This year is the 150th anniversary of the posthumous publication of Henry David Thoreau’s The Maine Woods, and the musings he derived from three trips on the lakes, rivers and mountains between 1846 and 1857. We’re reminded of it now when September brings the yellow woods that Robert Frost wrote about. Frost’s “path diverged in a yellow woods” and taking the one “less traveled by, made all the difference.”
Looking out the kitchen window the other day, we noticed the very tips of some of the hardwoods are starting to turn color. As we stood watching them in the morning sun, we were trying to decide how we would describe the gradual lengthening of the fall foliage ‘shadow’ as it spreads across the branches of Mid-Coast Maine. We hit upon the comparison with ripening fruit (or pumpkins). And that brought us around to apples.
In 1682 when two English noblemen teed off at Hoy Lake against the Duke of York and local shoemaker, John Patersone to determine whether the game of golf had originated in England or Scotland (the Duke and the Scots won), Maine was still the American frontier, a wilderness of dark spruce forests crowding down to a rocky shore. Yet already Maine was being eyed for settlement, by 1764, Europeans had settled Boothbay sufficiently to incorporate a town. Another hundred years and the coast of Maine had become vacationland for rusticators and holiday-makers streaming out of the Northeast cities on trains and steamers to places like Spruce Point Inn, expanded from a gentleman’s hunting/fishing lodge to an inn in 1892. Golf kept pace.
Funny thing, history, memories, how the past comes back around…
One of the prized possessions and chapters in Spruce Point Inn history is this photograph, hanging in our lobby, of Robert Kennedy, with his wife Ethel, Mr. & Mrs. John Glenn, Andy Williams and Claudine Longet and other guests, posing aboard their sailboat that had just tied up at the Spruce Point Inn dock.
August 22 marks the start of Boothbay’s 250th anniversary, an event celebrated with classic New England homecoming celebrations – a parade, seafood festival and fireworks. As a resort rooted in the early days of Boothbay’s emergence as a summer destination, Spruce Point Inn salutes our history and the deep affection we have for this point of land.
Four hundred years ago, Captain John Smith sailed along the Coast of Maine, landing at the fishing camps on Monhegan Island and the Isles of Shoals. Already Europeans had sailed west to the teeming grounds now known as the Grand Banks. Maps of the coast were published in London in 15xx; But John Smith’s own 1614 map named the whole region “New England” and was popularized for a century.
Lobsters and lighthouses. There’s no escaping the iconic ‘odd couple’ of summertime Maine. They are to our visitors Down East what the Statue of Liberty is to Manhattan, the Strip to Las Vegas, the cherry trees to Washington DC.
They say that Andrew Wyeth’s “Christina’s World” is one of the most-recognized paintings in America. It’s a vision of a woman in a summer-dry field; a grey farmhouse in the distance. The story of the woman, Christina Olson and the family farm in Cushing, Maine is one of Andrew Wyeth’s enduring, some say “wondrous strange” fascinations with the people and places of Maine. Andrew was not alone in his love affair with Maine – his father NC and his son Jamie have also put paint to the romance, history and landscape of our sea and sky.
“Stopfulness.” That’s the word New England historian J. Dennis Robinson uses to describe the quiet and calm of immersing oneself in a sense of place and the moment. He finds it in events and experiences that catch your breath with their authenticity and the opportunities they provide to absorb your surroundings through every sense. They are places that let you stop and take a look around, to get a new perspective on the day.
Skimming the headlines of the Boothbay Register this week, one knows that another Maine summer has arrived. Like so many others who’ve ‘come home’ for the season (and those who us who live here year ‘round) we greet local news as gossipy cream in our morning coffee. There’s the new Landing at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, making the scenic spot perhaps the only Top 10 US Garden you can visit by boat. A stop we recommend highly for the mix of habitats, woods to shoreline, as well as the report that there’s a new surprise blooming around every turn.