Cheap sleeps: Acadia (Isle au Haut through Schoodic)
Boyce’s Motel, Stonington
Check into Boyce’s, and perhaps purchase artwork from one of Deer Isle’s numerous galleries with the savings. The hodgepodge of rooms and apartments are strung perpendicular to Main Street. The décor isn’t fancy, but the frills include a harbor-front dock, Wifi, and in-room refrigerators. Some rooms have kitchens, water views, and private decks. Pets are accepted in some rooms for an additional $10. The nearby Harbor Café is the local hot spot for grub and gossip, and the gussied-up Fisherman’s Friend serves lobster 30 ways. It’s an easy walk to the Isle au Haut ferry accessing a remote section Acadia National Park.
Edenbrook Motel, Bar Harbor
Snagging a cheap and decent room in a convenient location isn’t easy in Bar Harbor. Meeting the criteria is the Edenbrook, with four buildings tiered up a hillside, a walk-able mile from downtown. The least expensive rooms are on the lowest level, but those on the upper ones have increasingly panoramic views over Frenchman Bay. No flash here, expect 1960s-esque style and amenities. It’s on the free (with Acadia park pass) Island Explorer bus system, which provides access to most of Mt. Desert Island, and a short walk from College of the Atlantic, with an inexpensive cafeteria, and The Cat ferry to Nova Scotia.
Lighthouse Inn and Restaurant, Seal Harbor
Here’s a gen-u-ine bahgain in oh-so-tony Seal Harbor. Sure, it’s a bit dated and dowdy, but at these prices ($50-$75 in season, $45 off), who cares? All rooms have private baths; there’s a restaurant downstairs serving inexpensive meals; and it’s a short walk to Seal Harbor Beach and the Seal Harbor entrance to Acadia National Park’s carriage road system.
Harbor View Motel and Cottages, Southwest Harbor
Shhh, don’t tell too many folks about this property at the head of Southwest Harbor. The shorefront Harbor View is on the edge of downtown, but hidden from the highway. Picnic tables dot the grassy lawn, and at low tide there’s a private pebble beach. Rooms are split between two vintage motels and a newer three-story building with fancier (and a bit pricier) units. During peak season, July 12 through Labor Day, rates include a continental breakfast featuring homemade blueberry muffins. The Island Explorer bus stops nearby. Pets are allowed in some rooms for $10 per day. Also here are cottages that rent by the week.
Main Stay Cottages, Winter Harbor
Niftiest cottage at the Main Stay is the one-bedroom Boathouse, which dates from the 1880s. It hangs over Henry’s Cove, letting water lapping below serenade guests to sleep at high tide. More spacious is Little Cranberry, a one-room cottage with full kitchen, gas fireplace, and big deck taking in those harbor views. There’s also an expansive second-floor room in the main house with private entrance off the deck. The property is adjacent to the Bar Harbor Ferry dock and on the Island Explorer Schoodic route, making it easy to explore the region.
Albee’s Shorehouse Cottages, Prospect Harbor
The Ritz these aren’t. Albee’s comprises 10 rustic and rather ramshackle cottages hugging the shorefront; some are just feet away from the high-tide line. The cottages are decorated with homey touches such as braided rugs and fresh flowers, and most have views to Prospect Harbor Light. Guests often lounge on the ledges with computers, taking advantage of the Wifi. And how’s this for service: Purchase lobsters, and owner Richard Rieth prepare and deliver them to your cottage. In peak season, cottages rent by the week, but shorter stays often are available. Rieth is slowly fixing the place up, but if you’re the least bit fussy, look elsewhere. Dogs are welcome.