Looking for lodging on an island in Maine? Check in at Inn at Isle au Haut.
Diana Santospago is best known among islanders for two things: her 1938 Pontiac named “Clydie,” which spends as much time on the side of the road awaiting repairs as it does actually on the road, and her superb cooking, which she serves to guests and friends at the intimate, four-guestroom Inn at Isle au Haut. But her cooking, unlike her car, has never been known to misfire.
Diana arrived on the island about a decade ago. A self-taught cook, she started setting out home-baked goods at the end of her driveway with an empty mason jar for cash. The jar kept filling up, and her business kept expanding.
In 2004 she fulfilled her dream of opening an inn, restoring an 1897 waterfront home that’s all mansard roof, with the house beneath it all but an afterthought. Guests linger on the broad porch and in the Adirondack chairs scattered about lawn and dock, offering ringside seats for ever-shifting views of Mount Desert Island.
When the fog rolls in, guests invariably end up perched on one of the stools in the kitchen, watching Diana at work prepping the evening meal. (A stay at the inn includes all three meals.) Her exquisite, intimate dinners in the candlelit dining room feature dishes such as locally caught halibut with fresh fruit salsa, and homemade ice cream topped with island berries.
“The island has produced some amazing cooks, probably because there are no restaurants,” says her friend Linda Greenlaw, herself no slouch in the kitchen. (Try a recipe from the Greenlaw cookcook) “But I’d put Diana up against any mainland chef any day.”
The Inn at Isle au Haut
Open this year June 11-September 30
from $300 per night (including meals), two-night minimum