As we gathered the last of the season’s guests around companionable tables in 88 and Bogie’s this past weekend, and as the frosty nights and wind-gusted days challenge the leaves that still hold fast to their branches, we got to thinking about seasonal holidays.
Piles of pumpkins and squash at the farmer’s markets await All Hallows Eve. And then it’s the month of remembrance.
Here, too, it’s the time for gathering in. And that brings us to origin stories. Soon the families we’ve welcomed here at Spruce Point Inn will gather around Thanksgiving tables, laden with the year’s moments. Toasts will be made to the feast and to present and absent friends.
So, it is at the core of who we are to consider the stories that frame us, and the surprises that often lie in wait in ancestry and the re-examination of the histories. That First Thanksgiving itself is challenged while remaining central to the American myth, whether you know the Pilgrims didn’t actually land at Plymouth Rock or that the First Encounter didn’t go so well.
Reminded of our own Origin Story in the history of the Inn and the complicated path that has led us to where we are, building our strengths from “oceanside memories made in Maine,” we took a look at Maine’s story.
Did you know there was an English settlement on the Maine coast at Popham more than a decade before the Mayflower sailed into Cape Cod Bay? The few households who struggled through that first year abandoned the site (that continues to be the subject of fascinating archaeological study), so Jamestown VA, also settled in 1607, gets to argue with Plimouth Plantation on the story, instead of us.
But as we shutter the Inn for the winter, clearing out the pantries (and knowing we have warm homes to head to), we can’t help but consider the hardships those colonists faced in Popham and Plymouth. Staring down New England winter on the coast. Huddling against the storms that even 21st century Mainers here in Boothbay try to avoid. These are sobering thoughts, yes, but the wonder is that the experiment worked at all.
An Origin Story assumes you’ve arrived somewhere from which to look back at where you started.
Here on Spruce Point, we take satisfaction in measuring how far we’ve come at this point every year. But we never forget where we’ve been. Or who shared the trip and the memories.