightly burnt toast smell, wafting across the mill pond towards Pilgrim's Inn. If your friends and family are coffee lovers, then a gift from 44 North Coffee should definitely be on your list.  Megan and Melissa have been roasting their organic fair trade coffee and growing their small business just around the corner from Pilgrim's Inn for the last several years.   They too have online ordering and gifts are just a click away.  In addition to their many varieties of coffee, they also have coffee gear like coffee makers, a french press, mugs, t-shirts and more.  And check out their "Island Gift Box" a uniquely Maine gift box with sea salt, evergreens and coffee beans for just $20!  Once again a gift from a local business that gets used up, is unique and they do the shipping!  Woo hoo!

Another great local business that offers online purchasing is Marlinespike Chandlery in Stonington.  Owner Tim Whitten makes beautiful and unique ropework pieces for people, boats, and dogs, as well as jewelry and accessories.  For a very special gift, consider the beach stone necklace or check out the popular rope bracelet (kids especially love this).  Some of the items are in stock, but others are made to order, so be sure to give Tim enough time to craft your special piece.

For the chocolate lovers on your list (and seriously- who isn't?), then the almost world famous Black Dinah Chocolatiers is a definite.  Kate and Steve produce beautiful hand made chocolates from the small island of Isle au Haut just off of Stonington.The salted caramels are to die for, and if you're
looking for something uniquely Maine, then your friends and family will love the Farm Market Collection of chocolate truffles.  Each truffle has an ingredient from a farm in Hancock or Knox County.  You can also buy Kate's cookbook "Desserted: Recipes and Tales from an Island Chocolatier" to accompany your chocolates.  Or send a bag of their lovely sipping chocolate for your friends and family to enjoy on a cold winter day.  Once again, just a few clicks away and you're done -- with all our criteria satisfied.

Did you know that Stonington on Deer Isle tops the list for the greatest amount of lobsters landed in the State of Maine each year? And what says "Maine" more than lobster!  Sending live lobsters from Deer Isle is especially appreciated for New Year's Eve dinner.  While there are many sources to buy lobster from on the Island, our pick is Jones Lobster.  You can purchase directly from their website, in a number of different combinations for the weight and number of lobster, and they send them out next day air. There are also instructions for cooking lobster on their website if you need them.

Speaking of seafood, another great idea is some "finnan haddie" made by Richard Penfold of Stonington Seafood.  Richard is an expert when it comes to smoked fish and his products are revered by customers around the world.  We use his smoked cod in our smoked cod and clam chowder at the Whale's Rib Tavern and are happy to email you the recipe if you want to prepare this tasty dish for the holidays.  You'll also find frozen sea scallops from our local waters, kipper fillets and more.

Of course, there is nothing better and more local than making your own holiday gifts.  If you have visited Pilgrim's Inn, then you know about our ever present cookie jar, filled with chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal raisin, or chocolate crinkle cookies; and our seriously delicious homemade granola made in our kitchen at the Inn.  Recipes for some of our cookies and our granola are posted in the notes section of our Facebook Page.  Put the granola in an old fashioned mason jar with a ribbon and the cookies in a clear cellophane bag tied up with a bow.

But if you'd rather leave the cooking to us, then a gift certificate to Pilgrim's Inn and the Whale's Rib
Tavern is sure to please.  You can set the gift amount and it can be used for lodging, dining or both.  We are open from May - October and gift certificates don't expire until they are used.

So in a few clicks of your mouse your  holiday shopping can be done, your sanity saved,  the local economy strengthened, the environment benefited, and your friends and family made happy.  I guess I better get started!

posted by Your Innkeepers @ 5:38 PM   1 Comments

Thinking outside the bun: Off Island Eateries

On our quest to find off the beaten path and unusual lunch spots away from Deer Isle (see our previous blog post for fun lunch ideas on Deer Isle), we knew we came to the right place when we saw Linda Greenlaw's boat tied up to the dock at Perry's Lobster Shack on Newbury Neck in Surry. Over the years we heard tales of someone cooking lobster on a dock not far from Blue Hill, but never really had enough information to find it, as they do little to no online marketing.  But this year while cycling past Perry's by accident, we knew we had to return to this classic Maine lobster pound (something that is sadly lacking in Deer Isle/Stonington given its status as a major lobster port in the State).  The owner, Bev Long told us that even people in Surry and surrounding towns are finding them for the first time, despite the fact that they've been serving up lobster on their dock for thirteen years.  While traveling to Perry's is a bit of a commitment (it's a 40 minute drive from Pilgrim's Inn ), the ride is scenic and the experience worth it if the weather is nice. Perry's is open from 12:00pm - 8:00PM every day from mid-June to  Columbus Day.

The menu features -- you guessed it, steamed lobster, plus lobster and crab rolls, steamers, mussels and blueberry pie with local Morton's Moo ice cream --- oh, and winkles and dried fish!  The small building on the road just past a swimming beach houses the kitchen and lobster tanks, while lunch is served at picnic tables on the dock with large umbrellas to shield out the sun.  Bev will reserve a picnic table for six or more people, cash and checks are accepted (no credit cards) and it's BYOB.  After lunch, be sure to take a drive down the rest of Newbury Neck for some of the best views of Acadia National Park we've ever seen from across the water.  Perry's Lobster Shack, 1076 Newbury Neck Rd., Surry, ME 207-667-1955

On the way back to Deer Isle from Blue Hill on route 15, just past the top of Caterpillar Hill is the Millbrook Company, a roadside spot with a "truckers welcome" sign on the side. Millbrook is a combination bakery, restaurant and ice cream stop. You can eat indoors, or out in the large gazebo overlooking the landscape from the hill.  Formerly in the location of "Milton's Dream" Millbrook offers a small but creative lunch menu featuring a marinated tempeh reuben, a charbroiled burger on ciabatta roll,  grilled chicken sandwich, veggie quesadilla and a cobb salad.

You'll also find fresh squeezed juices and smoothies, like "root juice" with carrot, ginger, beets and apples, a green smoothie with spinach, apples and blueberries.  All of the baked goods and breads are made in-house by owner Jill Smith and her staff.  Millbrook is open Thursday - Monday from 7:30am -8pm.  160 Snows Cove Rd., Sedgwick (route 15)

Just a mile or two down the road towards Deer Isle, a lunch option that has both food and fun is Tasha's at the Pine Ridge Golf Center on Caterpillar Hill Road in Sedgwick about 15 minutes from Pilgrim's Inn.  Surrounded by an 18 hole mini golf course, Tasha's is a great place to take the family for a few hours of fun, or to relax and eat lunch after hitting a bucket of golf balls on the 250 yard driving range. Even if golf is not your thing, take a trip to Tasha's for the food, you'll be glad you did.

Owner Tasha Allen can be found behind the grill most days, cooking up creative sandwiches like the Double Bogey, a bacon cheese burger with pulled pork and coleslaw, and the Wolfman sub, a decadent combination of chicken tenders and a cheese steak.  The bacon wrapped hot dog looks delicious and you'll also find tasty Maine lobster rolls and lobster salads.  Seating is outside in a gazebo or inside in a cozy dining room.  Tasha's is open from Tues - Sunday from 11AM - 7PM.
232 Caterpillar Hill Rd., Sedgwick

Just over the Deer Isle - Sedgwick bridge, a few miles down the road from Tasha's and less than 15 minutes from the Inn is El El Frijoles (a good-natured reference to Maine's famous LL Bean) in Sargentville, where husband and wife team Michelle Levesque and Michael Rossney serve up Mexican inspired  cuisine using high quality local and mostly organic ingredients in their converted barn in Sargentville.  Nine seats inside, outdoor seating on picnic tables and a screened-in porch make the experience casual, fun and funky.

The menu features classic Mexican items like burritos, tacos and quesadillas made with local ingredients and offered at various degrees of spiciness.  The spicy lobster burrito is a uniquely Maine creation, and vegan options plus a PB& J quesadilla for kids makes the menu accessible for many. Numerous house-made salsa's add additional flavor and spiciness.  El El Frijoles is located at 41 Caterpillar Hill Rd in Sargentville and is open from Wednesday - Sunday, from 11AM to 8PM.

Over in Brooklin (30 minutes from the Inn)  Sandy's Provisions offers sandwiches, soups and salads that you can eat inside or out on the porch at this specialty grocery store and cafe. You'll also find local and Maine made prepared foods, wines, cheese, coffee, chocolates and more.  Or pick up fresh bread, a few slices of the excellent varieties of cheeses they carry, some olives, sausages and other delights and make a picnic.   Take your treasure to the end of Naskeag Road where there is a picnic table and classic scenic Maine views of the harbor.   Sandy's also offers specialty coffee drinks made by a barista from Bucklyn Coffee in Brooklin, Sandy's is located in the heart of Brooklin at 5 Bay Rd. and is open from Monday - Saturday, 8am - 5pm.

Twenty minutes from the Inn in the opposite direction is Bucks Harbor Market in Brooksville.   Stop on in and get generous sized sandwiches, pasta or potato salads, house-smoke meats, olives and other deli items with prices that are easy on the pocket book.  You can sit outside the market on the few tables on the porch, or take them with you and continue down 176 about 2.5 miles to the Town Landing Road on the left where there are picnic tables and great views of Castine. Bucks Harbor Market is in the heart of Bucks Harbor, at 6 Cornfield Hill Rd, in Brooksville, and is open seven days a week until 6pm.

Another "must do" lunch experience off the island is Bagaduce Lunch, which has received lots of press over the years and even a James Beard American Classics award, but has never lost its down home charm since it first opened in 1946.  This classic roadside clam shack has some of the best fried clams and scallops in the area, lobster rolls, fried fish sandwiches, and home-made pies served from their take out window.  Picnic tables dot the landscape down to a tidal river, near the reversing falls in Penobscot. Bagaduce Lunch is located at 145 Franks Flat, Penobscot, and is open everyday from 11:00am to 7pm (except Wednesdays when it closes at 3pm).

posted by Your Innkeepers @ 7:24 PM   1 Comments

Thinking outside the bun: Lunch on Deer Isle, Maine

Where can I get lunch? That's a question we hear a lot and while there are several fine eateries on the island that serve lunch with table service, it's the smaller, counter-service, road side, and unusual lunch and snack spots both on and off the island that we'll be highlighting in this two-part series.

If you' re lucky enough to be looking for lunch on a Wednesday or a Friday, our first pick for something fresh, local and unique is a visit to the Deer Isle and Stonington Farmers Markets from late May/early June until late September/early October.  The Deer Isle Market takes place on Wednesdays from 9:30 - 11:30, just around the corner from the Inn at the old elementary school, just past 44 North coffee on the left.

The Stonington market takes place on Fridays from 10-12 at the Island Community Center off of route 15A, about a 10-15 minute drive from Pilgrim's Inn. Head on over early to these markets to pick up lunch and eat it later while you're hiking, relaxing on the lawn at Pilgrim's Inn, or exploring the area.  The Inn has plenty of backpacks for you to borrow to take your lunch on the trail.

At the farmer's markets you'll find several lunch options like Mia's sesame noodles and spring rolls, or pick up some seriously delicious smoked pork ribs from the Nostrano traveling BBQ pit.

One of our favorite things to do is to put together a picnic sourced from several different vendors, like bagels from Water's Edge Bagels & Breads, paired with goat cheese from Yellow Birch Farm, throw in some summer tomatoes from Blue Zee Farm, or smoked salmon from Nostrano and you've got yourself the freshest, most local and truly delicious lunch around.  End the meal with fresh local fruit or a sweet treat from Bread Box or Apple Blossom Bakery.  At the Stonington market you'll also find prepared Indian and Asian foods for something unique and tasty.

If a terrific sandwich, potato salad, a fruit pie and
fresh lemonade sparklers sounds good, then check out "Peas in a Pod" pop up lunch stand.  You'll find this group of enterprising high school students at the parking lot at the Congregational Church in Deer Isle Village on Tuesdays from 11 -2 (or whenever food runs out), the Deer Isle Farmers Market on Wednesdays from 9:30 - 11:30, and the parking lot of "Lily's House" on route 15 in Stonington on Thursdays starting at 11:00 am.  Peas in a Pod pop up lunch stand is a project of the "Ready for 21" program at the Deer Isle-Stonington High School.  The program teaches Island youth valuable entrepreneurial skills and lunch sales benefit the program.

Of course, one can't come to Maine without eating a lobster roll, and our island community is world famous for its lobster.  We love the lobster roll at Harbor Ice Cream in Deer Isle village, right across from the Inn.   Very well priced, and served the traditional no frills way in a grilled and buttered hot dog bun with just the right amount of mayo, there's nothing better.   Harbor Ice Cream serves up plenty of  hot and cold sandwiches, and offers Maine made Giffords Ice Cream with uniquely Maine flavors like Moose Tracks and Maine Black Bear.  You'll also find lobster rolls and ice cream down at the Stonington Ice Cream company shack next to the library in Stonington.

Got kids?  Then you won't find a more kid friendly outdoor eatery than Madelyn's Drive In and
Takeout on route 15 going north about a mile from the Inn.  Their well maintained roadside eatery features soft serve ice cream, plenty of sandwiches and lobster, plus tons of kid friendly food and play options.  You can enjoy your meal at their numerous picnic tables while your kids climb the jungle gyms or play in the sandbox. 

If a sweet treat is all you need.....
While not a lunch spot, you can't miss out on a cold or hot coffee beverage from 44 North Coffee.  Megan and Melissa are serving up fair trade coffee from their perch on top of the historic Deer Isle school house around the corner from the Inn on Church St.  They also serve up biscotti to pair with your coffee, along with occasional baked goods, and recently had a pop up pastries truck from "Sarahndipity Pies"in their parking lot.  Also in Deer Isle on Main St. is Sophie's Cup and Fibula Jewelry, where you can stop in for baked goods and cappuccino while perusing the gorgeous jewelry. The Mountainville Cafe at Nervous Nellie's Jams & Jellies in Sunshine is another fun stop where the whimsical sculptures of Peter Beerits are paired with jams and jellies you can try with a scone. 

Tune in next week for the second half of this blog: Off Island lunch spots featuring:

El El Frijoles
Bagaduce Lunch 
Sandy's Gourmet 
Bucks Harbor Market 
Perry's Lobster Shack 

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posted by Your Innkeepers @ 9:49 AM   0 Comments


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