One of the area’s best fine dining offerings is in the historic Pilgrim’s Inn tucked on the shore of Northwest Harbor in Deer Isle overlooking the Camden Hills.
When you enter the post-and-beam building with its gabled roof, stepping on the wide pumpkin pine floors takes you back to 1793.

While you’re waiting for fresh seafood and locally grown vegetable dishes, order a cocktail crafted with Maine spirits and fresh herbs grown outside.

The inn has 8-foot-wide fireplaces, original to the building in the common and tap rooms. Most rooms have original hardware.

Owners Tony Lawless and Tina Oddleifson credit the inn’s previous owners with keeping the building in good condition.

“Everyone who’s owned the inn has taken care of it,” Oddleifson said.

“They’ve paid attention to it,” Lawless added.

Ignatius Haskell, one of the earliest justices of the peace on Deer Isle, built the inn, which features 12 guest rooms and three cottages as well as a library and game room (board games).
The couple bought the inn in 2005 after searching extensively for the right place. The rambling place affords fine views of the Camden Hills.

While Lawless was the inn’s chef for several years, these days he makes breakfasts. The inn’s chef today is Matthew Mattes, who is called “Chef Max.”
Lawless described the menu as “very seasonal, very fresh.”

Entrees from one of last summer’s menus included: Seared halibut, lobster risotto, asparagus and romesco sauce; Seared duck breast, dried cherry risotto, wilted arugula and pecans with a port-wine demi-glace and a vegetable bean cassoulet with walnuts, tarragon herb crust and salad.

Starters included minted pea soup, smoked haddock clam chowder, local clams steamed in PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon), onions and thyme and house-made chicken liver pate, local goat cheese, Nervous Nellie’s Chutney, house-blended olive oil and rosemary crackers.

The Pilgrim’s Inn raises its own herbs as well as raspberries for desserts and cocktails.
Guests or locals can enjoy a cocktail in the Whale’s Rib Tavern while waiting for a table in the dining room, which features a view of the Mill Pond, gardens and grounds. The grounds feature a petanque court where a local group meets weekly.

Cocktails include spicy grapefruit margarita, with jalapeño-infused tequila, triple sec, grapefruit and lime juice.