SWANS ISLAND is not for everyone.
.....it is not for those who depend on a high level of outside entertainment, for we have no theatre, no boutiques, no country club; in fact alcoholic beverages can not be purchased on the Island
.....it is not for those who want instant, inexpensive travel facilities, for although we have reliable State ferry service, it takes some advance planning to be sure of being on it
.....it is not for those with a low threshold of frustration for the inevitable delays and inconveniences that go with Island living.
*** SWANS is the place for a very special kind of individual...
... it is ideal for those who are skilled at entertaining themselves in fog or sunshine and who prefer an hour beachcombing to an hour bowling, and a good book to a movie
....it is a joy to those who delight in spectacular scenery and appreciate the simple rhythm of days which are determined by the comings and goings of tide and ferry
....it is the place for those who are content with low-keyed social life, where an evening invitation usually calls only for a clean sweatshirt and dry sneakers
*** Is it for You? Here are some additional facts to help you decide:
A 17- car ferry makes six daily round trips in the summer and four daily year-round. Prices vary somewhat seasonally, but summer fares for travel originating in Bass Harbor are $18.00 +/- round trip for car and driver, and $6.00+/- round trip for adult passengers. There are reduced fares for children. There are also reduced fares for trips originating on Swans. A few spaces may be reserved on each run for an additional charge of $6 round trip.
At present there is one general store with a good selection of groceries, meat, produce, and miscellaneous household needs.
Historically there have been three post offices and three zip codes, one in each village, but as of 1995 a new central post office was opened at the approach to Swans Island village and rural free delivery has been added.
Very irregularly shaped, with deep sheltered coves cutting into spruce clad hills, Swans has approximately 7000 acres, with over twelve miles of paved roads and many more of private and woods roads. There are about 350 residents year-round, with a summer population of at least twice that number.
There are four active churches on the Island: Advent Christian (Minturn),
Baptist (Atlantic), Church of God (Atlantic) and Methodist (Swans Island).
There are usually one or two small restaurants, coffee shops, and "take-outs" operating on the Island, some of them only seasonally.
Telephone service is provided by microwave relay and fibre optic cable, and electricity travels on underwater cables from Bangor Hydro, with local generators available to provide subsistance power to the Island in an emergency shutdown of some duration.
In the fall of 1991, Swans Island children entered a handsome new
consolidated school, located in Atlantic. It serves approximately 30 - 40
children, grouped into grades K-2, 3-5, and 6-8. For high school, most children attend the nearby comprehensive Mt. Desert Island High School, commuting daily on the ferry, with some students electing to board on MDI and some to attend private boarding schools. There is also an active Adult Education program on Swans, with access to credit-bearing college courses through the State Interactive Television Program.
Although we have no resident practicing health professionals, we currently have a registered Emergency Medical Technician, plus several trained ambulance attendants and a well-equipped ambulance with two-way radio to nearby hospitals. We also have regular clinic service provided by doctors from MDI on a bi-weekly basis, and there is a weekly visit by an RN who makes house calls for those with chronic problems. The ferry is also docked at Swans at night and is available for medical emergency service.
Close to the ferry terminal we have a well-organized library in a traditional Island house, with a museum devoted to Island history just a short walk away. These facilities are both operated by the non-profit Swans Island Educational Society which is also restoring the nearby Old Atlantic School House to serve as a much-needed larger library in the near future. Books, donations, and visitors are all welcome. A new Lobster and Marine Museum has opened near the Ferry Terminal.
A small motel in Minturn and a B & B in Swans Island village are prepared to welcome overnight visitors.
Docks & Boatyards:
Mackerel Cove and Burnt Coat Harbor have excellent anchorages and there is a public boat-launching ramp near the ferry landing in Atlantic. There are NO public moorings, but there is a public tender float in Mackerel Cove. There are no public floats in the Harbor but the Boat House Restaurant offers rental moorings plus tie-up at their float for mooring rental and restaurant customers. The Swans Island Fishermen's Co-op also has a tender float for customer tie-up. There is a boat storage facility in "The Valley" (on the way to the lighthouse).
Camping and Picnicing:
There are NO PUBLIC CAMP GROUNDS, and camping is only permitted by prior written authorization of a private land owner. Visitors should be aware that most of the land, especially the shore, is privately owned, and although it is usually generously shared, it should be treated with respect as to littering, noise, etc. Because of the heavily wooded nature of the island, and its isolation, CAMP FIRES ARE FORBIDDEN except on a beach well below high-tide line and/or with permission from the Fire Warden. Some of the grasses along the edges of the beaches are extremely dry and could easily ignite with a wind-borne spark and soon touch off a major conflagration, threatening the entire community. PLEASE USE EXTREME CAUTION with all sources of fire.
Ocean access is available at the Carrying Place Beach and at Fine Sand Beach; fresh water swimming is provided at the Quarry Pond in Minturn. Once again, caution is recommended....because of low water temperatures in the ocean and of hidden rocks in the Quarry. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Written by Peg Bailey
Presented for your enjoyment by
Belinda Doliber and Christal Applin
Burnt Coat Harbor Real Estate
Specializing in Swans Island Real Estate
207- 526- 4430