A year ago I casually mentioned to one of my best friends that Adam, Elsie and I were headed on a road trip to Acadia National Park in Maine. We were already en route when she and I spoke, (texted?) and she quickly interjected to say that we should abandon our plans for Acadia and visit Deer Isle instead. "It's way less touristy and so beautiful at this time of year."
Abandon our plans we did! We ended up falling in love with Deer Isle and had the best time, so when Adam's vacation came up again this year, I said, "let's go back to Deer Isle!"
Deer Isle is a five hour drive from Boston without any traffic. We like to break up the drive with a stop in Portland, Maine for a bite at one of their amazing restaurants, so we stopped to eat at Eventide Oyster Co. Eventide is a favorite of ours and they have outdoor seating that allows dogs, so how could we resist? I couldn't get any good photos of our meal so you're gonna have to take my word that we ate there. ;)
With our bellies full of oysters, biscuits, and brown butter lobster rolls, we hopped back in the ol' family truckster (aka my prius) and drove the rest of the way to Deer Isle.
PILGRIM'S INN BED AND BREAKFAST
Eager to get out of the car after a 5 hour drive, we checked in to the Rugosa Rose cottage, unloaded the car, and fed Elsie her dinner. The Pilgrim's Inn serves insanely good, fresh baked cookies every afternoon and all it took was one glance from Adam signaling a race to the cookie jar! Again, no pictures because we gobbled them up too fast.
The Pilgrim's Inn is so quaint and the grounds are beautifully landscaped and maintained. We had a view of the pond from our cabin and a deck for Elsie to hang out on. She totally remembered the cabin and settled in quickly. Spoiled little pup!
One of the best things about the Pilgrim's Inn is that they welcome dogs in their cottages! (there are only a few - so book them early)
After a good nights sleep we awoke ready to get moving. All of that sitting the day before had us anxious to hit the trails for a hike. Also, if you have a young dog, you know they need to get out and run! But not before breakfast. Breakfast at the Pilgrim's Inn is really nice. The dining room is in an old barn and on a quiet week like last week, we pretty much had the place to ourselves. We ate something different each day: waffles, french toast and omelets.
44 NORTH COFFEE
After breakfast each morning we always made a stop at the 44 North Coffee Roaster around the corner from our bed and breakfast. 44 North is a local business that roasts organic coffee in a historic Deer Isle schoolhouse. They serve pour over coffee and offer some out of control pastries from a local bakery called Tinder Hearth.
They also have a second location in downtown Stonington close to the fishing port. I woke up extra early one morning just to hang out at their Stonington location and eavesdrop on the lobstermen and fishermen. By the way, the barista at 44 North told me her dad wakes up at 3:30 to go out fishing/lobstering and doesn't get home until 7 p.m. So when I say that I woke up early, I'd already missed most of the morning action in town.
After a visit to 44 North for coffee, we'd head out for our first hike of the day. Pretty much every day was on repeat after this. Hike, grab lunch at Aragosta, go for another hike to explore more of the island, then head back to our cottage to relax a little before dinner!
LOBSTER, LOBSTER, LOBSTER
Most nights we ate at the Whale's Rib Tavern at the Pilgrims Inn. They focus on locally caught seafood and when they say local, they mean it. We highly recommend the local mussels, local halibut with lobster risotto, the clam chowder, and the burger at the bar. So. Good. It's no wonder that my friend remembers serving Julia Child there when she was a teenager. Yes, the Julia Child. So, you know this place has good food!
Hikes we recommend:
- Barred Island Preserve - no dogs allowed*
- Sylvesters Cove
- Edgar Tennis Preserve
- Shore Acres
- Settlement Quarry
Where we ate:
- Whales Rib Tavern located inside the Pilgrim's Inn with local, organic, and seasonal options. Their menu focuses on locally-caught seafood and changes regularly. Call ahead for a reservation because it's a small place and fills up fast! You literally can't go wrong with the food here. * If the restaurant is full, try the bar. It's even smaller than the restaurant but serves a delicious burger and you can order from the dinner menu.
- Aragosta is our go-to place for lunch on the island. It's located in Stonington and we love sitting on the deck watching the hustle and bustle of lobstermen and fishermen at the port. Lobster rolls, Lobster Po' Boys, salads, it's all good. We've never been for dinner, but it's on our list.
Where we stayed: Pilgrims Inn
This was our second time staying at the Pilgrims Inn and we absolutely love it. It's a bed and breakfast so breakfast is included.
*Pro tip: Check their website for deals. We were able to get our third night free because we stayed over on a Tuesday.
Be sure to grab a soft serve on your way back to Boston at Carrier's Mainely Lobster! What are your favorite places in Maine or in New England? Please share them with us in the comments!