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North Haven is aptly named. The Penobscot Bay land dot is one of Maine’s 14 island communities, where nobody locks doors, lobsters grow fat and the local Congresswoman also owns an organic farm. No one comes here by accident; from Rockland, it’s an hour’s sail on a thrice-daily ferry with 25 layers of white glossy paint on its railings. “Town” is a zero-minute stroll from the dock. Gift shops outnumber grocery stores two-to-one (as in, two gift shops, one grocery store), and if you turn left and walk for five minutes, you reach Nebo Lodge.
Congresswoman–farm owner Chellie Pingree of the 1st District of Maine bought the rundown lodge in 2004 and fixed it up, but she kept things simple: No trying-too-hard boutique-ifying or fussy primping. The nine rooms have white-painted wainscoting, claw-foot tubs and vintage patchwork bedspreads, and they all seem to be on a slightly different level, down narrow corridors on creaky, waxed wide-plank floorboards. The dining room, fittingly, is at the center of the house.
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Visitors are welcomed with lemonade and warm brownies by chef Amanda Hallowell, the woman responsible for the inn’s audacious, incredibly delicious food. Her menu has become the talk of the island—and beyond. Last summer saw a steady stream of visitors (including Mark Bittman of the New York Times) who had somehow gotten word of her fontina-arugula pizza, her pickled local eggs with dill and her answer to edamame: fava beans with roasted lemon and fleur de sel.