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Deer Isle, Isle au Haut and Stonington, Maine.
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by Faith DeAmbrose and Jessica Brophy
Isle au Haut will once again have an inn, as geology professor and island summer resident Marshall Chapman has purchased the Keeper’s House property from Jeffrey and Judith Burke on December 31, 2012.
The Keeper’s House Inn is on the National Register of Historic Places. The two-acre property consists of a four-bedroom keeper’s house, a guest house, several cottages, a boathouse and a deepwater dock, according to a press release issued by the Knowles Company real estate firm.
The town of Isle au Haut owns the granite brick light tower, which was built in 1907.
The Burkes are former Peace Corps volunteers who moved to Maine and purchased the Keeper’s House in 1986, renovating it and running it as an inn. When the Burkes retired several years ago, they placed the property on the market.
When the Keeper’s House came onto the market, Chapman became concerned it would be purchased by someone who would replace the historic buildings with a modern mansion equipped with a heliport, continues the press release.
Chapman’s love of Isle au Haut is a multi-decade affair, first coming to the island as a graduate student to study the island’s rock formation. Calling it the “mecca” and “part of the must-see pantheon of rocks around the world,” Chapman explained in a recent interview that he has been coming to the island each summer since that time, first living in a moored Friendship Sloop, before finally being able to find a home to purchase. That home, he said, will be rented throughout the summer and that he expects to live in a tent—a large tent used when he travels for geologic expeditions (it can accommodate a stove)—on the property while running the inn.
In addition to the 1903 Friendship Sloop, which Chapman still owns, the property will also have a 1949 lobster boat, 1928 Model A and1928 Model AA commercial vehicle, all owned by Chapman, which he says will be accessible on some level to those staying at the inn.
Chapman plans to open the inn on June 15 and run it through Columbus Day. He will host a “reopening” celebration for the island residents a few days before his first visitors arrive. In keeping with the legacy created by the Burkes, Chapman said he would make few changes to the historic property and would continue to serve gourmet dinners and keep the property off the grid.
The Keeper’s Inn will be the only hotel or inn in operation on Isle au Haut.