Taking the Long Way Home through Winter Twilight: You come, too.

Seems we spend most of these days in and out of the truck. A run to the hardware store, then back to the office. A meeting to go over guestroom enhancements. Another in the kitchen as we start to think about next year’s menus – and cultivating even more local sources (some of whom grow, all winter long, in their greenhouses).

Then we’re back in the truck for a quick trip home, or to the harbor, for lunch. Off season means you’ll spend twice as much time in Mama D’s, collecting local news and feedback on how the summer went – or how the first crowds are enjoying Gardens Aglow, and how the community is excited about Boothbay Lights. Then back to the computer.

Usually it’s long past dark by day’s end when we turn towards home; and those 9 pm summer sunsets seem a distant past, even though we haven’t even gotten to the Winter Solstice yet and the shortest day of the year.

But sometimes, like today, we happen to be on the road as the sun sinks on the horizon. And we decide to take the long way home.

Today the sun spread rose gold light on the frozen fields. Glimpsed through the bare branches, the patches of pond and stream, full from the autumn rains, are icy mirrors holding the day on pearled grey surfaces that take me back to discovering those hidden “skating rinks” when I was a kid. You knew where the wet spots were and you could see in the woods where the trees stepped back to clear the space and there might be enough room for hockey. Or maybe just an hour of gliding, suspended over depths made clear to the bottom.

That’s what memory does with the stillness of the Maine woods and sea and sky. Passing houses with lights on at the back, where dinner is getting started. Admiring the spare beauty of the winter landscape we put up with the cold and the storms to experience. Building anticipation where the trees step back to reveal a treasure.

All of that plays back memories in our head — where we’ve seen this all before.

Just as those memories were made over many years and often are the most vivid from when we were very small, we now see them as the gift they are. The opportunity that enabled them was no more than being in this place at a particular time; yet that road could have diverged on so many other paths that would have left us without the memories.

When we say Spruce Point Inn helps create “oceanside memories, made in Maine” we consciously offer that gift. We make sure this is a place everyone, even the very small, will come back to in their minds (and, we hope, for real).

We take the long way home because we know the discoveries the road holds for the traveler.

Echoing Robert Frost, the master of stopping by familiar woods, it’s an open invitation worth repeating as we hold open a figurative door to next summer: “I shan’t be gone long. You come, too.” Photo by student from Spruce Point Photography Workshop with David Marx.