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“Wonderful weekend”
Review of The Keeper's House

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The Keeper's House
Ranked #1 of 1 Isle Au Haut B&B and Inns
Reviewed September 4, 2013

Though we live only 15 miles as the crow flies from Isle au Haut, it is one of our favorite day trips. We had always wanted to spend a couple of days there to explore and when we heard the Keeper's House was back in business we booked a weekend in the Oil House. We were dropped off at the Keeper's dock on a Friday afternoon and shown our digs at the Oil House. Very, very cute, with a clean and funky privy. No sun shower as advertised on their website, but we were free to use the two Inn baths for showers. Our weekend goal was to explore parts of the island we had never to, mostly outside of Acadia Nat'l Park. After we unpacked Tracy showed us the bikes and filled us in on the roads and some hikes we could do along the way. We circumnavigated the island on bikes that afternoon, what fun! Boom Beach and Long Pond were stops along the way. Sauteed scallops were on the menu that night and were expertly prepared by Chef Eileen. After a wonderful breakfast on Saturday we headed to town on bikes then walked up Champlain Mtn to see the whale skull someone had schlepped to the top. There were distant views of Stonington at the end of an easy meandering walk up the 'mountain' through various levels of vegetation from huckleberry to pitch pine then deciduous mixed with spruce. On to lunch (BLTs, trail mix, apple and cookie packed by the Inn) at boom beach then down to Long Pond for a swim. Saturday dinner was duck breast and delicious - I was careful not to over eat as I had done the night before because everything is sooo good. I had been a little worried about the close quarters with other guests, but those worries were unfounded. Everyone was friendly, relaxed and fun. The staff was the same! A big thank you to Marshall, Juile, Tracy, Eileen and the young local girls on staff (sorry I can't remember your names!). Sunday we caught the 12:15 boat home from the Keeper's dock after hiking Seal Trap trail in the morning. It all went too fast and we were very sad to leave and next time would do 3 nights.

Room Tip: The oil house is great - off by itself with its own deck with view of the dock, it has a privy sever...
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank scgiant
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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29 - 35 of 40 reviews

Reviewed August 27, 2013

Unforgettable experience. Kind, friendly hosts. World class cook. Period inn with character and charm. Beautifully located by the lighthouse on the tip of an Atlantic island off the coast on Maine that also hosts parts of Acadia National Park. Et in Arcadia ego.

  • Stayed: August 2013
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1  Thank GlobalTravellerJEM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 26, 2013

My husband and I recently stayed at the keepers house to celebrate our 20 yr anniversary. This was the last leg of our week stay in Maine after having spent several days in Bar Harbor and I must say we saved the best for last.
We stayed in the old oil house which was beyond perfect. We loved having candles for lighting, having headlamps to wear to see to walk to the Outhouse and we loved having our own private deck with an amazing view.
The food was amazing! Dinner started with appetizers, shrimp bisque soup, salad. Then came duck with fresh green beans and quinoa and desert. Breakfast was great and they even pack you a great bagged lunch.
At first when I saw the price I thought it was way to high. I quickly realized that if I figured out how much it would cost me to eat out breakfast,Lunch and dinner plus the price to rent a bike or row boat (which are included with your stay here) then it really isn't that expensive at all. Its more of an all inclusive instead if a bed and breakfast . if you want to de-stress and relax and enjoy the beauty and nature and good food then you will love this place. If you are looking for a four seasons with wifi for your iPad and a flat screen tv to watch your baseball games then don't bother this isn't for you!

  • Stayed: August 2013
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1  Thank sstradling
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 26, 2013

My husband and I recently stayed at the keepers house to celebrate our 20 yr anniversary. This was the last leg of our week stay in Maine after having spent several days in Bar Harbor and I must say we saved the best for last.
We stayed in the old oil house which was beyond perfect. We loved having candles for lighting, having headlamps to wear to see to walk to the Outhouse and we loved having our own private deck with an amazing view.
The food was amazing! Dinner started with appetizers, shrimp bisque soup, salad. Then came duck with fresh green beans and quinoa and desert. Breakfast was great and they even pack you a great bagged lunch.
At first when I saw the price I thought it was way to high. I quickly realized that if I figured out how much it would cost me to eat out breakfast,Lunch and dinner plus the price to rent a bike or row boat (which are included with your stay here) then it really isn't that expensive at all. Its more of an all inclusive instead if a bed and breakfast . if you want to de-stress and relax and enjoy the beauty and nature and good food then you will love this place. If you are looking for a four seasons with wifi for your iPad and a flat screen tv to watch your baseball games then don't bother this isn't for you!

  • Stayed: August 2013
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Thank sstradling
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 13, 2013

We've been coming to Isle au Haut for many years, we love the island and know how life is here. This was our first time at the Keeper's House however. The food is amazing. Breakfast, lunch and dinners were astounding (I love to cook, we qualify as certified *foodies* and every meal was perfect). But be aware, life on the Island is rustic. We stayed in the Oil House and appreciated the privacy it afforded. However... there is no electricity and visiting the privy requires a short walk. Yes, it's a privy but the artwork and craftsmanship on display will fail to diffuse the objections of only the most privileged and spoiled (if you expect a hairdryer or wifi, please don't bother)

It's a unique experience that you simply can't get anywhere else for any price. Bicycles and a rowboat (a Whitehall, no less) are available for exploring both land and sea.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank DSBAKKER
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 8, 2013

The three previous TripAdvisor reviews accurately capture the headlines: 1) the Keeper’s House is back in business with a new owner and team, and 2) the guest experience is excellent, despite the 6-year hiatus and very recent reopening (mid-June).

I agree with the comments in those reviews, so, rather than repeat what has already been covered, I will add a few observations.

Marshall and his team are deeply committed to both the island and to this property. Having only discovered Isle au Haut and the inn shortly before our visit, and having learned some of the history of both, I am thrilled that this unique place is once again delivering wonderful experiences to those fortunate enough to visit.

Although one reviewer mentioned that Acadia National Park covers roughly half of the island, it is worth elaborating. Guests can easily hike or bike to the park trails, which provide spectacular views, including rocky cliffs. Or have someone drive you around to the far side of the island (one road roughly “circles" the island) so that you only have to hike or bike back. Or arrange for them to pick you up again, at a designated time. The delicious picnic lunch provided by the Inn is perfect for these outings. Modern, clean bikes are also provided by the Inn. A long, narrow lake also serves as a popular swimming destination. Alternatively, settle into one of the several, iconic Adirondack chairs on the bluffs and read or simply enjoy the wonderful views to sea (mainland and islands in far distance). The inn features a small library, so plenty of reading material is available if you don’t bring enough. Take enough wine for your dinners and chair time. The staff will happily chill your white wine in the kitchen fridge (one bottle at a time). We saw dolphins swimming past the property.

The traveler photograph shown on the TripAdvisor page (as of today) is incorrectly identified as the Keeper’s House. It is a photograph of the converted Woodshed Cottage (reportedly, not available for rent this summer) as viewed when coming up from the boat house, and is directly behind the Keeper’s House. Be sure to visit the photo gallery on the inn’s web site for a more complete “picture” at www.keepershouse.com/photo-gallery.htm

I will attempt to upload several photographs taken during the 1st week of July 2013, including images of the boat house, the oil house (small, somewhat remote “cottage”), the owner’s collection of pristine, antique vehicles, images of the lighthouse, and a beautiful sunset and sunrise.

The property is “off the grid”, although the small town 1.5 miles away does have power and phones and internet. Cellular service on the entire island is spotty, relying on signals from the mainland. Adding to the ambiance, evening meals were by candlelight and oil lamps. An oil lamp provides light for the stairs at night, and LED headlamps (flashlights) are thoughtfully provided in the rooms.

Returning to prior TripAdvisor reviews: there is an anonymous review posted in October 2004, years before the inn’s hiatus (2007-2013). It should be moot by now, the themes are universal and worth addressing. Frankly, I was surprised to see that 24 people found it helpful.

- Complaining about the cost of the boat ride and parking is like complaining about airfare and airport parking in a review for a hotel in Europe, or in a review for a resort in the Bahamas. If you don’t want to pay for someone else to transport you across the ocean, then get yourself there on your own boat or sea plane. Being on an island is a lovely feature, not a drawback.

- It is a mistake to compare the Inn’s pricing to Bed & Breakfasts. A better comparison would be an all-inclusive, yet exclusive resort (few people, 3 meals/day included). Better still to make sure that comparison resort is also on an island, where all the provisions have to be brought in by boat, and the staff have to either live on the island or commute.

- Complaining that the oil house cottage had “no running water” is odd. The main house has 3 bedrooms on the second floor that share one bathroom, and a loft with its own bathroom. The oil house “cottage” is the converted oil storage shed (the lighthouse is now solar-powered) and comfortably houses a bed, a side table and a small dresser. It also features the only private patio. Having no bathroom amenities in the oil house is both clearly documented, and more than compensated for by the very private setting near the water. My sunrise photographs are taken from this area. Having stayed in both the main house and the oil house during our July visit, I can say that both are wonderful options, and that choosing between them was difficult. Guests who stayed in the cottage while we were in the main house also raved about the setting.

- The reviewer's feeling of being “ripped off” suggests unrealistic expectations. I left after 4 nights with exactly the opposite feeling: our stay was a very good value, and I look forward to visiting again (despite our 10+ hour drive to get there).

We had never heard of this inn three months ago, and our only connection to it is our truly wonderful experience in July. We have traveled to many getaways around the world, a number of them on islands, and we selected this inn in the hopes that it might join our list of “special places”. I am happy to say that it has!

Finally, if you are curious about the history of this inn, I recommend “Island Lighthouse Inn" by Jeffrey Burke. It chronicles Jeff and Judi's fascinating journey, which gave us The Keeper’s House Inn. For more information about the island, consider reading “The Lobster Chronicles” by Linda Greenlaw. If the TripAdvisor reviews aren’t enough to make you book your stay, then skim these books to get yourself across the finish line. And, once you have your reservation, read the books before arriving. You will feel as if you’ve stepped right into these (overlapping) stories as soon as you board the mail boat in Stonington.

Room Tip: All rooms in main house and the oil shed cottage have wonderful views. Rooms in main house are larg...
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Isle_and_fun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 11, 2013

In my opinion there is no better way to experience Maine island life than a trip to Isle Au Haut with a stay at The Keepers House.
If you are looking for Holiday Inn experience you'll be heading to the wrong place. If you can enjoy simple things like great food, friendly people and an island that is nearly completely undeveloped you'll enjoy your stay with Marshall and his staff.
The staff was very friendly and was able to meet our every need.
The inn is off the grid and has only one bathroom. It sounds much worse than it actually is, everything worked out very well an staff keep the inn very clean and tidy.
The intimacy of the inn is unreal and creates a very special atmosphere. The dining room has four tables in it but for breakfast and dinner we found ourselves in conversations throughout the room.
Three excellent meals a day were provided in the nightly room rate and you have 24 hour access to the kitchen just like home. The staff worked around my food allergy without a problem and made me three gluten free meals.
The stay was great, the island was great, we're planning to return again next year.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank B S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Keeper's House

Address: PO Box 26, Isle Au Haut, ME 04645-0026
Location: United States > Maine > DownEast and Acadia Maine > Isle Au Haut
Amenities:
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 B&Bs / Inns in Isle Au Haut
Price Range: $300 - $375 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
One of the few funtioning lighthouse inns in the US and the only bed and breakfast on the Isle Au Haut in Maine. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
The Keeper's House Isle Au Haut, Maine

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