Make The Sea Glass House, a vintage 1892 Victorian house full of stained glass windows and sea breezes, your base for exploring Mt. Desert, Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor. The house is an easy drive from metropolitan Boston or New York or a quick flight (to Bangor or Bar Harbor) from either. You'll be an 'honorary islander' on Little Cranberry Island, a small (1x1.5 sq miles) lobstering village, 20 minutes off the coast of Mt. Desert -- you arrive via Mailboat. (Which runs 6xdaily in the summer; a parking space for your car in Northeast Harbor is included in the rental fee.) The island was listed among 'The Best Secret Islands on Earth' by Travel & Leisure magazine and has been lauded by Martha Stewart ( Rockefellers and generations of artists, writers and vacationers. Explore Acadia or stay on-island and enjoy island life: hike, bike, sail, paint, beachcomb, dream and doze, visit the museum, galleries, farmstand and lobster co-op. Lobster at your doorstep! The house was built by the island's merchant family and is embellished with original woodwork and other architectural treats that reveal the island's history. It's of course outfitted with 21st-century comforts, including WiFi, comfy beds and luxe linens and a cook's kitchen. A well-stocked library and puzzles and games help fill evenings and rainy days. Beaches and fantastic views are 5-10 minutes in any direction. Family friendly, or use the house as a romantic retreat.
Once you've slept on an island ...: The beauty and calm of Islesford/Little Cranberry will stay with you for a long while. Amenities on the island include:
# A fine little library (wireless access, a good collection of modern literature and childrens' books as well as videos/DVD)
# A much-lauded restaurant, The Dock, which attracts visitors from the region (including some named Rockefeller)
# An artists' gallery, gallery of sea glass creations and a potter's studio and store
# A gift store, Winter's Work
# A post office and school (with playground)
# The Neighborhood House, host to movie nights, readings and other social gatherings
# Two churches
# Boatworks, a not-for-profit that runs summer boat-building classes for children
# Several glorious organic gardens whose owners sell their produce to lucky visitors
# A yacht club (in name only) that offers lessons for adults and children
# Access to daily grocery delivery
What to do on an island?: -- The wonders of Acadia National Park are 20 minutes away, on Mt. Desert Island. Take an early mailboat and spend the day hiking or biking or horseback riding, or just drive up Cadillac Mountain, take in the view, and then have popovers and lemonade at Jordan Pond House.
-- Numerous small museums and galleries dot Mt. Desert, as do various gardens open to visitors.
-- If you must, go to Bar Harbor and buy fudge and t-shirts. You'll be delighted that you can take the 6 pm boat back to the idyllic Islesford.
-- If antiques and/or rummage sales are your thing, there's plenty of opportunity on Mt. Desert and on the mainland.
-- Spend the day kayaking around Little Cranberry or kayak over to Great Cranberry for lunch. (Rent kayaks at Joy of Kayaking -- Joy is the post mistress on the island.)
-- Walk around the island, collecting rocks and shells and amazing views along the way. Don't forget a snack.
-- Walk out to Bakers Island on the sandbar.