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An honorable harvest of hospitality

In her book Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer, a botanist at SUNY, founder of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, and citizen of the Pottawatomie Nation, explains the “honorable harvest” her people have practiced for thousands of years.

The rules are simple: Don’t take the first, and don’t take the last. Take only what you can use. Be sure to leave some for the ones who follow you.  

It reminded us of the tenets of hospitality, also practiced over the millennia. Both hold the reciprocity of thanks and giving at their core.

While comparing the two we were contemplating the outpouring of support you have given Spruce Point Inn this season, again recommending the resort as a Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice among the top resorts in New England, and designating us to DownEast Magazine as the best hotel in Maine. And it struck us that as we strive to make Spruce Point and our welcome ever better, year after year (and have already started the list for ‘sprucing up’ for next season) we critically depend on you for the feedback that shapes those plans.

We never take you for granted; and judging by your willingness to cast votes in these surveys and your comments to us, you embrace your responsibility to think of us, too. Even when you’re away.

If, as some write in more nuanced history, the Thanksgiving story is one of our foundational myths, it is still worth observing that each Thanksgiving our national holiday celebrates fellowship, a personalized form of diplomacy and the feeling of reciprocal responsibility to contribute something to the feast. We like to think the values of sharing a meal (even bearing occasional doubts about those we make room for at the table), are what define our welcome.

We like that, like Spruce Point, the honorable harvest suggests the relationship of guest and host as stewards of the land itself. Beyond “leaving only footprints” the nations of Turtle Island, the earth, offer gratitude each morning for what is provided, and in Kimmerer’s words, the land murmurs, “Ohhh, here are the ones who know how to say thank you.”

It’s a different perspective on the everyday, and one that for us comes in part from having such an extraordinary place — the spruce, the bay, the rocky shore — from which to take that perspective and reflect it back to you. In oceanside memories, made in Maine.

While we hope, in this season just past, that we helped you create some of those memories, you should know that, as our reservations manager put it so beautifully, you have spun a shining assortment of fragile glass memory spheres for us, too.

photo by Lilly DiGiulian