The view “from away”

This week I had the opportunity to experience Deer Isle as a visitor “from away” when a family member rented a house for an extended stay on the island and offered me a few days respite from managing and owning Pilgrim’s Inn during our busy season.  Exploring the island from the perspective of a guest reminded me of how truly relaxing and wonderfully unique our Down East island is for those looking to shed the stresses of modern life.

We explored several nature preserves and public lands owned or managed by Island Heritage Trust including the Barred Island Preserve and Scott’s Landing, along with visits to Sand Beach and Mariner’s Park owned by the Town and local Garden Club.  Each offered classic Maine coastal views and opportunities for quiet reflection in nature — wisps of fog floating in the air made the landscape mystical.

Exploring our numerous art galleries (see a list at resulted in the purchase of two beautiful necklaces, one from the Turtle Gallery, in Deer Isle village where owner Elena Kubler arranges thoughtful collections of fine art and crafts in her classic Maine barn and gardens; the other from Marlinespike Chandlery in Stonington, where owner Tim Whitten creates unique knotted necklaces encasing stones and sea glass, amongst the many other things in his eclectic shop.  A stop by Dockside Gifts offered us a winning view of Stonington Harbor from its back deck, along with an outstanding collection of books from local authors and others with Deer Isle connections

Lunch on the deck of “Aragosta”, a new restaurant on Main Stonington inspired my aunt to retrieve her traveling water color set from her purse, so she could sketch and paint the working harbor, with Isle au Haut emerging gracefully in the background.  A delicious “farm to table” lunch was followed by an old fashioned ice cream cone from Harbor Ice Cream in Deer Isle village, enjoyed while sitting on the outside benches, watching the world go by.  After our cones disappeared on the hot summer day, we strolled across the street to the Periwinkle, where owner Neva Beck offers just the right amount of books, gifts,and  penny candy in her charming gift shop.

On Wednesday morning we visited the Deer Isle Farmers Market where vendors offer organic produce, cheeses, artisan breads and other prepared foods,  and in the afternoon a visit to Nervous Nellies Jams and Jellies where relatives loaded up on jars of jam, was followed by a stroll through the whimsical creations of sculptor Peter Beerits.  We ended our day with a cold drink while seated in an Adirondack chair overlooking the mill pond at Pilgrim’s Inn, followed by a delicious meal at our restaurant, the Whale’s Rib Tavern.

A few days were spent exploring the treasures of the Blue Hill peninsula, above Deer Isle, but that’s a story for another blog post.   A trip to Deer Isle, overlooking Penobscot Bay on the Maine coast is an experience not to be missed — even by those of us who live here. — Tina Oddleifson, Pilgrim’s Inn