These two motel owners came for a visit to Acadia and never left

STORIES OF ACADIA: A couple in paradise

Dave and Vickie Lloyd

Favorite spot: Stargazing on deck of their home in Southwest Harbor, with the ocean to their left and the stars reflecting on a pond right in front. “Standing here is like being on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise,” Dave Lloyd said. “You have stars below you and stars above you.”

Dave and Vickie Lloyd wouldn’t have ended up in Maine if it hadn’t been for a chatty airplane seatmate who bent Dave Lloyd’s ear during a business trip about 20 years ago. That man told Dave about a place called Mount Desert Island, and his plan to retire there.

When Dave Lloyd found his job as an insurance fraud investigator had been eliminated, he remembered that conversation, and decided to take a look at the island. Over a six-month period, he and Vickie found the Seawall Motel in Southwest Harbor, bought it, and moved to the island. Their business sits on property that abuts the park, and the couple enjoy welcoming visitors from around the globe each year.


“[Acadia means] peace, comfort,” Dave Lloyd said. “We fell out of high-pressure work and ended up here. The park brings people from around the world, and we visit with them, we enjoy them, we learn from them … I’m sorry that [readers] can’t smell this fresh sea air that we’re smelling right now. It’s deluxe.”

With that said, the ocean’s potential power and fury are never far away, as the Lloyds relearn every time a winter storm runs ashore. Their home, adjacent to the motel, gives them a front row seat to Mother Nature’s handiwork in good times and bad. 

During one such storm, the waves washed over the seawall and Seawall Road for four consecutive high tides. 

Dave Lloyd says that the aftermath of a storm can cover the road with gravel and football-sized stones, which are cleared by large trucks with snowplows attached.

“The biggest rock I saw on the road was a piece of granite that was easily three feet long and two feet wide and one foot thick,” he said. “It was heavier than I could budge. And I tried.” 

Despite living on the edge of the ocean, the prospect of climate change and rising sea levels don’t concern Dave Lloyd much. If the sea does rise, he says, his buildings would be among the first claimed by the sea. But he thinks any such change would be a long-term event. 

“If it does come, I think it will come slowly enough that there won’t be any dramatic washouts, and ultimately, if it comes, the pond will become a saltwater marsh, and we’ll have oceanfront property,” he said. “But I don’t see that happening. Certainly not in the short term.”

John Holyoke

About John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their natural habitat. The stories he gathers provide fodder for his columns, and this blog.