French’s Point Legacy – Maybel “May” Harris Brooks

June 21, 1917-June 27, 2009

May Brooks, my sweet paternal grandmother would be 101 years old today. I miss her every day. She was a large presence in my life and really shaped who I am. She is a big part of the reason why we chose to steward the property here at French’s Point. She made this place magical for her children and grandchildren. Caring for and sharing French’s Point is a way to honor the legacy that she and my grandfather Bill started for our family.

May was born and grew up in Augusta, Maine. She was born the youngest of 5 children. Her father was a deacon of a Baptist Church and she was the granddaughter of the Civil War General Benjamin Foster Harris of the 6th Maine Infantry. She married my grandfather Willard Nash “Bill” Brooks and they settled in Winslow, Maine, and had three children, two boys and a girl. She was active as a Sunday school teacher, Den Mother, Girl Scout Leader. She was involved in the Winslow High School Band Parents Organization, and the PTA. She chaperoned trips and events for the schools and clubs. She manned the food and ticket booths at high school sporting events. She was a much-beloved secretary at the Winslow High School for more than 30 years.

In the summertime each year, May would pack up her children, ride to Sandy Point to our family cottage just down the road from French’s Point, where she would spend the weeks of school break sunbathing, digging for clams, fishing in her tiny tin boat, picking wild blueberries and walking the beach looking for skipping stones and lucky rocks. She was oftentimes the first one in our family to brave the water each year for an invigorating swim. When my cousins, siblings and I arrived on scene, we spent our summers in the same way, often in my grandmother’s care. All of our holidays were spent in her home around her table with my cousins, aunts and uncles. Family was the most important thing to May, and that was evident in everything she did. Our best family moments were spent here together at French’s Point. My best and most vivid childhood memories are filled with this beautiful soul. She loved this magical place because it was about family.

May was an outstanding home cook with her thanksgiving turkey, Christmas roast, apple and rhubarb pies, deviled eggs, BLT sandwiches, homemade french fries, and donuts. She had a sharp wit and big, beautiful smile that could turn your day around in a heartbeat. I inherited my stubborn streak from May. I also have her strong sense of empathy and her desire to love family by feeding them well. I never left my Nana’s house without some sort of treat in my hands.

My grandfather Bill passed at a young age, before I was born and my grandmother never remarried. My sweet father was devoted to his mother. He tenderly cared for her and doted on her (even when she didn’t want him to). My dad also inherited his determination and perseverance from his mom, and though they did not always agree, they loved each other fiercely. Witnessing their love for one another was such a gift. It is truly one of the most beautiful things about my father.

May met my husband Fred a few years before she passed. For this I am grateful. Knowing her has helped him understand me. She gave me the diamond ring my husband used to propose and it never leaves my finger. When we married in 2008, my grandmother was my Matron of Honor and made her way proudly down the promenade to join us at the gazebo to celebrate on that beautiful February afternoon. I could not think of a better soul to be by my side that day. My oldest daughter Bailey May, met her Great Grandmother and namesake before she passed. My other kiddos did not have this blessing. But we keep her alive in the stories we tell them and the family traditions we carry on in her honor. I feel closest to May when I am here at French’s Point, cooking for my family or playing on the beach with my babes. She is only ever a breath away.

Thank you Uncle Jim, for taking good care of our family photos. It was wonderful to walk back through these beautiful memories.

Check In For Your Stay

If you are hosting a stay at French’s Point, we want you and your family to have a smooth arrival without surprises, know what to expect while you are here, and enjoy the property to the fullest extent. As the host of a reservation at French’s Point, in preparation for your stay at French’s Point, there are a few things we want to share with you before you arrive to ensure a wonderful experience:

  1. Please confirm your check-in time with our office no later than 1 week prior to your arrival. We request that you as the hosts & your designated House Captains arrive an hour or more before your guests. We will confirm which member of our team will be here to greet you that day.
  2. A welcome area with a 2’x3’ bulletin board is provided at the entryway to both the Retreat House, Farm House & Beach House to help guests find their rooms. A map of the 14-acre property & floor plans of the houses are posted on each of these boards. Signs will help direct guests to their rooms once inside the home. We suggest posting the weekend itinerary on the bulletin board & providing a copy in your guest’s room as well.
  3. Please submit the room assignment list to our office no later than 2 weeks prior to your arrival. We will write the names of each suite’s occupants on the chalkboard signs which hang on the hooks on the outside of the suite doors prior to check-in. This will help guests find their rooms with ease.
  4. When you arrive, the main level of the Retreat House, Beach House & Farm House will be unlocked. We do not have security concerns that would require you to lock the main doors at night.
  5. The Catering Kitchen will be locked between the hours of 4pm-9am. However, when events are taking place, this area will be locked between the hours of midnight and 9am. If you wish to get ice or use the commercial coffee maker, please do so between the hours of 9am-4pm.
  6. Keys to each guest room will be in the keyhole upon check-in. If an additional set of keys is needed for guest rooms, please contact our office during business hours.
  7. If you are providing welcome bags, boxes or baskets, you can deliver these to the suites upon arrival, prior to their check-in.
  8. When you arrive, if you have event items that need to go in the cooler, you can stock them in the walk-in cooler just outside the tent hallway and recreation room on the west side lower level of the Retreat House. This cooler is accessible between the hours of 9am-4pm, or when you have events of more than 50 guests taking place. This cooler is locked at night. Please be sure to get provisions stored in this cooler when it is accessible. Please note that late September – mid-May, we do not recommend storing flowers in this cooler because of cool nighttime temperatures.
  9. 9. If you need to store event décor or other items, there is room to do so in the closet near the front portico entrance. This area is not locked during the day. Store anything of value in your suite.
  10. If you have items to deliver to the tent, do so at check-in so you do not have to move these items twice. Keep this is mind when you are packing. We suggest labeling bags and boxes by their event location and event name/date.
  11. If you would like to have items shipped to French’s Point for your stay, please ensure that they are received by our office no sooner than the Monday prior to your arrival date due to our limited storage. Please send tracking information to our office and advise us if you are expecting a package or mailing during your stay and by what means it is being sent. You can mail items to French’s Point 246 Hersey Retreat Road Stockton Springs, ME 04981 ATTN: Your Name. Please note that USPS, UPS and Fed-Ex deliveries typically arrive between 2pm-5pm Monday-Saturday. Items delivered after our office closes will be delivered to you the next day.

We look forward to hosting your family and friends during this special time. Thank you for choosing French’s Point.

The Retreat House Suite 4: The Brewer Family Suite

The second level of the Retreat House now offers four newly renovated suites with en suite bathrooms and six total bedrooms on this floor. Suite 4- The Brewer Family Suite, offers a two-bedroom configuration with a queen in each room with an adjoining bath. Our family LOVES this space and we hope other families do too. When I had my first and second babies, we lived in these suites for a time. I love thinking back to those times rocking my sweet little ones with the moon shining in the window.

We will share the details of the other Retreat House enhancements in upcoming posts. We hope you love them as much as we do.

Photography by Greta Tucker

The Retreat House Top-Level Apartment: The Brooks Family Nest

As we do almost every winter, the season was spent completing a number of major maintenance and repair projects to keep our beautiful buildings and grounds in top working order. We also completed a major renovation to the bedroom suites on the second and third floors of the Retreat House.

The Top Level Apartment

We updated and refurbished the Top-Level Apartment in the Retreat House to offer it as a cozy nest to guests, with an impressive view of the bay. My parents, Bob and Bonnie made this apartment home for eight years. They hosted many a family dinner, had slumber parties with their grandchildren in the large closets under the eaves of the roofline that they dubbed the “Hobbit Holes” and rested their weary heads after long days of love poured into the property. They loved the gentle breezes, the sound of the rain on the roof and the incredible sunrises and sunsets. My mother lovingly refers to this space as “The Nest”. I think this name is quite appropriate. This winter, they moved just down the road to the Beach Rose Cottage located next to the Farm House with my sweet Grandmama, making way for guests to enjoy this charming apartment.

The privacy that this space offers will give our bridal parties a place to gather, relax and prepare on the wedding day with an open concept kitchen, dining and living space and a waterfront fireplace parlor with a beautiful deck with broad ocean views which is perfect to enjoy a wedding day brunch and watch as the setting below comes to life for your wedding. Just inside from the balcony, the parlor has beautiful natural light and is the perfect place for your hair and make-up artists to set up shop on your wedding day. In the parlor is a tiny sink which was my grandfather, Edgar’s. He loved antiques and saw the beauty in the forgotten. It is a sweet little detail in this space. There are two large, elegant king bedroom suites on this floor as well with sitting areas, beautiful bathrooms and private balconies looking to the east and west. You are going to love the cozy setting, gorgeous views and soothing privacy that the top floor offers you and your nearest and dearest!

We will share the details of the other Retreat House Suites & enhancements in upcoming posts. We hope you love them as much as we do.

The Retreat House Suite 3: The Gay Bean Dion Suite

As we do almost every winter, this season was spent completing a number of major maintenance and repair projects to keep our beautiful buildings and grounds in top working order. We also completed a major renovation to the bedroom suites on the second and third floors of the Retreat House. I have shared with you the details of the newly refurbished Top Level Apartment in the Retreat House, Suite 1 and Suite 2, both located on the second floor, in recent posts.

The second level of the Retreat House now offers four newly renovated suites with en suite bathrooms and six total bedrooms on this floor. All of the rooms on the top, second-level and main floor of the Retreat House have been dedicated to family members and dear friends that played a key role in our stewardship of this property. Suite 3- The Gay Bean Dion Suite is our largest suite with a massive ocean view deck with hammock, hammock chairs, cafe table and chairs to take in the views. The room also offers a sitting area and an en suite bathroom with tub/shower unit.

When we first opened the Retreat House in 2006, I had connected with a childhood friend that had grown up here on the point with my father in the summer times. Her name is Gay Bean Dion. She became a very dear friend and worked very hard to help get the Retreat House up and running. My children know her as “Nanny Gay”. She just recently moved to Rhode Island to be closer to family and we miss her (and her cookies). I dedicated the room to her because she was such a good friend and like a mother to me in some ways. The views from this room really are remarkable, just like Gay. This room is special to me because I lived in it for a time with my wee little girl, Bailey. She learned to walk in this room. Her swinging cradle made by my father used to hang next to my bed and the breeze blowing in from the ocean rocked her to sleep on summer nights.

We will share the details of the other Retreat House Suites  & enhancements in upcoming posts. We hope you love them as much as we do.

The Retreat House Suite 2: The May Harris Suite

As we do almost every winter, the season was spent completing a number of major maintenance and repair projects to keep our beautiful buildings and grounds in top working order. We also completed a major renovation to the bedroom suites on the second and third floors of the Retreat House. I will share with you the details of the newly refurbished Top Level Apartment in the Retreat House and Suite 1, located on the second floor, in future posts.

The second level of the Retreat House now offers four newly renovated suites with en suite bathrooms and six total bedrooms on this floor. All of the rooms on the top, second-level and main floor of the Retreat House have been dedicated to family members and dear friends that played a key role in our stewardship of this property.

Suite 2- The Maybel Harris Brooks Suite (my personal favorite on the second level) has a king bedroom with a gorgeous en suite bathroom with new fixtures, a claw-foot soaking tub, and new tiled shower glass enclosure. And a private partially covered balcony with cafe tables and chairs, swinging beds and hammock chairs. The views from this suite are breathtaking. The blue and gray touches in the bedroom bring the water view inside and make this room very soothing.

One of the reasons that I love this room so much is because I have some wonderful memories sitting with my dear grandmother Maybel Harris Brooks the day after my wedding. I remember her soft white hair gleaming in the sunshine that day and her stunning smile. She was a very special lady to me. She was my Matron of Honor and this lovely lady (from whom I get my spunk and determination) is a big part of why we became the stewards of French’s Point.

We will share the details of the other Retreat House Suites  & enhancements in upcoming posts. We hope you love them as much as we do.