Even though Monhegan Island is only 10.7 miles off the coast of Maine, it’s worlds apart. An hour ferry ride transports you back to the early 20th century, with no paved roads or streetlights - only stunning vistas at every turn. About 50 people, including 8 lobstermen and a handful of artists, live here year-round. Come summertime, however, hundreds of visitors descend upon the island to paint its magical landscapes, bird watch, hike miles of trails, or simply get away from it all.
A favorite expression among Monhegan’s long-time visitors is, “We like to do nothing, and it takes us all day to do it,” laughs Michael Brassard who, with his wife Jaye Morency, owns The Island Inn on Monhegan, the largest hotel property on the island.
Jaye and Michael left behind investment and consulting careers in Boston to live their dream of owning a historic hotel. It wasn’t an impulsive move, they had been looking for the perfect property for 25 years; one that was on the ocean, historic and would let them indulge in both creative design and historic preservation
Then, in January 2014 after a 90-minute harrowing ferry ride on the roughest seas they’ve ever experienced, they decided that the Island Inn, operating since 1907, was precisely what they were looking for.
“It really caught our eye in terms of clean, simple lines,” explains Michael. “Unlike a lot of restorations that go too far, the previous owners knew when to stop. This was critical for us because we always preserve a sense of place in anything we restore. We try to do as little as possible to it, and this struck just the right balance.”
Michael considers the hotel an extension of the island’s character. “It’s very comfortable, like a well-loved, well-worn sweater,” he says. “The hotel has that same kind of comfortable balance that’s clean and simple, where you immediately feel at home.”
While many inns are brimming with frill and clutter, the Island Inn takes a minimalist approach because it really doesn’t require over-the-top adornment.
“Jaye and I prefer to focus on the stunning surroundings, including the most amazing sunsets you’ve ever seen,” says Michael. Furthermore, the Inn features artwork by renowned painters. “The previous owners established a tradition of displaying a Monhegan-based fine artist for the entire season in the dining room and common areas. So basically, everywhere you look, you see incredible natural and artistic beauty.”
Enhancing this beauty are sisal rugs from Sisal Rugs Direct.
“They’re comfortable, easy to maintain, and feel great underfoot,” says Michael. “Sisal has this simplicity that we love. It feels historic, yet also contemporary and clean. It has a nice, summery style that makes you feel like you should go out on the porch and enjoy a ‘Dark & Stormy’.”
We especially appreciated Sisal Rugs Direct’s custom-ordering process.
“Sisal Rugs Direct is very easy to work with, from choosing the border and materials to the colors, they give you a lot of flexibility,” Michael points out. “It was a simple, uneventful transaction, as it should be when you’re working with the best companies. They met our needs in a straightforward way, and delivered exactly what they promised.”
The Island Inn on Monhegan is one of several hotels that appreciate Sisal Rugs Direct. See how the White Moose Inn, Hive Hotel, and Casa Faena Hotel have used custom sisal rugs from Sisal Rugs Direct to enhance their décor.
Photo Credit: The Island Inn on Monhegan