By Melissa Coleman
Located in Deer Isle Village, this historic building dates back to the eighteenth century.
When Ignatius Haskell built what is now the Pilgrim’s Inn in 1793, on a land bridge between the sea and Mill Pond, it was intended to house his family of nine children. These days, the four-story, post-and-beam building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, offers 12 rooms and three cottages to an ever-growing family of Deer Isle visitors—which recently included myself and my twin daughters.
We arrived to find the familiar island mist on the water on both sides of the tall, maroon building in the center of Deer Isle Village. A dewy brick walkway led us across a bright green lawn to the front door. When we walked over the threshold we stepped back in time to find a front hall flanked by a game room and a sitting room, each with one of the massive brick fireplaces around which the house was built. Original wide pumpkin floors and wood paneling maintain the historic look of the interior, which has been freshly painted and comfortably decorated with antiques and updated furniture.
The girls were delighted to find our room a deep cobalt blue, with those pumpkin floors sloping from the fireplace to the back windows overlooking Mill Pond. We set out to explore the rooms with innkeepers Tina Oddleifson and Tony Lawless, who purchased the establishment six years ago. From floor to floor, each room was as neat and carefully kept as the last, offering a range of price points. The three adjacent cottages provide more modern, family-friendly options.
As in olden days, the daylight basement houses a kitchen and dining area, which now looks out to the patio, herb garden, and a newly added court for pétanque, a French game similar to bocce that’s big with the locals (including innkeeper Tony). The new bar area (featuring a small-plate menu) is a popular hangout for locals and visitors alike, and the Whale’s Rib Tavern is charmingly housed in the attached barn, where we were happy to spend breakfast and dinner. The griddle pancakes and applewood-smoked bacon were complemented by fresh fruit and friendly service. Dinner wowed the girls with a huge plate of beer-battered fish-and-chips, and me with a divine seared halibut and lobster and pea risotto. Both items came highly recommended by friends, as did the inn, and I’m happy to extend these recommendations to anyone looking for comfortable accommodations that combine history, community, and natural beauty. Ignatius, I assume, would be impressed.