Barred Island Preserve tide pool

Discover Barred Island Preserve

Fans of the nature, Maine’s gorgeous coastline, and a good hike will enjoy a visit to Barred Island Preserve, a quiet island sanctuary accessible only at low tide. Barred Island Preserve is a quiet, 28 acre, natural sanctuary located on the west side of Deer Isle, ME. It was once owned by Frederick Law Olmsted (1822 – 1903), famed landscape architect responsible for the creation of New York’s Central Park, among many other places. He was also one of the founding fathers of the national park system. Carolyn Olmstead, Olmstead’s grand-niece, donated the island to The Nature Conservancy in 1969. It is is currently managed by the Island Heritage Trust, a nonprofit land trust founded in 1987 by residents wanting to protect the land. The Preserve is a popular destination for nature lovers. Nature trails, well known for their beauty and wildlife, wind through a dark, moss blanketed forest to the beach. Hiking Barred Island Preserve The Preserve offers 1.5 miles of nature trails, rated easy to moderate, leading through a shaded, hilly, moss covered forest of spruce, fir, birch, and maple. In fact, this shadowy coastal forest has one of the thickest, most beautiful blankets of green moss around. Interpretive signs along the trail describe some of the unusual growths that you’ll see. The number and variety of birds found in the preserve will delight birders. Swainson’s thrushes, golden-crowned kinglets, red-breasted nuthatches, blackburnian warblers, blue-headed vireos, black-throated green warblers, and more. The main trail leads to a beach, while a side trail, the Shore Loop trail, leads to two memorial benches on a boulder called Prayer Rock. If you arrive at the beach at low tide, you can cross the sandbar to explore Barred Island. Just make sure you know when the tide is going to come back in because, once it does, that sandbar will be under 5 feet of water! Barred Island, is a tiny, scrubby, undeveloped wild island with no trail to follow. Most just enjoy the views of Penobscot Bay and Goose Cove from the granite slabs that make up its shoreline. Exercise caution if you decide to follow suit. The rocks can be slippery near the waterline. Getting There The Barred Island Preserve parking area is just under an hour’s drive from our Maine coast inn on Goose Cove Road in Deer Isle. Take the ME-166 from the inn to ME-166A S. Then turn right onto ME-199 N and follow it as it becomes first ME-175 S, then ME-15 S. Stay on Route 15 as you cross from Little Deer Isle onto Deer Isle, heading south for 4.1 miles until you can take a right on Main Street. Follow Main Street for a half mile, then turn left at the fork onto Sunset Road. Stay on Sunset Road for 2.7 miles, then turn right onto Goose Cove Road. Follow Goose Cove Road, keeping left at the intersections, for around 0.8 of a mile. The Barred Island Preserve parking area and trailhead will be on your left. If the lot is full, Island Heritage Trust requests that you visit another preserve or try another time. There is no alternate parking for the preserve along the road or anywhere else. This rule limits the number of people at the preserve, helping to maintain it as the special place it is. The preserve is open to the public for day use only. Maps of the preserve are available at the trailhead kiosk and the Island Heritage Trust office, located at 420 Sunset Road in Deer Isle. Learn more at the Island Heritage Trust. You can also view a preserve brochure with information and a map. Spend a few hours out soaking up the beauty of the unique, coastal Maine landscape, then it’s just a short drive back to your room at back to Pentagöet Inn & Wine Bar. Rejuvenate with some complimentary afternoon refreshments and don’t forget the inn is also home to a Wine Bar and Pub. How’s that for comfort and convenience?

Blockhouse Point at Witherle Woods Preserve

Explore Witherle Woods Preserve

Those looking to stretch their legs while soaking up some of that fantastic Maine coast scenery will enjoy exploring the forested trails of Witherle Woods Preserve. The historic, coastline forest features 193 acres of trails, expansive bay views, historic sites, and all less than 5 minutes from our Castine bed and breakfast, Pentagöet Inn. The Maine coast is a wonderland of fun things to do and see. Islands, lighthouses, historic seaside villages, shopping, dining, outdoor adventure, and all that gorgeous scenery! So much so, in fact, that you don’t have to go very far to find it. Witherle Woods Preserve is a great example of this: 193 acres of wooded hiking trails and stunning views, just 3 minutes from downtown Castine, ME. Witherle Woods Preserve was created in 1985 when the Hatch family donated 97-acres to the Maine Coast Heritage Trust. Other land donations have added to the acreage over the years, with the most recent expanding the preserve to 193 acres in 2020. A Little History Witherle Woods ecological and historic import made it an obvious choice for protection. In colonial times, the French used the site for a fort, mission, and trading post, with land for grazing, as well as recreation. Witherle Woods also witnessed some military action over the years. Archaeological research has located the remains of fortifications from both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 in the preserve. Blockhouse Point, for example, is both a popular scenic overlook and a historic military site. By the 1870s, much of the land making up the preserve was owned by George Witherle. Witherle added carriage roads, trails, and picnic areas, then opened the property to the public as Witherle Park. Today, you’ll find a forest alive with wildlife and crisscrossed by a trail network leading to scenic views of Penobscot Bay. Hiking and Skiing Witherle Woods Preserve Witherle Woods Preserve offers 3.7 miles of hiking trails, most of which are wide and easy to walk. Better yet, once the snow flies, the trails are groomed for cross-country skiing. Fun! To reach the preserve from Pentagöet Inn, take a left on Main Street and head northwest to Battle Avenue. Take a left on Battle Avenue and follow it for a half a mile. The turn off for the Witherle Woods parking lot will be on your right, just past the town reservoirs. Inside the preserve you’ll find a wealth of natural and historic attractions. Today, Blockhouse Point is just a popular scenic overlook on Penobscot Bay. During the War of 1812, however, this strategic location was the site of a British fort. You’ll also find the earthwork remains of Fort George here, built and successfully defended by British forces during the Revolutionary War. Other historic highlights include the Forward Battery from the Revolutionary War, a Lookout point, and two, semi-circular batteries built by British during the War of 1812. Natural attractions include the views, the lush forest, and lots of wildlife. A bird survey completed here in 2009 found 48 species. Those sighted included “edge” species like white-throated sparrow, northern parula, black-throated green warbler and winter wren. You may also spot osprey, eagles, and seals in the preserve. Some 195 plant species fill the forests and open areas. Red and white spruce, white pine, balsam fir, and stands of hardwood. A few of the trails even lead down to the water’s edge. The climb is a bit steep but the views and experience are worth it. Learn More Witherle Woods Preserve is open all year-round. Maps of the preserve’s trails are available online and onsite at the trailhead. Learn more at the Maine Coast Heritage Trust website. Spend an hour or two exploring the natural and historic wonders of Witherle Woods, then it’s just a 3 minute drive back to your room at Pentagöet Inn. Rejuvenate with some complimentary afternoon refreshments made fresh daily by our pastry chef or swing by our Wine Bar & Pub for a relaxing drink. Fantastic!

Holbrook Island Sanctuary

Discover Holbrook Island Sanctuary

Those looking for a hike or just a nice day out in nature will enjoy visiting nearby Holbrook Island Sanctuary. This gorgeous, protected area offers abundant hiking and wildlife viewing opportunities just across the harbor from downtown Castine, ME. Maine’s Blue Hill Peninsula, upon which Castine rests, is home to a wide variety of hiking and nature opportunities. So many that Pentagöet Inn offers a Hiking Adventures Package with guides and personal reviews of all major area trails. One of the closest and most popular natural areas near Castine is Holbrook Island Sanctuary. Though the word “island” is in the name, Holbrook Island Sanctuary is actually on the mainland with nearby Holbrook Island some four miles offshore and accessible only by boat. The 1,345 acre park borders Penobscot Bay. In fact, you can see it just across the bay from our inn! Visiting Holbrook Island Sanctuary Getting to Holbrook Island Sanctuary from Pentagöet Inn is a snap. The park is located at 172 Indian Bar Road, in Brooksville, ME, around 30 minutes from our Maine Coast bed and breakfast. The drive is a real treat, taking you past many a farm, overlook, and other attractions as you circumnavigate Northern Bay and cross the Bagaduce River to your destination in Brooksville, ME. Holbrook Island Sanctuary protects a variety of ecosystems. There are beaches, marshes, meadows, forest land, ponds, rocky coast, and more. Many of the preserve’s steep cliffs are actually the remnants of ancient volcanoes. A network of hiking trails provides more than 7 miles of easy to moderate hiking throughout the preserve. In winter, the sanctuary is open for snowshoeing and x-country skiing. The area is beautiful all year ’round but really shines in autumn when the leaves put on their fantastic color show. In fact, the sanctuary is alive with diverse plants, including a rainbow of wildflowers that bloom from early spring through late fall. Wildlife enthusiasts will have fun watching for evidence of the preserve’s animal inhabitants. Muskrats, beaver, otters, porcupine, deer, fox, bobcat, coyote, can all be found here. Birders come to spot bald eagles, osprey, great blue herons, bay ducks, and others. Park amenities include parking, bathrooms, picnic tables, and a launch for canoes and kayaks. Holbrook Island Sanctuary is free and open, 9am to sunset, all year round. Visit the sanctuary website for more information. Park trails are also well detailed on Maine Trail Finder. Spend the day out soaking up Maine’s natural beauty, then head back to Pentagöet Inn. We have complimentary afternoon refreshments, like homemade cookies or tarts, waiting for you and don’t forget we’re also a Wine Bar and Pub. Now that’s a vacation!

Boats in Castine Harbor

The History of Castine, Blue Hill, Penobscot Bay & Beyond

“History is a cyclic poem written by time upon the memories of man” – Percy Bysshe Shelley Visitors to Maine’s stunning Mid-Coast area end up in Castine for a variety of reasons. From the beautiful harbor, to the inviting natural landscape, to the picturesque small town feel, to the ideal location in the heart of the Blue Hill Peninsula; Castine is a jewel of the Maine Coast in every way.  An unexpected treat that a number if our guests don’t discover until they stay is that Castine has played a more pivotal role in the history of the United States than one would ever guess. Step back in time to discover the rich history of Castine, and The Pentagoet Inn…   Early History of Castine and Establishment First established in the 1630’s by the French, who built a fort here and named it Pentagöet, the region was hotly contested amongst world powers at the time, all hoping to gain a tactical foothold on the area. Destroyed by the Dutch in 1676, 100 years before the fateful events that would create the United States, the fort lay in ruins. Today, the remnants of the fort have long since turned to dust and a Roman Catholic church now occupies its grounds. The former location of the fort marked only by an informational sign and a small plaque, its existence is now but a faint memory in history. By 1713, the land on which it once stood and the area surrounding it were annexed by the British Empire and would slowly build into a small community leading up to the Revolutionary War. By 1760 the earliest permanent resident, a man by the name of John Perkins, had settled here. Building a house, which still stands today and is located on the street named after him in town, he helped grow the community to around twenty homes by the time 1776 rolled around.   The Revolutionary War and The Penobscot Expedition Kept out of the conflict due to its remote location, British soldiers would not establish a presence there until 1779 when they built Fort George. The fort here holds a unique story and was the site of one of the colonist’s most humiliating defeats. The Penobscot Expedition was an operation so plagued by difficulties and setbacks one could even call it cursed. The US colonists could barely muster a proper attack against the relatively small and lightly defended British fort and were held back by bickering commanders who couldn’t agree on a proper plan, soldiers with incredibly poor combat training, and delays that kept piling up the more they attempted to organize the operation. In the end, the attack was an utter failure, one of the largest fleets ever assembled by the American forces was sunk in their attempted retreat with only one ship escaping, and the fort would stand until the end of the war. If you’re interested in learning more about The Penobscot Expedition, and how Paul Revere of the famous Midnight ride was involved, then the book “The Fort” by Bernard Cornwell is highly recommended reading and fleshes out more history of the Castine and Blue Hill area. Now, unlike Fort Pentagöet, much of Fort George’s foundations can still be seen today and a tour of the grounds is an experience not to be missed. All the details of this operation and more can be found at the Castine Historical Society and is a must-visit for any history enthusiast or for those that want to learn more about the area’s past.   From Failure to Success   From the end of the Revolutionary war to the beginning of the Civil war was a time of great growth and prosperity for the town of Castine. Becoming a highly profitable harbor, the sea around the town was rich with fish and it soon became their main export. Built as the Customs House, the oldest U.S. Post Office continuously in service since 1833 resides in Castine. For a time Castine was home to the second busiest customs house after New York City. Due to its advantageous location, boats could reach the harbor several days earlier saving time, resources, and even lives, on a transatlantic journey. As the harbor grew and the town’s residents enjoyed this new prosperity, many merchants settled down and led lavish lives in the now wealthy city, their legacy surviving to today in the form of streets named after the merchant families and the large, extravagant homes that line Main Street, Court Street, and Perkins Street. A walk downtown in Castine can feel like stepping back in time, a distant echo of what was once, according to one source in 1850, the second wealthiest city in the United States. A statue dedicated to the 157 men who left to serve in the Civil War was erected in 1881 to honor their memory and it can still be seen today on the town commons. Around the time of the Civil War, the area’s economy changed as fishing boats gave way to steamboats bringing in tourists or “rusticators” as they were called at the time. Coming to Castine to stay at the numerous luxury hotels and pastoral summer cottages, the tourism industry boomed and brought even more wealth to the now popular destination known throughout America.   Death and Rebirth Though to those who lived in, it might have seemed like it would last forever, all good things eventually come to an end. By the 1920’s, the nature of transportation had changed. America was no longer getting around by steamboat or train and the age of the car had begun. Slowly forgotten by the rest of the world, Castine slipped back into the obscurity it once knew so well. The once lavish hotels that attracted so much wealth in the 1880’s and 90’s were abandoned and torn down. Today only a few remain, a faded memory of a distant time. Conflict would once again bring attention to the small town when the US entered … Read More

Couple sailing on one of the best Maine cruises

Mid-Coast Maine Cruises, Tours & Kayaking | Get Out on the Water

The best way to discover the beauty of Castine and the Blue Hill Peninsula in Maine is by getting out on the water on one of many mid-coast Maine cruises. Whether it be by sail, motor, paddle, or just floating and swimming, you’ll uncover what makes this area truly special when you experience it from the sea. The maritime history of this area has shaped it into what it is today and the only way to experience much of the natural beauty of Maine is from the water. There are so many ways to explore by vessel, and we recommend them all! Cruise Castine Harbor Enjoy a 2-hour excursion on the bay and get a picturesque view of the town of Castine when you book a water excursion with Guildive Cruise. This service offering Maine coastal cruises has been sailing the bay for 10 years and does not disappoint. Each trip is limited to six people so the entire experience is more personal. Explore Holbrook Island or Castine Harbor aboard their new boat, Lil’ Toot, from only $25 per person.* The best part is that guests are welcome to bring their own picnic, beer, or wine along! Isle au Haut Mail Boat Isle au Haut Boat Services operates year-round passenger, mail and freight service between Stonington and Isle au Haut, as well as seasonal service to the Duck Harbor Landing of Acadia National Park. As a resource-based island community, Isle au Haut relies on their water-based transportation to support their residents. Choose from sightseeing tours, lobster fishing scenic tours, or lighthouse cruises, and try to spot the iconic puffins on the way to the quietest and least crowded part of Acadia! Round trip fare for adults starting at $40, children 12 and under starting at $20.* Bring a picnic lunch from Windmill Gardens and make this a day of adventure with an unforgettable hike off the beaten path. Castine Kayak Adventures Explore Penobscot Bay up close on the water when you paddle with Castine Kayak Adventures. Everyone from beginners to experienced paddlers will enjoy their customized sea kayaking tours and instructional clinics. Visit their website to learn more about trip options including their unforgettable bioluminescent trips available all summer long.   Bucks Harbor Marina Bucks Harbor Marina has you covered for your charter, mooring, and marina service needs. If you have your own boat or a license to rent one, this is a must! Bucks Harbor is located at the head of Eggemoggin Reach, one of the most protected and popular passages, making it one of the most beautiful marinas on the Maine coast with unspoiled natural panoramas! Smith Cove If you are looking to jump in and brave the waters, we invite you to take a dip in this nearby swimming hole, known as one of the warmest spots for swimming on the mid-coast of Maine. A local’s secret, but we’ll tell you how to get there when you arrive! For those of you looking to learn about the rich history of boat building and the extensive maritime history of Maine, we recommend a trip over to Brooklin. Learn about the craft of wood boat building or watch a pleasure yacht being built before you get out their and experience the seafaring life firsthand.   The WoodenBoat School If you want to get behind the scenes and learn the craft of boat building at the WoodenBoat School in Brooklin, Maine. You’ll feel transported to a different and simpler time as you discover the art of woodworking. Their courses include; Multihull Seamanship, Building a 15′ Aspoya Faering, Finishing Out Small Boats, Traditional Oarmaking, and Marine Photography in Black & White! Brooklin Boat Yard The Brooklin Boat Yard is a custom yacht builder, yacht designer, Maine boat yard, and brokerage only 30 miles from Castine. The family-run business was started in 1960 by the owner Joel M. White, and continues to be run by his son Steve White. Get a glimpse into the impressive display of craftsmanship by checking out the boatbuilding time lapse on their website! There is no better way to explore Penobscot Bay, the Blue Hill Peninsula, Acadia National Park, or the Down East region of Maine than by sea; So pack up your bags and head to the Pentagöet Inn to start your vacation off right. Each day you’ll be treated to a complimentary breakfast, and then come back, relax and rewind at the Baron Pub & Wine Bar after your day at sea. The perfect place to learn more about maritime history and maybe tell some ‘Fish Stories’ of your own. With a dozen picturesque coastal towns within easy reach of Castine, the timeless charm, fine dining, and relaxed atmosphere are sure to make your vacation memorable. Check Availability. *Rates reflected in this blog are as of Aug 21st, please check the company website for up-to-date rates and schedules.

An Insider’s Guide to the Blue Hill Peninsula

Discover the Hidden, Quiet, Wild & Wonderful Side of the Maine Coast Looking for a true gem of a vacation and a memorable getaway off the beaten path? Get a real slice of New England heaven with a visit to a secluded part of the coast that still exudes a real “Old Maine” feeling of yesteryear when you book a stay at the Pentagöet Inn & Restaurant in Castine, the heart of the Blue Hill peninsula! Just pack your bags and leave the planning to us with this comprehensive guide of some truly wonderful and sometimes unexpected treasures! Explore the Great Outdoors From relaxing excursions to exciting adventures, there’s a perfect summer activity for everyone in this unspoiled section of Mid-Coast Maine. GRAB BIKES FROM THE INN Explore the town on two wheels; get up close to historic Dice Head Light, pedal down to the harbor and marvel at the historic schooners that grace our waters daily, or cycle past the house of famed author, Robert Lowell on our beautiful town square. Complimentary bikes are available for all guests at the Pentagöet Inn. GET OUT ON THE WATER You can’t really see what makes this area so truly special if you don’t set sail, motor, paddle, float, or swim.  The maritime history of this area has shaped it into what it is today and the only way to experience much of the natural beauty of Maine is from the water. There are so many ways to explore by vessel, and we recommend them all! Guildive Cruises: Enjoy a 2-hour excursion on the bay and get a picturesque view of the town of Castine Isle au Haut Mail Boat: Try to spot the iconic puffins on the way to Isle Au Haut, the quietest and least crowded part of Acadia. Castine Kayak Adventures: Paddle the peninsula with expertly led guided tours and seasonal bioluminescent night paddles! Old Quarry Ocean Adventures: For the more adventuresome paddler, kayak the Stonington archipelago, Isle Au Haut, and beyond. Bucks Harbor Marina: If you have your own boat or a license to rent one, this is a must! Located a short drive from Castine, Bucks Harbor is one of the most beautiful marinas and unspoiled natural panoramas on the state’s coast. Smith Cove: Take a dip in this nearby swimming hole, one of the warmest spots for swimming on the mid-coast Maine. A local’s secret, but we’ll tell you how to get there! If you’re a boat lover, be sure to head over to Brooklin and see the craftspeople at work at the Wooden Boat School and the Brooklin Boat Yard!   HIT THE TRAILS Due to some remarkable conservation efforts by the Blue Hill Heritage Trust and The Nature Conservancy, we are blessed with nearly endless hiking trails in and around the Blue Hill Peninsula, and there are a few real gems that we highly recommend. There are some excellent trail guides available when you arrive, and Pentagöet Inn offers a Hiking Adventures Package to enhance your experience: Barred Island Preserve: Time it right and you can hike over to a tidal island Peter’s Brook:  If you like a short stroll with a waterfall payoff, this is it! Holbrook Island Sanctuary: A gorgeous area that offers abundant wildlife viewing opportunities. Witherle Woods Preserve: Our favorite easygoing hike right in Castine with over 6 miles of trails Crockett Cove Woods: If you want to get up close with the dense Maine forest, this is it! TAKE IN THE VIEW While you’re out exploring, pack a picnic lunch with all the essentials from Windmill Hill Gardens and Market and enjoy it with some fresh air and beautiful coastal vistas. Pull off the side of the road near the Pumpkin Island Lighthouse to enjoy a picture perfect backdrop for your meal or head over to Horton Emerson Park in Blue Hill. You might have this idyllic place all to yourself and if you play your tides right, you will be able to picnic on a sandy beach. GET IN A ROUND OF GOLF Designed by Willie Park, Jr. in 1922, the Castine Golf Club’s 9-hole par 35 course is a unique and fun experience for our golfing enthusiasts. Get Your Culture On History, art, literature and music abound in Castine and around the Blue Hill Peninsula. HISTORY From the rich culture of the native tribes and the battles of the Revolutionary War, to the pivotal role Castine played as a U.S. Customs House, the history of the Blue Hill Peninsula is truly remarkable. A short walk from Pentagöet Inn will take you to the steps of the Castine Historical Society on the town common featuring exhibits, speakers, and an eager staff. Step into history with a stroll over to Fort Madison State Park right on the harbor in the heart of Castine and an important part of U.S. history. A recommended read before your trip is The Fort by Bernard Cornwell. Learn all about the Penobscot Expedition of 1779 and the worst naval defeat of the Revolutionary War. History buffs will be richly rewarded! ART There is a rich local art scene here in Castine, but as you explore the peninsula, you will find hidden gems everywhere you look. There are art galleries featuring local artists and their beautiful work across mediums. We highly recommend checking out the phenomenal paintings at the Adam Gallery and Gallery B, fine earthenware at Rackliffe Pottery, or Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, a non-profit group that has seasonal tours and events MUSIC & THEATRE Stonington boasts Opera House Arts on the National Register of Historic Places and delivers excellent productions, concerts and films all summer long. Kneisel Hall Chamber Music School & Festival brings together world class musicians to put on beautiful events through the season. If you’re visiting Pentagöet Inn during the week, be sure to join us for Jazz on the Porch Tuesdays! The Night and Day Trio performs from 5-8pm and there are specialty cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a special menu available. A favorite of locals and visitors alike. Eat, Drink, and Shop Get a real flavor of Maine’s coast from freshly caught seafood to locally roasted … Read More

Vegetables at a farmers market

Castine Farmers’ Market

Local, Organic Produce at the Castine Farmers’ Market Blue-Zee Renata, Mark and Julia, owners of the Blue-Zee Farm, are one of the local food producers arriving every Thursday at the Castine Farmers’ Market with freshly harvested vegetables and blueberries. The patrons of the Pentagoet Inn and Restaurant are the happy recipients, as the wonderful vegetables make their way to the inn’s breakfast and dinner menus. To compliment the variety of vegetables available at the farmers market, the Pentagoet Inn and Restaurant has, this year, opened a booth at the Castine Farmers’ Market producing salad dressings, dips, tapanades, pestos, and savory baked goods. Many of these products use ingredients from the local farmers. The Castine Farmers’ Market is on the Castine Town Common every Thursday from 9-11:30am. Hope to see you there!