Lodging in Maine: 12 Places to Stay
Hermit Island, Small Point
For those who object to even a pane of glass getting between themselves and the sound of the surf, Hermit Island is the place to be. It’s one of Maine’s most striking campgrounds, with 275 sites spread across 255 acres of island, which is connected to the mainland by a causeway.
This campground, which is privately owned, has always been managed with tent campers in mind. RVs aren’t allowed (small pickup campers are permitted). You’re very close to the elements here, with some sites right amid the dunes overlooking the ocean. When the surf’s up, pounding along the white sand beaches and headlands, you’ll know in advance because your tent will be shaking and rattling in the wind. And when your tent is quiet and warmed with summer’s morning rays, you’ll know it’s a day to sun on the beach or kayak around the island’s many coves. Even in late summer, when the sky darkens before 8:00, you can sit at a picnic table for a candlelit game of hearts and let the murmurs of the sea keep score.
Keeper’s House Inn, Isle au Haut
Sadly, lighthouses have been sentenced to live out their days on calendars, placemats, and postcards. Most have been automated, many sold off by the government and relegated to the category of camp icon — something to emblazon on all things touristy. They once meant so much more: a way of life, a sense of both independence and vulnerability. Lighthouse keepers were the cowboys of the ocean — dependent on their own wits and wiles, keepers of their own time.
You can recapture that sensibility at the Keeper’s House, adjacent to a lovely lighthouse, with just one guest room and two cottages. The owners note they have “no television, no fax, no e-mail, no Internet” — a list that falls somewhere between disclaimer and boast. The main house, built in 1907, is decorated mostly with natural light, which seems to bounce in from the ocean at every angle. (Solar and wind power provides the evening light and hot water.) The meals, which are included in the rate, are delicious, simple fare. And the soundtrack, always on, is that of the ocean persistently coaxing the island into sand.
Inn by the Sea, Cape Elizabeth