You have to be there to hear the music of the universe

Comet Catalina is currently coursing through the eastern sky just “below” the handle of the Big Dipper. Visible with the aid of binoculars or a small telescope (good time to try out that Christmas gift?), the comet is a fuzzy blur in the night sky. Although making its closest approach to earth on January 17th, the comet is still thousands of miles away and is no threat for a collision. That’s because out in the Oort Cloud, 2.4 trillion miles away, a nudge from what scientists think is an invisible Brown Dwarf star — three times the size of Jupiter – changed this and many other comets’ trajectories. A little shift with significant repercussions – like that butterfly wing we hear about that might be responsible for weather changes half a world away.

Small, seemingly insignificant details can make a difference. One shoe squashing a spark could prevent a massive forest fire. One degree changes rain to treacherous ice. Something that escapes our notice in a guestroom could spell the difference between happiness and dissatisfaction.

That’s why we devote the off-season here at Spruce Point Inn to going over the checklist that we keep of “the little things.” Sometimes they result from a guest comment; sometimes they’re part of our rigorous work plan that cycles through everything from linens to hardware, season after season, year after year. If you’re like us, when we stay in other people’s hotels, the little things add up to the big picture impression that property forms in our heads. Are the baseboards scuffed from the housekeeper’s vacuum? Are the curtains off a few of their hooks? Is the bathroom grout dingy?

That grout is one of the least sexy topics for discussion; yet it seems that bathroom tile was created as the innkeeper’s curse – all those straight lines and sharp corners begging for closer inspection when you’re stuck with not much else to look at. You really wonder why custom has adopted the ceramic tile convention when its very installation requires such finesse. Yet regrouting the bathroom tile at Spruce Point Inn is one of our winter projects – and one we know our guests will notice; one that has the potential to nudge the arc of opinion on a favorable trajectory.

Travelers speak of the potential for discovery when they choose destinations for their precious leisure time. Parents seek the places that will resonate with their young. Like our photography workshop expert David Marx, we all look for the new vista, new light, a new perspective (internal as well as external) when we travel. Sometimes, an observation as simple as the violet twilight over the ocean or a shell glinting in the shallows on the beach is enough to register the moment as a timeless memory that stays with us – even influences the way we think about other things in our lives – long after the moment passes. The effect reverberates “echoing down the timeline” long after the butterfly is flown. We know those moments happen here at Spruce Point Inn all the time. Each returning guest is drawn to this place on the coast of Maine from a different point in time and place; each is activated by a memory or experience that bears repeating. A strain of a familiar song that resonates on the heartstrings.

We think the secret to innkeeping is ensuring all the little details on which memories hinge are on the right path. We set the stage and welcome discoveries in every way we can.

The only trick is, you have to be there in person for the experience that could change your outlook; you can’t see it on your smartphone or google the app. Like the comet, you have to pass close by for the universe to give you a nudge.