Dog Island Pelican Inn vs Private Home: Expectations, Cost, & When to Go
There is no store or restaurant on Dog Island. There is a landing strip for private planes and a dock for private boat and ferry. There are a few homes to rent. Expect to pay around $1200 to $1500 per week for a home that sleeps 6. Most of the available homes are beachfront, some have closer neighbors than others.
You may also stay at The Pelican Inn, a bit less expensive (around $1000 per week), but be warned! The Pelican Inn is not for the faint-hearted. I grew up in a summer beach cottage community, so stubborn window and sliding glass door frames, corroded by salt air, ancient plumbing and fixtures stained by decades of hard water, and refrigerators that struggle to cool don’t bother me, but if you’re expecting more than a camping experience, this place is not for you.
Maintenance is not high on the priority list. At one point, my husband rummaged around the laundry room, found a hammer, and walked around pounding nails back down on the deck. An internet search reveals a scathing complaint by a guest who called it a death trap. I’m not sure I’d go that far, but the place needs work, which is not surprising, since wood structures built at ocean’s edge tend to be vulnerable to the elements. The owner, by the way, refutes many of the comments made by the guest.
My experience with her was honest for the most part. She’d told me to expect rough camping, supplies needed to be brought in, and water was not potable. She was not quite as accurate in her description of condition.
The place borders on dilapidation in places. She really, really, really needs to hire someone who can start making the necessary repairs. We could be tempted, my master carpenter husband and I, to do so, but the problem then becomes one of money, which I suspect is not in ample supply, and permitting, which we could not do for her, since we live nowhere close to her county. We would happily barter work for a stay free vacation, but materials are expensive enough these days, and that’s prior to factoring in the costs of ferrying the items over to the jobsite.
I found the complaints about wiring unfounded, at least in our unit, but I would avoid the upstairs units. The place is a fancy beach shack. You either love it or you hate it. You get a kitchen, a bath, and a room with a bed, couch, chairs, and small table, all of it in “early Goodwill” styling.
The draw is the island itself. Seven miles of “almost” solitude, miles of beach to yourself, and abundant shelling. The few neighbors are friendly but not intrusive. The residents do resent the annual Memorial Day White Trash Bash, claiming about the wild parties that get out of hand and environmental destruction that should not be allowed, so you may want to avoid booking, either at The Pelican Inn or with a private homeowner, during that particular holiday.
While I’d love to be able to purchase the Pelican Inn and bring her back to the glorious monument of beachfront accommodations of yesteryear, I think I’ll splurge and rent a private home the next time.
Before we leave Dog Island, let’s take one more backward glance to remember what warmed our soul and soothed our nerves, a place without telephone, TV, or internet and a time of solitude and relaxation:
Much too soon, we are on the docks, waiting for our ride to the mainland:
Yes, we’ll return, ready for our next adventure.