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Deer Isle or Southwest Harbor?

Tipp City, Ohio
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74 posts
6 reviews
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Deer Isle or Southwest Harbor?

Thanks to those who answered my air conditioning questions from a few days ago :-)

We've narrowed our choices to two locations for the four nights in late June we'll spend on the coast: either Deer Isle or Southwest Harbor. We don't mind taking day trips to one or the other, but we'd like to spend all four nights in the same place to avoid unpacking over & over.

Has anyone had first-hand experience with either The Pilgrim's Inn (Deer Isle) or Kingsleigh B&B (Southwest Harbor)? The Pilgrim's Inn offers slightly cheaper rates and more spacious accommodations, while Kingsleigh B&B offers closer proximity to the "big" part of Acadia National Park and harbor views from the room. Just wondering if anyone would recommend one spot over the other as a "home base." Or, am I missing another area which might be even better than these?

We are a mother-daughter pair looking for a relaxed vacation. We'll have a rental car and enjoy visiting small towns, taking leisurely bicycle rides, hiking, having lunch outside, and parking ourselves on beach chairs to read and enjoy a good breeze. Given the choice we'd prefer the open ocean over inner harbors. Any tips?

Many thanks!

Northern California
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27 posts
4 reviews
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1. Re: Deer Isle or Southwest Harbor?

Pilgrim's Inn on Deer Isle is where we honeymooned in the fall of '97 and I LOVED it. It's much more quiet than Southwest Harbor, but that's exactly what we wanted. We went biking (bikes were available for guests at the inn), walking, driving from there and never felt too far away from anything. Day trips to Blue Hill, Castine etc. were easy and beautiful.

Here's my caveat though...ownership has changed since we were there and although I have no reason to think that it's not still wonderful, I would look for more recent travelers' opinions.

I'll try to post some pictures here, but it is a very beautiful inn, in a very small town. The restaurant was incredible--in fact I bought their cookbook--but again, I would look for more recent opinions.

Bottom line though...you can't go wrong in that part of the world.

Bar Harbor, Maine
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for Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park
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2. Re: Deer Isle or Southwest Harbor?

Given your last paragraph, I'm inclined to say that Deer Isle may be your best bet. Certainly, it will be more quiet than will Southwest Harbor. A Deer Isle location should provide you with the quiet and opportunity for relaxation that you desire. Outings to Stonington and Blue HIll are well within a leisurely day's drive. Blue Hill has some very good restaurants.

If you appreciate decorative tiles, by all means, stop at Harbor Farms near Deer Isle.

Brunswick, Maine
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41 reviews
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3. Re: Deer Isle or Southwest Harbor?

Deer Isle is going to be much quieter than Southwest Harbor. It's on the Blue Hill Penninsula, which is gorgeous in it's own right and you could spend all four days there. There are plenty of things to see and do.

You could make a day trip to Acadia from Deer Isle, but if you want to spend more than one day in the Mount Desert Isand portion of Acadia, you'll probably grow tired of the "commute" as the roads are all two lane and winding. It could take you two hours each way if there is any traffic and you might not like the road after dark. So, I'd say if you are happy spending only one day (or no days) in Acadia, then pick Deer Isle. If you want more Acadia time, pick Southwest Harbor.

Tipp City, Ohio
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74 posts
6 reviews
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4. Re: Deer Isle or Southwest Harbor?

Thank you all for your advice! In return, if you ever need tips on Ohio destinations, feel free to contact me :-)

I really like the idea of making laid back Deer Isle our base and then taking a day trip to the Mt. Desert Island loop.

Cincinnati, Oh
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462 posts
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5. Re: Deer Isle or Southwest Harbor?

I guess I'm alone in my feelings about Deer Isle. I did not enjoy it at all. Southwest harbor would be my choice. About 4 years ago I rented a house in Sunset on Deer Isle. This was the worst experience I have ever had in my 15+ years of coming to Maine.Of course the house and the description was what we needed for our family. Our own small beach, kayaks out front, big deck. And more mosquitoes than you could count. We couldn't even get to the car without being eaten alive. There were holes in the window screens that we tried to patch with tape we found in the house. Nothing was as the owner described. We stayed 1 night and called the owner the next day and complained, without any sympathy from them, my oldest son try to reason with him to no avail. We packed up and left that morning losing the $1400.00 RENTAL FEE and headed to Camden which we were going to be staying the 2nd. week, we had to pay another $1500.00 to stay at Beloins until our next rental was available. We did find out the house in Sunset was surrounded by marshes and wetlands, great breeding ground for the mosquitoes!!!

I haven't been back to the area since, there are much better places to spend my money.

Bar Harbor, Maine
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for Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park
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6. Re: Deer Isle or Southwest Harbor?

pgatour: "I really like the idea of making laid back Deer Isle our base and then taking a day trip to the Mt. Desert Island loop."

If you decide to do that, count on an hour or a little better to get to MDI and Acadia. It's fairly slow going from Deer Isle back onto Blue Hill peninsula. Rte. 3 in Ellsworth and southbound toward MDI can be jammed at times.

When it gets closer to the time, go to the Bar Harbor forum and ask for directions for the short-cut through the Ellsworth area.

Bass Harbor, Maine
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7. Re: Deer Isle or Southwest Harbor?

This is another vote for Southwest. Southwest has everything that you've described and your itenerary seems full already - you only have three full days. Deer Isle will be a lengthy commute (over the river and through the woods - and across two bridges) and the 'short-cut' through Ellsworth really doesn't save any time, it's just woodsy, scenic and less-travelled. Will it be relaxing to have to commute everywhere? I would consider two nights in Southwest and two in Deer Isle. even with the pack/unpack check-in, etc. just to avoid all that driving. Hope this helps.

Tipp City, Ohio
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74 posts
6 reviews
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8. Re: Deer Isle or Southwest Harbor?

Thanks, everyone! I'll be sure to let you know which one we ended up picking and how our experience turned out. We're still mulling over the full trip itinerary and should be making reservations shortly.

9. Re: Deer Isle or Southwest Harbor?

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