Jutting proudly into the Atlantic, Deer Isle is one of the largest of the 3,000 islands dotted along Maine’s rocky coast. The
slender green suspension bridge from the mainland flies high over
Eggemoggin Reach, a wide channel connecting Penobscot Bay to the
ocean, and delivers the visitor arriving by car or truck onto Little Deer
Isle. Drivers then negotiate a sea-level causeway lined with granite
boulders. It took us more than 15 hours to drive from Annapolis,
Maryland – our boat packed to the gills with kayaks, paddles, bikes,
coolers, life jackets, a homemade cornhole game, and lots of gear and
electronics for all.
Enjoying Deer Isle is all about being outside – boating, hiking, fishing, kayaking, biking, beachcombing, clam digging, blueberry picking,
and exploring. Every island beach and promontory delivers captivating
views, and the 12-foot tides, fog, wind, and waves can reconfigure
these vistas dramatically hour by hour. A serene harbor dotted with colorful lobster buoys becomes a moody, rocky, seaweed-strewn badlands
the next time you look.
There’s a strong sense of community here, with weekly farmers markets, a lobster co-op, a town hall, and an Opera House.
Sunshine Road borders the eastern side of the island, and on the
western side lies the village of Sunset. Home base for many is the
village of Stonington, which hangs on the edge of the Atlantic at
Deer Isle’s southern tip. Scenic and ever so slightly industrial, the
charming town’s classically Maine cottages and businesses scramble
together down a steep hill to the ever-changing harbor. The view
inland from the waterline at low tide is of gnarly long-legged wharves
and beached wooden dinghies. To seaward, countless small islands
protect and create the harbor, defining a spectacular stretch of water
called the Deer Island Thorofare and the route that fishing boats take
to the sea.
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
On laid-back mornings, we visited antiques stores to collect blue
bottles, clam barges, and old windows for pennies. We chatted with
artists in mom-and-pop art galleries; bought homemade goat cheese,
sausages, and pies at farmers markets; and picked low-bush blueberries
on sunny hillsides. We combed the pebbly beaches for bits of wave-worn sea glass to fill Mason jars and, in the evenings, danced in the vil-
Clockwise from above left: Abby Powell makes a new
friend. The sunset over Deer Isle’s Northwest Harbor.
Lobsterman Mark Billings.
Kayaks proved a great way to explore the rocky islands.
Caleb Powell gets the Boston Whaler ready.