Wining, Dining, and Sleeping in Stonington, Maine

Between 2002 when we were first introduced to Deer Isle and 2005 when our house was finished, we stayed in three of the island’s accommodations and ate at many of the restaurants.  Several of my readers have asked for more information on a few of our favorites and I’m happy to oblige by telling you about two of each.

I’ve already mentioned Inn at the Harbor.  Perched on the edge of the water in Stonington, there are thirteen comfortably furnished rooms to choose from.  All of them have their own bathrooms, appealing antiques, and sitting areas with overstuffed sofas.  Several rooms have their own wood stoves and a few have private decks with views of the Penobscot Bay.   We have stayed at this in a couple of times and found the inn  charming and comfy.  A delicious continental breakfast with fresh-baked goods, fruit, and espresso coffee is available in the delightful dining room.  The owner is not always there as she splits her time between the inn and her farm.  We’ve been lucky to meet her on several occasions and her charisma and stories are delightful.   This is one of the higher priced accommodations on the island but it is the perfect place to watch and listen to the lobstermen. Warning, they leave EARLY in the morning.  The flowered deck is a great place to have a drink in the evening and watch the sunset. You can’t beat the location however downtown Stonington can be noisy during the tourist season so if you are looking for quiet and solitude, either visit during off-season or check out one of the other lodgings.   But if you want a romantic place on the water near all the shopping and other attractions, this place is perfect.

If you are staying at the Inn at the Harbor during off-season and want breakfast (or lunch or dinner), I recommend the favorite of the locals – the Harbor Café right across the street.  The Harbor Café has down home food at reasonable prices.  It is one of the few restaurants on the island that open all year and a gathering place where residents catch up on news or gossip about the going price for lobsters or whatever is being fished.  The top seats in the house are at a table for two in front of a bay window looking out at the bay.  No matter what time of day or season, this view is magnificent.  The menu is simple.  Your best bet is to order whatever is in season and to save room for their delicious desserts.  My luncheon favorite is the humble fried haddock sandwich. Don’t be surprised if you notice that almost everyone there is having this too.  The fish is freshly caught, dipped in clam fry mix, and fried quickly.  It’s served on a hamburger bun with tartar sauce on the side and you can count on it being hot, crispy, and lightly battered.  Of course lobster, scallops, and shrimp are also available in season. The portions are huge and satisfying.

The island is a web of family connections and it was through our builder that we first heard about his parents’ place, the Burgess Bed and Bath.  If you want to be near the town of Stonington but have a quiet getaway, this is the perfect spot.  It is located in a quiet neighborhood with and is a great place to read a book and enjoy their gazebo, picnic tables, lawn and perennial gardens, and yet it is very near the cove and all of the activities offered on the island. This bed and breakfast has 4 rooms, some are suites with private bathrooms.  We’ve stayed in various rooms in this lodging and our favorite was one of the suites above the deckhouse.  The rooms are immaculate and comfortable.  There is plenty of parking onsite.  This lodging is open all year-round and is very reasonably priced.  Colleen and Bob are native islanders and have a large extended family here.  I felt so comfortable with them that when our middle son and his friend came camping up to the Acadia National Forest, I gave them the number for the Burgess’ family and offered to rent them a room so they could get cleaned up and a good night’s sleep before driving back home. They took us up on it and both remarked on the kindness of the owners and the comfortable beds.

A great place for breakfast or lunch is Lily’s Café and Wine Bar in Stonington.  This charming, low-key restaurant is located in an old Victorian Mansard house and patrons have the option of ordering at the front and either walking to the back room or in good weather taking their food up to the deck on the roof.  Everything served in Lily’s is homemade and fresh – the produce is organic and local.  The menu is creative and the food is consistently wonderful.  I don’t think you can go wrong with anything you order from Lily’s.  They have recently added wine and beer to the menu and are open on Friday nights for dinner.  Kyra Alex moved to the island about thirteen years ago from the Midwest and she is a welcome addition to the community.  Kyra and her staff are unpretentious, sociable, and passionate about good food.  Our favorite sandwich is Russell’s Special – hard salami, cheese, baby arugula and lettuce, and artichoke hearts on a warmed French roll.  This is served with a red potato salad that is moist without having too much mayo.  You can shop for gourmet and imported grocery items (I found Panko crumbs!) or go upstairs where there are homemade quilts for your bed and some antiques to complete your home.   We ate at Lily’s yesterday and were invited to join them on Valentine’s Day for live music, a tapas bar, sangria, and Spanish beer.  We can’t think of a better way to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary!


About Shawn Phillips

As someone who has relocated several times – buying and selling houses of my own for personal and investment purposes – I can easily put myself in my clients’ shoes. I know what I needed from my Realtors and I attempt to provide that or better for my clients. My family relocated to Charleston six years ago and my love for the city and the lifestyle is one I enjoy sharing with others. Prior to entering real estate in the Low Country I was a hospital administrator for many years in Charleston and New York City and was a Realtor in Sarasota, Florida. Leveraging my experience, I pride myself in providing outstanding client service, availability, personal touches, multi-faceted marketing, and skilled negotiations. The level of trust given to me by a client is the greatest compliment I receive as a professional. It is the foundation of my practice. My dedication to each and every client is evident before, during, and after the sale!
This entry was posted in Accommodations and Restaurants, Retirement/Reinvention, Things to Do in Downeast Maine and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Wining, Dining, and Sleeping in Stonington, Maine

  1. Marie says:

    Nice descriptions! Makes me want to go visit. I almost moved there in 1985 w/my folks but went to the Midwest for the job market. We’re exploring up the coast from Portland, one peninsula or harbor at a time, so we’ll get there eventually.

  2. Hmmm interesting stuff

  3. LCD TV says:

    Hi, I cant understand how to add your site in my rss reader. Can you Help me, please 🙂

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