Our mid-week getaway to North Haven couldn’t have been more enjoyable. We just missed the peak season, so we felt as though we had the quiet island all to ourselves. With an adorable village, a handful of trails, and more island to bike than one could possibly fit into a short trip, we had plenty to do on our own and with Orvis and Mason. Unlike many remote Maine island experiences (North Haven is an hour ferry ride from Rockland), the restaurants and the food on the island left little to be desired, and over the course of four days, Meredith, her mother, and I ate our fill, laughed a lot, and relaxed even more. Here are some of the highlights from our trip:
Staying at Nebo Lodge has been high on our list of places to visit since Bon Appétit listed the inn as one of “The Best Food Lover’s Hotels in America.” Although the inn is plenty old (the building was the original inn on the island), it’s styled in a clean, modern cottage aesthetic, with Angela Adams accents and carefully selected art throughout to balance with its age. Read more about our time at Nebo Lodge here.
In their off-season, the restaurant at Nebo closes on Thursday nights, which gave us the perfect opportunity to enjoy a meal around the corner at Calderwood Hall, the local pizza shop and market. The weather turned out to be beautiful on that last night, so we decided to switch up the plans a bit, ordered our dinner to go, and returned to the inn for a picnic with the pups on the porch. Our fall pie, with butternut squash, sage, caramelized onions, and ricotta was simply amazing, and the pork tacos we started with were easily some of the best we’ve tried. As we polished off the last of our dinners on the island, we couldn’t help but reminisce about our meals on North Haven and note the fact that the food was a major selling point of our trip.
Hopkins Wharf Gallery
One of the more beautiful pieces of art at Nebo was the dining room wall mural, painted by David Wilson, one of the owners of the Hopkins Wharf Gallery just down the hill from the inn. We highly recommend stopping into the gallery to see their collection of locally-inspired, coastal Maine paintings, sculptures, jewelry, and furniture.
Upon our arrival, the innkeeper at Nebo, Liz, immediately pointed out this short hike to the highest point on the island, just outside of the village. We enjoyed the view and the fern-lined hike so much, that we ended up taking the dogs up Ames Knob three separate times during our stay on North Haven.
A gorgeous sister property to Nebo Lodge and Calderwood Hall, Turner Farm is an organic vegetable, flower, poultry, herb, and egg farm that overlooks the water from a beautiful hilltop barn. They also produce a variety of livestock and operate a dairy and creamery, and all together, supply a good portion of the food for Nebo and Calderwood. Sadly, we missed their seasonal barn dinners farm stand (next time, this will be a must), but just enjoyed adding the farm and the view to our bike ride.
Mullen Head Park
When our waitress at the inn found out that we were planning on borrowing a few bikes to explore the island, her eyes lit up and she insisted that we visit Mullen Head Park. Michael and I made the trek out to this beautiful, expansive park, and although it was incredibly windy on the particular day we chose, we took a moment to enjoy the views of nearby Deer Isle and one of the three beaches that make up the park. Our trip to Mullen Head was the one time we realized that we missed not having a car on the island, as the dogs would have had the entire park to themselves to run and play. Maybe next time!
FOX i Printworks
As our mid-week October visit coincided with what is considered to be a quieter time on the island, not all of the shops were keeping summer hours, but we were hoping that at some point we’d be able to pop into FOX i Printworks, a print shop located right downtown, after seeing a few of their stylish signs posted on the various island message boards scattered about. Fortune would have it that the doors were wide open on our last full day, so we took the opportunity to duck inside, eager to browse their colorful collection of cards, tea towels, pillows, t-shirts, and other gifts in person. A few of our favorite items were their waves tea towel, triangle-patterned pillow, and silkscreen printed leather key chain (which now holds onto the studio keys for me!).
We enjoyed two relaxed and delicious lunches (thick BLTs + tasty wraps) with the dogs right on the porch of Cooper’s Landing in the center of town. Even in October, Cooper’s was bustling – I can only imagine how busy it must be in the height of the summer.
All photos taken by Meredith Perdue for Map & Menu.