Living Legacy: Bonnie Brooks

Meet my mother Bonita Tilton Brooks!

I wanted to tell you about a very special person here at French’s Point…. my mother, Bonnie. She’s a big part of what makes French’s Point so beautiful. Read on to find out how.

Mom grew up in Sidney, Maine. She was the oldest of six children born to a Marine and a pediatric nurse. Bonnie was a busy and energetic child… traits which remain to this day, along with her youthful exuberance. She and my father raised three children (my brother, sister and me) here in Maine. She is the very best grandmother to my children (Bristol, Bailey, Camden and Payton) who love their Nonnie without limits. A farm girl from childhood, Bonnie has leant her green thumb, indelible work ethic and love of the beauty of nature to the French’s Point Estate since we purchased it in 2002. At the time, the nearly 20 acres upon which our venue sits was primarily free of any landscaping. Aside from the beautiful wild blueberry fields, there was very little other grounds work. She has invested love, countless hours and so much sweat equity to make this venue beautiful for our visitors.

Mom’s dedication to the physical beauty of this environment and the vision she has had for the grounds have shaped the enhancements made over the last 11 years. She has established terraces, overlooks, the acres of formal gardens, an organic produce garden, and an orchard. Bonnie has been the visionary and the nurturing, loving heart behind it all. The family jokes that we rarely see my mother’s beautiful smile (which I am blessed to have inherited) because her head is always in a shrub, bush or garden from sun up to sun down.

From the beginning Bonnie has felt a connection to this land that is evident not only in the beauty of her landscaping, but also in her passion for each living thing here. There are so many incredible stories about Bonnie’s ties to French’s Point, but this one is my favorite:

There were originally four red oak trees that the church had planted to the west of the Estate around 1885. Over the course of time, three of the trees fell to disease or storm damage. Only one remained when we began the restoration of French’s Point Estate in 2006. One major limb was split from 100 years of campers climbing up by the dozens for photos. The roots of the tree were wrapped around the posts upon which the Estate sat which were being replaced with a full foundation. Ultimately, we decided that the tree had to go. Bonnie climbed up into that tree and would not come down until we agreed to save the tree; her own little sit-in. It worked. We let the tree stay and over the years she has lovingly repaired it and continues to care for it. This tree, which we’ve dubbed the Family Tree, resembles the most beautiful bonsai tree when seen silhouetted against the sunset. From two vantage points on the property, you can see the beautiful shape of the heart formed by the major limbs of the tree… this is so appropriate because this tree’s protector has a heart that knows no equal.

You will likely see Bonnie when you visit French’s Point. She will greet you with that lovely, welcoming smile. As one of your hosts, she will do everything in her power to help you enjoy your time here with us.

Contact us today to see our Family Tree and meet Bonnie!

All photos of Bonnie by Spring Smith Studios.