Stonington

44° 9′ 22″N , 68° 40′ 0″W

Stonington

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Photo: Ben Childers

Stonington Harbor sits on the southern tip of Deer Isle, just about halfway between Rockland to the west and Northeast Harbor to the east. Just north of Isle au Haut and Merchant Row, it is right in the middle of some of the coast’s most beautiful cruising areas. Stonington is Maine’s largest and most productive lobster port and its several harbors support a very large fleet of fishing boats. A visit to Stonington allows for a close-up view of fishing activities, a walk through a classic small Maine waterfront town, access to several good restaurants and shops, and beautiful views across the harbor to Merchant Row and Isle au Haut.

The Stonington area also features several granite quarries, some dating back over 100 years, a few of which visitors can explore. They are hauntingly beautiful with their vast areas of exposed rock and incredible vistas of Merchant Row.

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Approach & Cautions

Photo: Stonington inner harbor by by Kathleen Billings-Pezaris

The Deer Isle Thorofare runs directly past Stonington Harbor. It connects East Penobscot Bay with Jericho Bay, and begins to the west at Mark Island, and continues east and northeast past Stonington toward Casco Passage. The Thorofare is well marked although narrow in spots. Stonington is easily spotted to the north, noticeable by its large fishing fleet and the cluster of older wood-framed buildings rising from the waterfront to the hill above the harbor. The large green Opera House with its painted name on its side is one of the town’s landmarks.

Many buildings stretching from the water's edge to the top of a hill with a lobster boat moored in the foreground.

Stonington chart

Click the chart to open Navionics

Not to be used for Navigation .


Docking, Anchorages, or Moorings

Stonington does not offer any overnight moorings or dockage. Even though the harbor is large, it is dedicated to the needs of its fishing fleet, and there is always a waiting list of fishing boats trying to obtain moorings.

Two good anchorages allow for an overnight stay within easy dinghy access to the town dinghy dock. The first is about ½-mile E/SE from the Isle au Haut ferry dock (Staple Point on the chart). This anchorage is just W/NW of red “16”. The holding is good in 15-20 feet at low. Anchoring is also available approximately one hundred yards to the E/NE of red “16 .” Be careful to keep north of red “16” for both of these areas, since the buoy marks the edge of the Thorofare. Being near the harbor, you will get a close-up look at the working fleet and the early morning sounds as the boats head out to fish.

The second overnight anchorage is on the southern side of the Thorofare and about ¾-mile south of the town dock. Sailing south across the Thorofare to Two Bush Island, keep green “3” to your starboard, then continue heading south, keeping red “2” to port. Anchor off the entrance to Mill Pond on Crotch Island in 7 feet at low. The holding is good in mud.

Billings Diesel & Marine is another option for an overnight stay. Billings is located about a ½-mile west of Stonington on the Thorofare. Both dockage and moorings are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. They monitor Ch 16 and can also be reached at 207 367 2328. It is a nearly a mile walk from Billings to downtown Stonington.

VHF

Billings monitors Ch 16

FUEL

Billings Diesel & Marine

WATER

Billings for its customers

ELECTRICITY

Billings

SHOWERS

NA

LAUNDRY

NA

WIFI

Billings for customers

PUMP OUT

Billings

SERVICES

Billings is a full-service yard but focused on the lobster fleet. Call ahead to ask what’s possible (207) 367-2328

TRASH

Billings for customers

MEDICAL

Northern Light Primary Care Clinic affiliated with Blue Hill Hospital 354 Airport Rd · (207) 367-2311

MORE BOAT AMENITIES

Just below the Opera House on Main St. is a NAPA store (207-356-5959) which, like most of Maine’s small-town automotive stores, does have some standard marine supplies. As mentioned above, Billings Diesel (207-367-2328) billingsmarine.com/contact/  is the primary marine resource for Deer Isle and the region. Besides moorings and dockage as available, they provide fuel and water and have a fully stocked marine store. They are a full-service yard with expertise in every aspect of mechanical and electrical systems. Unfortunately for recreational boaters, their priority for service is the fishing fleet, and they may not be able to handle repair requests for visiting recreational boats in a timely manner. The commercial fleet keeps them very busy.

Getting Ashore

Photo: Public dock photo by Dennis Harris

The town provides a public dock for visiting dinghy access, and at the “T” end of the floats, there is also room for several recreational boats to tie up with 9 feet at low. This boat tie-up is limited to a two-hour visit — enforced but casually. It is located west of the Isle au Haut ferry dock and directly in front of the Stonecutters Kitchen Restaurant. At the town dock, there are restrooms but no trash dumpsters. Just a few yards inland on Main Street is the popular Stonington Ice Cream Company, a takeout-only vendor of locally made ice creams, sandwiches, and lobster rolls.

Front entrance of Harbor View Store.

Photo: Courtesy of Harbor View Store

Provisioning

Harbor View Store (207- 367- 2530) is operated by Stonecutters Kitchen and located right behind it at the town dock. It is a small grocery store that also serves take-out meals. It opens at 4:30 am for the lobster fleet (7:00 on Sunday) and closes at 7:30 pm.

There are two other full-service grocery stores on Deer Isle operated by the Island Cooperative. Burnt Cove Market (207-367-2681) is closest to Stonington and is about a 1.6-mile trip west on Burnt Cove Road.

Front of Stonington Ice Cream company with red lobster sign above the building.

Photo: Courtesy of Stonington Ice Cream Company

Dine Out

  • Stonecutters Kitchen (207-367-2530) is right across from the dock, a casual spot featuring burgers, seafood, and pizza. Just north of the town dock is Main St and turning left or right allows for a delightful walk along the Harbor.
  • Harbor Café (207-367-5099) is a town institution — open 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The fare is straightforward and good, and although you will be in the minority as a visiting sailor, everyone is friendly. By taking a left on Main St. from the town dock, Harbor Café will be on your right.
  • Acadia House Provisions (207-367-2555), across from the Harbor Café, was recently opened by a Michelin chef from Chicago and has been well accepted. It is small and right on the waterfront with a beautiful view. Its hours vary, but it is usually open for dinner Thursday through Sunday and brunch on weekends.
  • Fin and Fern (207-348-3111) is on the east side of the harbor at the Isle au Ferry dock. Like Acadia, Fin and Fern is operated by a chef from away who visited Stonington while working on a private yacht. The menu is principally seafood and pasta, and the setting is also right on the waterfront in a pretty old building. The food is excellent.
  • 44 North is a very popular coffee roaster just across Main street from the dinghy dock. It has excellent coffee and pastries set in an old-timey setting.

Settlement Quarry sign labeling points of interest in the distance

Photo: Dale Bruce

Hikes

Island Heritage Trust maintains four islands within Merchant Row (Mark, Wreck, Round, and Millet) plus several other islands and preserves on and around Deer Isle. Most are not within easy walking distance. Settlement Quarry, an old granite quarry, is one of the most interesting. Trails and maps guide you around the quarry to enjoy the views across Merchant Row out to Isle au Haut. See the Settlement Quarry brochure. A friendly local may offer you a lift.

Two walks within the town are possible. The first, only about a mile, provides a beautiful view of Stonington harbor, Merchant Row, and beyond. From the dinghy dock, take a left on Main St. and just below the Opera House, turn right onto School St. and take your first left after the Opera House onto Church St. At the high point on Church, you will have a fantastic view. To return, continue to the end of Church St. and keep taking lefts until you rejoin Main St.

The longer walk, about 2.5 miles, is west of the harbor along Sand Beach Road. Proceed past Billings to Sand Beach (the town beach), marked by a small parking lot on the left side of the road. There are pretty views of the Deer Isle Thorofare, Isle au Haut, and Vinalhaven all along the way.

The Stonington/Deer Isle Chamber of Commerce has tons of additional facts and maps.

Diorama at Deer Isle Granite Museum showing early granite industry.

Photo: Photo of diorama at Deer Isle Granite Museum by Gus Blanco

Other Things To Do

Two art galleries, two bookstores, a hand-crafted jewelry store, several gift shops, the town library, and the Granite Museum round out the Main St. options.

OTHER NEARBY ANCHORAGES

Just south of Stonington, in Merchant Row, you will find many great islands, coves, and inlets for exploring and anchoring. While the chart shows many possibilities, we offer a few recommendations: Merchant Harbor, Devil & Bold, and McGlathery Islands. In addition, Duck Harbor and Laundry Cove are two excellent anchorages near Isle au Haut.

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