There is a certain secluded magic that hovers over Deer Isle in October, at the end of tourist season when the leaves are on the brink of turning magnificent colors. The American flag at the front of Pilgrim’s Inn on Main Street waves in the chill, brisk autumn air, while thick, knitted sweaters hug the figures of the last visitors of the season. The rustic burgundy exterior blends in with the changing leaves and compliments the end-of-summer flowers still hanging onto the afternoon golden rays of sunshine. The rock wall out front leads to a welcoming cobblestone path, inviting guests in from the crisp wind.
I ascend the stairs and enter a historic treasure trove, with lovingly used wood floors, Persian rugs, and antique artifacts among leather couches and armchairs by the fireplace. The staircase beckons, leading past hallways, corridors, and unique guest rooms to the third floor. Here, Room 11 sits tucked in the corner, with a floral duvet queen bed, lovely sitting space, and quaint window seat view of the gorgeous gardens and mill pond.
Pilgrim’s Inn embodies a forgotten charm, from the Chinese checkers game board by the first level fireplace to the rustic wooden tavern equipped with old lanterns and an antique wood burning stove. The mill pond out back and surrounding landscape are like a scene from a book. And among the natural inviting ambiance are a friendly, knowledgeable staff. Inn owner Tina Oddleifson and her husband Tony Lawless not only create a homey environment for guests but are willing to help plan Deer Isle adventures and escapades in any way they can. I’ve been working with Tina and Tony for a little over six months now as their content creator at Q4Launch and we have seen social media grow and bookings improve. Though they are closed for the winter, we will continue to work to make sure next season is just as successful as this year’s.
I had the special honor of spending an afternoon with Tony on his private boat touring Deer Isle and some of the surrounding islands in the Downeast archipelago. We ate sandwiches in Seal Cove, visited Stonington harbor, and whizzed through the lobster buoys on our jaunt over to Crotch Island. Tony has his touches all over the inn, from his home-crafted aged tequila available at the bar to weekly games of Petanque (the French version of Bocce) in the sand pit in the yard. There are other touches as well– the artisanal metal whale sculpture by the pond and a beautiful whale weather vane (are you catching a theme here?)
An afternoon on the water was a highlight of the trip, but so were the many other outdoor adventures I pursued during my stay. I especially enjoyed my favorite hike of the trip just a few miles away at the Barred Island Preserve. This enchanted forest landscape is breathtaking. You enter the dense, mossy woods and arrive at a sea-glass covered beach. If you catch the trail at low tide, you can cross over to the nearby island and explore its rocky shores! I was lucky enough to not only do this but catch a magnificent sunset, which I absorbed with my eyes and not my camera lens for a change.
As the sun sank into the water on that last evening of my stay, the majestic reflections of the surrounding forest scape echoed along the smooth surface in unforgettable ripples. Pilgrim’s Inn has created truly unforgettable memories.