Swan’s Island is one of the friendliest places we’ve ever visited. We were welcomed heartily when we visited two years ago, even getting invited to a birthday party. This visit we attended a church supper and struck up conversations with several people.

Before we left, the Wachtels invited us over to see their house and visit with them on the other side of the island, and Eric Chetwynd offered to show us all the work that’s been done to restore the island’s lighthouse.

We learned that the annual variety show featuring talented islanders was being held on Saturday night along with a potluck supper. I explained that I didn’t have a pot or a kitchen and was told, “No problem. Come anyway. There will be plenty of food, and it’s a fundraiser for the Lobster Museum.”

And we did. Such fun, such nice people.

Staying at Nancy Carter’s B&B is like staying with family. It doesn’t take long to feel like you’ve known her for years. She’s a genuine Mainer who puts you at ease immediately. She is also beyond generous with her time, and somehow did a balancing act of caring for her guests and then cooking for and working at the church and potluck suppers.

This trip we were pampered with Nancy’s superb breakfasts. The Keurig is ready whenever you arise, with a good selection of coffees. Juice and a delectable sweet or savory breakfast is served each morning. She buys her bacon from a special farm where a relative picks it up for her, trading fish for bacon. The bacon is sliced thick and tastes more like ham. Cinnamon swirl bread with raisins was whipped into a very nice French toast, and eggs the way we like them were served two other mornings. An egg strata with Swiss chard from her garden awaited us on our last morning.

There are no restaurants on the island, but luckily a food truck is located at TIMS (The Island Market Store). The food there is freshly prepared tasty. I remembered the chicken bomb sub from our visit two years ago and chose it for our first meal this trip. The small sub filled with sauteed chicken, onions, peppers and melted cheese was just as good as I remembered and so filling that I was glad I had ordered a small. Later in the week, I enjoyed the chicken burger, which wasn’t really a burger, but a boneless cutlet on a bun with lettuce and tomato. George had their haddock sandwich both times.

We hiked to the beautiful and uncrowded Fine Sand Beach, enjoyed amazing sunsets from Nancy’s oceanside deck, and explored the island on foot and by car. A visit here is pretty idyllic after the short 30-minute ferry ride from Bass Harbor.


Everyone waves to you on Swan’s Island — people in cars, on bikes, walking, even small kids. You are made to feel at home upon arrival and are quickly in full relaxation mode. There aren’t a lot of places with rooms to rent by the night (Nancy has just two), but there are plenty of places to rent by the week.

We chose the third week of August for our visit so we could enjoy the Frenchboro Lobster Festival on Long Island. The Lunt family has a long history in Frenchboro, and Dean Lunt, the owner of Islandport Press in Yarmouth, has been telling me for years that we ought to get to the festival. And he was right.

The day started with a 15-minute ride in Zack Lunt’s lobster boat from Swan’s to Frenchboro, a trip organized and led by Maili Bailey, of Skowhegan, who manages Waterville’s soup kitchen. Maili and her husband, Iver Lofving, a Skowhegan teacher, have a place on Swan’s along with a unique self-service shop with art, antiques, clothes and lots of other things.

At the festival, we got to spend a lot of time with Zain Padamsee, the son of our former pastor, who is working on the island as part of the Island Institute fellowship program. We weren’t surprised when Zain said he liked the island so much he’s signed up for a second year of work.

We took a hike with a small group before lunch and toured the museum and school, where Dean was the only student when he was in 7th grade. So instead of going to the school, he just went to his teacher’s house. Island life is unique and special.

Also special was the lobster with all the fixings — Linda had a great chicken salad — and the chance to spend time in a beautiful place with so many wonderful people, including a few from central Maine who we were surprised to see there. The festival draws folks from all over, but it’s not a huge crowd. We hope to make this an annual event on our schedule. When Maili called us to the boat for our return to Swan’s, we weren’t ready to leave.

Visit George’s website — — for book reviews, outdoor news and all Travelin’ Maine(rs) columns, found listed by town in the “Best of Maine” section.

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