The Keeper’s House – Isle Au Haut, Maine - Atlas Obscura

The Keeper’s House

Isle Au Haut, Maine

A former lighthouse keeper's abode is now a rustic vacation rental. 

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Built in 1907, The Keeper’s House is a former lighthouse station which is now privately-owned, and available for rent. The main house has four bedrooms and two baths, and the cottage has one bed and an outhouse. Water is drawn from the ocean and converted to potable water by reverse osmosis machinery in the cellar. Electricity is made by solar panels and a diesel-powered generator. The lighthouse is operational, but is owned by the Town of Isle au Haut. Guests should not expect to be able to tour the inside of the tower.

Know Before You Go

As with all the greatest of great vacations, the journey to the actual place is as fun as the destination itself. Here is how one gets to the tiny, remote island of Isle au Haut (year round population is 45). By Seaplane - A seaplane can pick you up at either the Portland or Bangor airports and fly your party to Isle au Haut with the landing on Long Pond. With advance notice, The Keeper's House can make arrangements for someone here on the isle to get you and your party out at the pond. To charter your flight, call Penobscot Island Airways at (207) 596-7500. By Private Sailboat or Motor Boat - Anchor in the Isle au Haut Harbor in the passage which the island residents know as "The Thorofare." Our latitude/longitude compass coordinates are 44.064524 -68.651113. Weather permitting, The Keeper's House may have a dock of its own out in the water at the time of your visit; call the reservationist for the latest dock status. By Sea Kayak - Bring yourself to the northwestern part of Isle au Haut named "Robinson Point" (where the lighthouse is located) and then paddle eastwards. Then look for the cobble beach area on land and paddle ashore to the opening on the small rocks. Walk through the grassy field about 50 yards, and then turn right and walk up the driveway 200 yards to the Inn. By Commercial Airline - The two nearest regional international airfields are in Bangor and Portland Bangor - about two hours from Bangor to Stonington ferry - Bangor International Airport ("BGR"), currently served by Allegiant, American, Delta, and United. Portland - about three and a half hours from Portland to the Stonington ferry - Portland International Jetport ("PWM"), currently served by American, Delta, Elite, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, and United. The small regional airports serving commuter planes and the private aircraft of Keeper's House guests are: Hancock County-Bar Harbor Airport in Bar Harbor ("BHB"); Knox County Regional Airport in Rockland ("RKD"); and Stonington Municipal Airport ("LID 93B") Cape Air flies into Hancock County-Bar Harbor and Knox County-Rockland - (800) CAPEAIR Silver Airways flies into Bar Harbor - (801) 401-9100 http://www.silverairways Penobscot Island Airways flies into Bar Harbor, Knox County, and Stonington - (207) 596-7500 - Rental car companies doing business out of the Bangor Airport are Alamo, Avis, Budget, and Hertz and out of Portland Jetport are Alamo, Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, and National. By Automobile - From Points South - Take Interstate 295 and 95 to Augusta, pick up Route 3 to Belfast, and then take the road called "Route 1 &3" east through Bucksport to Orland, follow Route 15 South to Stonington. From Points North - Take 95 to Bangor then 395 to Brewer, then take Route 15 South to Stonington. On your drive, you will pass over several remarkable bridges en route - the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory just before Bucksport, a narrow steel and cable suspension bridge (The Sedgewick-Deer Isle Bridge into Little Deer Isle), and the serpentine stone causeway which curves through the tidal flats of Deer Isle. If you have time to spare before catching the ferry in Stonington, then pull over in Bucksport to enjoy the art galleries and bookstores, in Searsport for its antique stores, Blue Hill for its art galleries and crafts stores, Little Deer Isle Village for its quaint gift stores, and Stonington for its galleries, boutiques, coffee shops, and waterfront strolling. Once on Route 15 South you will take this road to the very end, following all signs to Stonington -- the 36 miles (58 km) on this road will take you about 60 minutes drive time. Keep a sharp eye out for the occasional road signs saying "15 South." Once in Stonington, look for signs for the "Ferry to Isle au Haut" and turn left down Seabreeze Avenue. The ferry company is at the bottom of the hill. For an end address for your GPS, use the mail boat company's physical address of 37 Seabreeze Avenue, Stonington Maine 04681. By Passenger Ferry on a non-profit locally-operated boat company - NB: no cars are allowed on any ferry to Isle au Haut, the small ferry boats are for passengers and light cargo only. For current ferry schedule, see Mail Boat Company website at The mailboat office phone number is (207) 367-5193 and email address is ; they are the kindest people so feel free to inquire with them on any ferry matters. Payment may be made by cash, MasterCard or American Express. No ferry reservations are accepted and all boats are first-come and first-served, so it is recommended that you arrive at least 60 minutes before boat departure time. The six mile boat ride (9.66 km) will take about 40 minutes -- 40 wonderful minutes. You will ride on one of two small boats, either The Mink or The Otter. On the way, keep an eye out for lobster boats, a granite quarry, bald eagles, and numerous types of ducks and gulls. You may even see some porpoises. The walk to The Keeper's House is about one mile (1.6 km) from the Isle au Haut dock, known locally as the "Town Landing" -- or by prior-arrangement, The Keeper's House may have a van in the parking lot for your use and the keys will be in the ignition. From the Town Landing, head up the hill up the road to the right of the parking lot, then stay on the pavement until it ends, then continue on the dirt road. Then look for the first right, a dirt and gravel path marked at the start by a three prong tree and a small sculpture of loose rocks. The walk down our dirt and gravel path is itself a treat: you'll pass by a freshwater marsh area teaming with wildlife, go through a forest of mature spruce, fir, white cedar, and mixed hardwoods, pass by a meadow with wildflowers with a view of the ocean and cobble beaches, and then straight up a short hill before the lighthouse comes into view. You've arrived at your new home to begin your best vacation ever!

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