Marking a century’s invisible imprints on Grand Avenue
We were just reading an artist’s description of how his painterly vision incorporates but departs from the one that inspired it – in this case, Martin Johnson Heade, a painter of New England landscapes, in the 1850s. This contemporary artist said, “I wanted to respond in an authentic, personal way to the landscape as it is right now, and to the experience of being there with the memory of Heade’s paintings in the back of [my] mind.”
This c. 1910 image of Grand Avenue provides that same sort of “memory landscape” to anyone who recognizes its current 21st century appearance. It’s a familiar but vaguely disorienting view: a dreamscape that has shifted perspective to show you something new.
Perhaps that’s exactly why historic hotels and inns (and the historic sites Maine works hard to preserve) are so alluring. Of course, the craftsmanship and architecture, the materials and the breathtaking sites, like Spruce Point edging out over the approach to Boothbay Harbor, would be hard and expensive to replicate today. But, more importantly, only historic hotels can harbor the invisible imprint of those who have walked before us down this same path.
As innkeepers we think of the hosts who welcomed the rusticators, their city friends, who first came to the lodge. And we think of the various ways this building was adapted by subsequent owners, from tea house to resort, whenever we make improvements to sustain the reputation of Spruce Point Inn as the best resort in Maine, one of the best in all of the Northeast.
The guests at Spruce Point who have come back, summer after summer, bring their own companies of ghosts. The memory of a small child holding a hand is as vivid as the woman standing next to you, about to be wed. A young family with small children splashing in the pool recalls your first stay — and all the intervening years, and friends, who have moved you from Inn to townhouse to cottage. While the view down this shady lane has stayed pretty much the same.
We are proud of the history we steward at Spruce Point Inn and love to display the photographs and ephemera from past decades that is the heritage of Spruce Point Inn. But we are even more delighted to include so many guests in the history that is still being written; and to make Spruce Point part of yours. When we look at the images of the resort today, we see faces become familiar. In 2017 Grand Avenue is filled with your memories for us, too. And another hundred years from now, this lane will still contain a collection of vivid, priceless, “oceanside memories, made in Maine.”