Swan’s Island not for everyone, just right for a few

Posted Sept. 06, 2012, at 7:26 p.m.

“Swan’s Island is not for everyone.”

So opens an essay about Swan’s Island written several decades ago by Peg Bailey, a Swan’s Island real estate agent. Most Swan’s Islanders would agree that Peg’s dubious-sounding promotion remains largely true.

The year-round population stands at about 332, a quirky combination of lifetime locals and former summer people called to permanency by the island’s allure. What they may not share in life experience, they share in the spirit of tenacity and independence that is required for life on an isolated island off the coast of Maine. It is a life that requires patience, a sense of humor and the will to make your own way.

“Winter is like Alcatraz,” says one resident. And yet he stays.

There is something that fuels the soul out here, engulfed by the elemental forces of sea and sky. When nature’s raw beauty isn’t enough to buoy up their spirits, residents cast creative ingenuity upon their surroundings. And when things get really tough, another islander said, they rally round each other; “That’s when the community shines its brightest.”

Robin Clifford Wood welcomes feedback at