Winslow Homer & Me

West Point, Prouts Neck by Winslow Homer

My new Editor's Note is up over at the day job. In it, I talk about my childhood in Scarborough, Maine, and my tenuous connection to the greatest American artist of all time:

When I was in high school and college, I spent my summers working in various capacities at the Black Point Inn on Prouts Neck. I started as a dishwasher, graduated the following year to the grounds crew, and even did a stint as a night watchman (a job that mostly involved chasing raccoons out of the hallways and local kids out of the pool) before I finally found my true calling as a bellman. I didn’t think much of the position at the time, but, in retrospect, I realize that working the bell desk was a pretty good gig. Yes, I had to carry some massive pieces of luggage up three flights of stairs, but I also got to park some insanely expensive sports cars, and the tips were phenomenal. One of my duties was driving the inn’s black London taxicab, “Wally,” back and forth to the airport when someone needed a ride. Another involved leading guests along the treacherous cliff walk to the Winslow Homer studio around the corner. There, I would wait outside while the late Doris Homer, who had once been married to the famous painter’s nephew, conducted an informal tour of the premises, which had been much altered since the artist’s days.

The Portland Museum of Art recently became the custodian of Homer's studio and have transformed it into something truly special. If you are in Maine or are planning a trip here this fall, you should get in line to visit. 

Bonus trivia: The bestselling Irish novelist John Connolly also worked at the Black Point Inn, although our tenures there didn't overlap.