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Listening to Stone Stories

Listening to Stone Stories

Seems like this time of year is meant for taking walks. Savoring the December sunshine and the glistening woodland path contrasting the deep sapphire of the bay.

Walking, we see what Howard Mansfield calls “the bones of the earth.” The outcropping of granite. And the regimented rows of stone walls, crisscrossing woods where once there were fields cleared for planting. Maine harvested a weighty crop of granite boulders when Yankee farmers began pushing them aside in the mid-1800s. Before them, native nations set stones as trail markers. Some of those old tumbledown and moss-covered walls deep in the forest are not the work of settlers, but of those who have known these woods for millennia. Who stacked stone cairns as memorials to friendship (as they did on Casco Bay, where Governor Dudley added stones as part of treaty discussions) and as signposts. Easier to identify when traversing the paths on snowshoes, when drifts covered precipitous slopes and streams hid beneath a layer of ice.

Mansfield met a geologist named Robert Thorson, who said stones talked to him. Beneath his fingers he could hear the tiny voices of mineral grains pinging back to sand, worn smooth by aeons – and sometimes by human hands – like the Nausets’ rock at Cape Cod National Seashore with the hollows of sharpened ax blades and grooves of fish hooks.

The legacy of the stones is measured in imperceptible time; while our own stories move at a pace imperceptible to the stones. Whirring as if we were hummingbird wings measuring out our days here on the third rock from the Sun. And perhaps that’s what draws us down Grand Avenue and out along Route 27, as our stand of spruces gives way to ancient orchards. And what some locals call “rock gardens,” consciously filled with memorials meant to last.

Here at Spruce Point Inn we remember those before us in the history of the place and people. Just as Boothbay Railway Village has built an enduring row of stories – like the Spruce Point Chapel — meant to mark a trail for those of us who come after. Perhaps we’re all paying more attention and noticing the signposts that stretch back 200 years (and a century more, here in Boothbay) as we celebrate Maine’s 200th. Both Maine and the resort have gained reputations for captivating visitors with experiences that get woven into “oceanside memories made in Maine.” And we know those are the stories that endure, the ones etched in family granite. The stones that speak to us. 


Spruce Point Inn
Phone: 207.633.4152