For Charlotte: second star on the right and straight on ’til morning
We were saddened to learn of the passing of Charlotte Harold Druce, who with her husband John, provided the hospitality Spruce Point Inn grew famous for.
From 1957, when Charlotte’s father Raymond P. Harold purchased the Inn until their retirement in 1991, the Druces built the reputation that drew such guests as the Bobby and Ted Kennedys, Andy Williams and Claudine Longet, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, Senator Ed Muskie, network news commentator Sander Vanocur, – and burnished the reputation the Inn originated when it opened in 1892 to “rusticating” captains and kings of industry.
Though they had only three guests during the first summer, under the ownership of the Druces, the inn once again began to thrive. Interest grew as the Druces added new amenities. In 1965, they installed the saltwater pool and a miniature golf course. The following year, the Evergreen Lodge was built, and a stone wall constructed to ring the beach. The pen and ink sketches by Arthur French now decorating the walls of the guestrooms date from this era, as do photographs such as the one showing Palawan with the Kennedys, Williams and Longet on the dock just back from an afternoon’s sail.
As we look to that past with grave faces, we are buoyed by remembering Charlotte’s dedication to Spruce Point. Its birds. Its gardens. The glorious views of the harbor and sunset she enjoyed from this magical place.
Reading her remembrance we learned something we had forgotten. Charlotte was a cum laude graduate of Mount Holyoke College, with a major in physics and astronomy. One among the “Seven Sister” Pleiades, at home among the stars. Where else would she be than Boothbay, looking up and out, enjoying some of the most magnificent celestial displays in the country, far from the city lights (like those vacationing industrialists), on the Mid-Coast of Maine. She may have shared the dreams and ambitions of those rusticators who came to Spruce Point over a century ago. And she slipped away just as the sun reached its autumn measure with the Equinox.
We are saddened; but while her hand and John’s may no longer hold the tiller of Spruce Point Inn, we know she’s out there now, among her stars, navigating a course that still steers us true.