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   888-778-7505 | 207-348-6615 The Pilgrim’s Inn is located in quiet Coastal Maine
The Pilgrim’s Inn is located in quiet Coastal Maine
The Pilgrim’s Inn is located in quiet Coastal Maine

Innkeepers Log

News, events, and musings from Pilgrim’s Inn

Thinking outside the bun: Lunch on Deer Isle

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

"Wednesdays and a half"

Deer Isle Galleries and Studios kicked off its second season of "Wednesday and a Half" events with open studios, artist receptions, demonstrations, new exhibits, and beautiful artwork.

This regular gallery and studio walk takes place
on the second Wednesday of the month in July, August, September and October and highlights the work of twenty two member artists in the Deer Isle village area.   The level of creativity within walking distance of our small village is remarkable. When you  add in the rest of the island, and the Blue Hill peninsula, the number of artists in our coastal Maine region is astounding.

The Deer Isle Artists Association, across the
street from Pilgrim's Inn is a great place to start your tour.   The Association is located in a beautiful building with Northwest Harbor in the background and regularly hosts artist receptions and events on behalf of its member artists.  You'll find paintings, fiber art, sculpture, pottery and more. 

Stroll down the street to Islands Gallery where Diane Kirk's beautiful water colors and gallery will inspire you as much as the spectacular views of Northwest Harbor.  You'll also find unique metal and stone jewelry, as well as gift items like note cards, bookmarks, prints and journals.  A few doors down you'll find Fibula Gallery where gorgeous jewelery beckons you to lose yourself in these one of kind gems and designs.  Stay a while and have a cappuccino and pastry with owner Laura Givertz, who has a gallery both here and in Santa Barbara, CA.

Next head over to the new Gallery Mozelle, where owner Maureen Farr features the creative, whimsical, and eclectic work of artists from Deer Isle and beyond, including her own jewelry.  Large format exhibits are interspersed with functional glassware, photography, and fiber.

Around the corner from Main St to the left are several outstanding galleries and studios within walking distance.  Dow Studio, just a short walk down the Dow road features clay, metal and mixed media by artists Ellen Wieske and Carolann Ferr.   Continue on Dow Rd for a short distance to the Pearson Legacy Gallery, where rotating themed exhibits showcase the work of island artists and beyond. Back out on Route 15 is the Hutton Gallery featuring metal jewelry from Susan Hutton, as well as works by other area artisans including paintings, photography,
fiber, pottery, glass.   One of our favorites is the Turtle Gallery, where owner Elena Kubler showcases fine art and crafts in her classic Maine barn, carefully selected from artists throughout the US.  Beautiful jewelry, fiber art, paintings, photographs, clay and more will be sure to result in a purchase. You'll also find outdoor sculptures in her lovely gardens.

If you take a right from Main street in the village you'll find the B.W. Bulger studio with handmade furniture and paintings.  And don't forget to visit 44 North Coffee, where owners Megan and Melissa roast delicious organic, fairly traded coffee and serve up hot and cold coffee drinks for coffee connoisseurs.  A short distance up the road on the left are the winter offices and gallery for the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, a world famous school for artisans with seasonal classes taught  on their coastal campus in the woods out in "Sunshine".  The gallery often features the work of its visiting teachers from around the world.

Many more artists are included in the Wednesday and a Half event, but just these few stops in the immediate vicinity of Pilgrim's Inn will leave you inspired and wishing you could live your life surrounded by the ideas and beauty that inspired these artists and artisans.  To learn more about this event and the member artists visit Deer Isle Galleries and Studios.

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posted by Your Innkeepers @ 6:49 PM   0 Comments

Exploring Isle au Haut

I'm ashamed to admit that I've lived on Deer Isle for nine years and up until a week ago, had never been to Isle au Haut. Something always managed to get in the way of taking the 45 minute boat trip from Stonington to the "High Island" and spending the day hiking the trails that are part of Acadia National Park.  When guests at Pilgrim's Inn would ask me about taking a trip to the island, my descriptions were a bit sketchy when asked what it was like to bike or hike the terrain.

So when visiting family members proposed a trip to the island, I jumped at the chance.  The weather was perfect, and not a breath of wind disturbed the water on our way over. Due to a late start to the season,  few people were headed out on the only morning boat that Sunday in June.

Before getting our tickets, we stopped at the Harbor View store next to Fisherman's Friend and ordered up sandwiches and snacks to take on the trip, as we weren't sure what our options would be once we arrived.  We rented mountain bikes from Isle au Haut Boat Services on the Stonington side and loaded them onto the top deck of the boat with help from the crew.   The ride out offered fabulous views of Stonington from the water and views of the quarry operation on Crotch Island.

Once we arrived at the Town Landing we were met by a park ranger who gave us valuable information about biking and hiking on the island.  The best tip she gave was to start with the hardest biking first by taking the road up from the boat to the right.

We started out cycling on pavement for a mile or so, which then turned to an unpaved road of hard packed dirt and light gravel, which was easy going.  But as we were warned by the ranger and the boat crew, once we got into the Acadia Park land, this section of "unpaved road" was much rougher.  While technically a road, the conditions seemed more "off-road like" from my "middle aged but in decent shape" perspective, with rocks, tree roots, and deep ruts, along with some inclines that started to challenge my 50 year old muscles. 

After spending most of the hardest biking in a wooded section, we were greeted by cool ocean breezes and a beautiful rock beach between the Deep Cove and Duck Harbor trails where we stopped to take in the view.  We were excited to hear the cry of an eagle and to spot its nest high up in the trees beyond. 

We soon found ourselves cycling past a water pump and toilet facilities in Duck Harbor, which were welcomed amenities at that point in the trip.  After exploring the path on foot that leads to the dock where the boat comes into Duck Harbor, we took a right onto the Western Head Road, a "limited access road" according to the map,  which was actually pretty similar to the "unpaved roads" we had just been on, but with grass and more puddles (and inclines of course).  At the end of the road we ditched our bikes, remembering the amused looks from the boat crew when we had asked if we needed to lock them if left unattended.

At the end of the road we took a short climb to the Cliff Trail and found spectacular scenery and views of the rocky coastline, where we stopped for a much deserved picnic. After lunch we biked back down the Western Head Road and reconnected with the loop around the island.  After a few more challenging inclines, we found "unpaved road" that was similar to the earliest part of our trip and easy to negotiate.  A "dream" as described by the ranger, after spending the day on the rougher roads inside the park section.  We realized at this point why it's so important to do the harder terrain first -- you may not make the boat if you think all the "unpaved roads" were as easy as this!

We later stopped at Boom Beach which was marked by a pink flamingo stamp on the paved road.  The beach was filled with smooth large rocks, which make thunderous sounds during storms and high seas. Back on the road, which turns to pavement a few miles before reaching the Town landing, we saw a beautiful view of the harbor with a schooner in the background.

A visit to Black Dinah Chocolatiers was on our must do list, so we cycled the half mile pass the Town landing to their cafe, where we washed down salted caramels with delicious iced coffee drinks.  We definitely made the right decision to save this treat for the end of our trip!

Biking the island was a great way to get a sense of the terrain, the landscape and the town, and I would recommend it for your first trip to the island.  But if hiking is really your thing, I would suggest staying on the boat and going directly to Duck Harbor.  Our trip with stops along the way took 3.5 hours and we covered roughly 17 miles of roads ranging from easy to sometimes difficult terrain. 

Tina Oddleifson

A few tips before you go:
  • Helmets are available from the boat service if you ask for them, and are recommended.
  • The ranger station is about a quarter mile from the town landing and has a toilet outside.
  • If you get off the boat at the town landing in July and August there is a general store where you can get groceries, souvenirs and necessities.  A food truck called "the lobster lady" has outstanding lobster rolls and other seafood (but not on Sundays).   Shore Shop Gifts is open seven days a week with artwork from island residents and others, and Black Dinah is open Wednesdays through Sunday.
  • If you go directly to Duck Harbor, there are no services other than a water pump (the water has a strong iron taste to it) and a toilet, so bring food, water, some rain gear, good footwear and bug spray   Below are links to  resources on the island.

Isle au Haut Boat Services
Map of Isle au Haut
The Island Store
Black Dinah Chocolatiers
The Lobster Lady
Shore Shop Gifts

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posted by Your Innkeepers @ 10:47 PM   0 Comments

Bridge Celebration and Lupines Kick off the Summer Season

The wild lupines are blooming on Deer Isle and they are gorgeous!  This beautiful purple, pink or white flower grows abundantly in our Down East section of the Maine coast and is the official harbinger of the summer season. Every year photographers and artists visit Deer Isle to capture the natural beauty of these stunning flowers. Our annual lupine festival is set to take place June 20-22, the first weekend of summer.
This year the Lupine Festival coincides with the 75th Anniversary of the Deer Isle-Sedgwick bridge. This critical link to the mainland has served the Deer Isle community since 1939. Over six years of planning and advocacy by Island residents finally resulted in the beautiful suspension bridge that spans the Eggemoggin Reach, a popular waterway for boating that separates Deer Isle from the mainland town of Sedgwick. The bridge is notable for its innovation in creating a durable, long span, high level structure across a navigable water at limited cost. Its construction offered the island community greater economic opportunity and allowed visitors the chance to experience island life and culture. Before the bridge was built, residents and visitors utilized a ferry service to cross the Reach.

On Saturday, June 21st a day long celebration will start at 10:00 AM when the bridge will be closed to traffic to give everyone the opportunity to walk across the bridge.  A re-dedication ceremony will follow at 11:00 AM as well as a celebration of the new "Bridge End" park on the Deer Isle side. A 5K run to benefit the park, live music, a lobster bake, boat rides and fun family activities will be enjoyed throughout the day.   For more information check this Bangor Daily News article or Penobscot Bay Press article.

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posted by Your Innkeepers @ 9:30 PM   0 Comments

Celebrate Spring on Deer Isle

After a long cold winter the first signs of Spring are finally appearing in coastal Maine!  The days are longer and temperatures are moving out of the single digits and into the 30's and 40's.  Soon we will be opening up Pilgrim's Inn, painting, repairing, cleaning, organizing, and getting ready to welcome our guests back for a new season starting on May 9th.

Come celebrate spring on Deer Isle with "Wings, Waves & Woods" weekend, May 16-18.  This special annual event gets more popular every year and is a great opportunity to learn more about the natural environment and the art it inspires in our special region of Maine.

Well known bird expert Bob Duchesne starts off the weekend with a trip to Marshall Island, the largest un-developed and protected island on the Eastern seaboard.   Friday night offers a gallery reception with work by over 40 artists, refreshments and the opportunity to socialize with fellow enthusiasts.  Throughout the weekend many opportunities exist to observe and learn about birds and our local natural environment, through walks, workshops, cruises and art classes. You can view the full schedule of events  here.   When you make a a reservation at Pilgrim's Inn for two or more nights and participate in this special event, you'll receive a 10% discount off of the posted room rate.

Our season at Pilgrim's Inn in coastal Maine runs from May - October, so whether you come to the Island to welcome Spring in May, or say goodbye to Autumn in October, be sure to make your reservations soon!

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posted by Your Innkeepers @ 2:04 PM   1 Comments

Why a visit to Deer Isle should be on your bucket list

When friends and family ask why we chose to move to the coast of Maine to run Pilgrim's Inn on Deer Isle, it is not a difficult question to answer. It's similar to what we tell guests when they ask why they should travel off the beaten path to our little island.  The answer - because you'll experience a way of life that is authentic and real; you'll find the reason why so many artists, writers, musicians, and adventure seekers find their way to our special neck of the Maine coast; you'll be re-connected to a simpler way of life and leave feeling renewed and refreshed.

Unlike well traveled areas such as Camden and Bar Harbor, Deer Isle offers the chance to experience quiet coves and hiking trails with views and vistas that help you decompress from modern life.  Here you'll have the opportunity to view our beautiful coastline by kayak, sail or lobster boat, visiting the many islands surrounding ours, or cruising the world famous Penobscot Bay.  Or spend your day meeting the artisans and artists who have settled here, inspired by the natural beauty to create their art.   Visit their in-home galleries and workshops and watch them at their craft-  you'll be sure to return home with treasures to remind you of your visit.

If you're a meanderer, follow one of our self-guided tours of the surrounding towns of the Blue Hill Peninsula.  Take a lunch and picnic in the field overlooking the harbor in Brooklin then visit the world famous Wooden Boat School.  Or grab a bite at "Bagaduce Lunch" (winner of a James Beard "American Classic" award) and sit on the picnic tables overlooking the falls and inlet.  Afterwards visit Bucks Harbor where author Robert McCloskey wrote "Blueberries for Sal" and other classic children's books.  Or head up to the town of Blue Hill whose annual country fair inspired EB White to write "Charlotte's Web." 

If  you're a fan of the "farm to table" or 'localvore" way of life, then you can't find a better bounty than in our section of Maine.  The "back to the land" movement that started here has inspired the creation of dozens of organic farms , including the famous "Four Season Farm" in Cape Rosier.  You'll find fresh cheeses, organic vegetables, grass fed meats, oyster farms, fresh cut flowers, locally roasted coffee, fresh hand crafted breads and beautiful hand made chocolates at our many farm stands and farmers markets. 

And who can forget the lobster -- you wont' find any better than in Stonington, where lobstering is not just an industry, it's a way of life.  As the "most productive lobster port" in Maine Stonington on Deer Isle  has plenty of lobster for you to enjoy for and breakfast, lunch or dinner.

The reasons to experience Deer Isle in Downeast Maine are endless, so when people ask us why we are here, or why they should visit -- our answer is "sit down and let us tell you all about it." To learn more please view our video!

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posted by Your Innkeepers @ 9:26 PM   2 Comments

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

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The Pilgrim’s Inn is located in quiet Coastal Maine
The Pilgrim’s Inn is located in quiet Coastal Maine

20 Main Street, Deer Isle, Maine 04627 ~ 888-778-7505 ~ 207-348-6615 ~