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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Keeper's House Inn on Isle au Haut, Maine

There was just a wonderful article in the Bangor Daily News about life in winter on Isle au Haut off the coast of Maine. Click here to read it. The picturesque island, most of which is part of Acadia National Park, now has a population of only about 30 hardy souls in winter. There was once a population of about 800 people on the island, including two dozen shipmasters.

The island's lighthouse was built in 1907 at Robinson Point. In 1986, the light station property, except for the lighthouse, was purchased by Jeff and Judi Burke. The Burkes converted the keeper's house into a bed and breakfast inn called, appropriately enough, the Keeper's House Inn.

Gourmet meals were served by the Burkes, and Judi published a cookbook of her favorite recipes. Even the oil house was converted into a cozy guest room. The Keeper's House Inn was the realization of a dream for the Burkes. The setting, with thick pine woods opening up to the sparkling ocean, is incomparable. Deer, osprey, eagles, and mink abound.

Jeff Burke wrote a book on the family's first ten years on Isle au Haut, called An Island Lighthouse Inn : A Chronicle. He explained the lure of Isle au Haut: "We all need an 'island' somewhere."

After more than 20 years of managing the Keeper's House Inn, the Burkes put the property up for sale. The keeper's house property was sold in December 2012 to Dr. Marshall Chapman, an associate professor of geology at Morehead State University and a longtime summer resident of Isle au Haut. Chapman announced plans to continue running the house as a bed and breakfast, with the Burkes staying on as consultants. “When Marshall approached us last year with his hopes of re-opening the inn, it was a dream come true,” Judi Burke told the Bangor Daily News.

From the Keeper's House Inn website:

"Off the power-grid and at the end of a half-mile private road, the property is an ecologist's dream. Powered by state-of-the-art photovoltaics, a windmill and a 30-kilowatt generator, fed by unlimited crystal-clear water drawn from the sea by the magic of a reverse osmosis system, a garden-setting sewage treatment system using peat bogs and flower beds, this alternative yet historic home allows you to live with respect for the rest of the world. Includes a bio-diesel processor to make our own fuel!"

Frommers rates Isle au Haut as one of the "10 Untouched Island Escapes." To learn more and make your reservation for a memorable stay, visit

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