Once discovered, Maine’s Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle are impossible to forget. In the July/August 2020 feature by Wayne Curtis (“A World Away”), we explored this unique area that’s not quite midcoast and not Down East. Planning a visit to enjoy this tucked-away slice of the Maine coast? Here’s a guide to where to eat, what to do, and where to stay when you visit Maine’s Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle.
TRAVEL NOTE: Since many businesses and venues are adjusting their operations in response to COVID-19 health concerns, please contact them directly or check their websites before making travel plans.
Guide to Maine’s Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle
Where to Eat | Restaurants
Acadia House Provisions | Stonington
The newest venture for chef Ryan McCaskey, whose Chicago restaurant, Acadia, earned a Michelin star. His Maine outpost is more casual, with dishes like perfectly seared local scallops served with short rib and cauliflower purée, and Maine blueberry streusel with ginger ice cream.
Aragosta | Deer Isle
The island’s hottest ticket, thanks to chef Devin Finigan’s wizardry with locally sourced ingredients in dishes such as wood-fired duck with rhubarb barbecue sauce and polenta fries.
Arborvine | Blue Hill
A destination-dining experience in an 1832 farmhouse overseen by brothers and second-generation chefs Tim and Andrew Hikade. Next door in the converted barn is their own Deep Water microbrewery and pub.
El El Frijoles | Sargentville
When the magazine Food& Wine set out to find the best burritos in every state, who knew one of its favorites would be in this village of about 180 people? Well, anyone who’s eaten there.
Tinder Hearth | Brooksville
A bakery and pizza restaurant in a Victorian house with views down to a tree-lined cove. The wood-fired pizza is in such demand you have to call a few days ahead and get a precise pickup time; that accomplished, you dine at tables set in a meadow or in the open barn.
44 North Coffee | Deer Isle
Melissa Raftery and Megan Dewey-Wood’s coffee shop not only serves the best java in the area but also serves as a social hub.
Where to Go | Activities
Blue Hill Fair | Blue Hill
The setting for Charlotte’s Web (by Brooklin’s own E.B. White), this fair is a Labor Day staple.
When an entire downtown is on the National Register of Historic Places, a walking tour is a must. Free maps available at the historical society.
Good Life Center | Harborside
The homestead of pioneering back-to-the-landers Scott and Helen Nearing is now a learning center where you can attend community events, sign up for workshops on ways to live simply and well, and take in the gorgeous views of Spirit Cove.
Holbrook Island Sanctuary State Park | Brooksville
A former private island donated to the state in 1971, with most of its original buildings torn down and the land left to grow wild, is now a 1,200-plus acre park and a prime place for coastal bird-watching.
Nervous Nellie’s Jams & Jellies | Deer Isle
In warmer months, sculptor Peter Beerits offers occasional tours of his fanciful array of buildings and artworks known as Nellieville; sweetening the deal are the small-batch jams for sale in the shop and cozy on-site café.
State of Maine | Castine
When in port, the Maine Maritime Academy’s 500-foot training ship (originally a Navy oceanographic research vessel) is open for visitors to tour.
Where to Stay | Inns, Camps & Resorts
Blue Hill Inn | Blue Hill
A classic, understated feel makes this 11-room historic inn a perfect fit within the intimate nature of Blue Hill.
Brooklin Inn | Brooklin
Home to one of the best restaurants in the area. The four upstairs rooms are especially popular with boaters, who are welcomed at the dock.
Hiram Blake Camp | Cape Rosier
This prime example of a relaxed family-style rural camp dates back to 1916, with the great-granddaughter of its founders still greeting guests.
Oakland House | Brooksville
A resort colony that offers eight cottages situated beside woods and water, four newly renovated rooms and suites in the main inn, and simple, hostel-style accommodations in the guest house.
Pentagöet Inn | Castine
Perched on a bluff in the heart of the village, this 19th-century Queen Anne Victorian has plenty of architectural wow factor, not to mention a restaurant and an atmospheric old-world pub.
Where to Shop
Art Galleries | Blue Hill and Deer Isle
You can easily spend a day immersed in the work of the artists and artisans who have been drawn to this region. For inspiration, browse the chamber of commerce listing.
Blue Hill Books | Blue Hill
This literary oasis in the heart of Blue Hill is a favorite stop for locals including novelists Jonathan Lethem and Beth Gutcheon.
Compass Rose Bookstore | Castine
A beloved institution, with a café in the back for reading with coffee in hand.
Devta Doolan | Deer Isle
The noted jewelry designer’s first brick-and-mortar shop features not only her work but also that of many other talented artisans.
Pushcart Press | Sedgwick
If you catch Pushcart Press founder Bill Henderson at his hobbit hole of a bookshop, prepare to discuss all things reading and writing.
Have you ever visited Blue Hill, Maine, or Deer Isle, Maine? What are your favorite spots in the Blue Hill region? Let us know in the comments below.
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