Decor Maine: Gem of Vacationland
by Kathryn Williams
"Places, like people, are hard to pin down, too easy to flatten. And every portraitist, as Pablo Picasso so dramatically demonstrated, has their angle—or angles.
Painting a picture of Mount Desert Island, Kim Swan’s perspectives are as varied as any cubist master’s: Bar Harbor kid since the age of 4 (she grew up near the hospital and now lives a mile and a half from her childhood home); real estate broker and investor turned hospitality developer (at her father’s urging, she entered real estate at age 19 and now runs the family business, Swan Agency Real Estate, with an expanded focus on luxury inns and bed-and-breakfasts); dedicated public servant (childhood visions of serving in the U.S. Senate gave way to numerous local and state boards and associations, as well as 10 years on the Bar Harbor Town Council); creative enthusiast with a love for art and interior design (she also dabbles as a film and television producer and music publisher).
Sitting on a deck of The Bayview Hotel, which she purchased in 2018 and has been renovating with an eye toward rustic sophistication, Kim hardly sees the cruise ship moored in her line of vision anymore.
It’s hard to talk about MDI without talking about tourists, but to sum up the roughly hundred-square-mile island, home to Acadia National Park, as a tourist destination is to do a disservice, and not just to the 10,000-strong year-round population. What Kim sees, instead of the cruise ship, are the spectacular view’s “layers”—the juxtaposition of trees and rock and smaller islands and, beyond, the green hump of the Schoodic Peninsula, her new favorite spot. Read More