Dark Harbor House Retains Yesteryear’s Charm and Elegance

“I’ve often thought if someone were coming to visit America for the first time, I’d send them to… Islesboro Island, where there’s a great Victorian inn called Dark Harbor House, a gracious place with no phones, and fireplaces in all the rooms.”

– Charles Kuralt, CBS News commenting in May 30, 1992 TV Guide

Dark Harbor House – Yesterday

During the 1960’s, a very popular TV show called “On the Road” appeared regularly on the Walter Cronkite Evening News. Charles Kuralt, the host and award-winning journalist, traveled the back roads of America to find our country’s most special places. Run as an inn, Dark Harbor House was one of those featured locales. Forty years later, the Dark Harbor House continues to charm all who visit her.

Fred Savage was one of Maine’s leading turn-of-the-century architects. He was known for his extensive cottage work at Bar Harbor and Northeast Harbor and designed 8 Islesboro summer homes. Later, he partnered with Milton W. Stratton and they designed another 4 cottages. Retained by the Philadelphia banker, George Philler, Savage and Stratton designed and constructed the Dark Harbor House in 1895-1896. Their design is an impressive 2-story version of an eighteenth-century Georgian mansion, done in the Colonial Revival style.

Dark Harbor House

Dark Harbor House – Today

The Dark Harbor House has been featured in several magazines, books, and newspapers. It is known for its elegant exterior and interior woodwork and was fabricated by Morse and Company of Bangor. This was one of the state’s finest finish mills at the turn of the last century.


Dark Harbor House

The house’s exterior boasts 14 Greek-style columns, 30 flame-style urn finials, and dental molding surrounding the entire roof line. The interior continues this attention to detail featuring an oval dining room, a graceful, double staircase, and several Adams fireplace surrounds. Large bedrooms, some of which are complemented by balconies and fireplaces, give an elegant feeling to all who visit.

Dark Harbor House

The grounds extend the visual impact. There are extensive formal, kitchen and woodland gardens, a wildflower meadow with fruit-bearing trees, woods with trails, an acclaimed Italian-style Knot Garden and views of the Dark Harbor Pool to the north and Gilkey Harbor to the West.

Dark Harbor House

Recently given a complete restoration that includes a new foundation, basement, and plumbing, mechanical, and electrical systems, it maintains the elegance of its 1896 construction while having all the state-of-the-art infrastructure and systems one would expect from a 21st century home.

For more information on this Isleboro property for sale, check out the Dark Harbor House on our website,  read our previous blog about Dark Harbor’s timeless appeal or contact Terry Sortwell or Joseph Sortwell in our Camden office for other waterfront homes in coastal Maine.