When you’re heading north on Route 1 this summer toward Bar Harbor, you’ll likely unknowingly pass a little side road in Stockton Springs that hides a most stunning secret: French’s Point. With jaw-dropping water views from three sides, a masterfully restored historic mansion and first class customer service, French’s Point should be a must-see when scouting potential venues. And just to be sure that you push it to the top of your To Do list this month, don’t miss the amazingly generous offer for Love and Lobster readers from French’s Point CEO Jessika Brooks at the bottom of this post! You’ll do a double-take! We sure did!

French's Point<br><a href=http://www.davidmurrayweddings.com target=_blank>David Murray Weddings</a>

L&L: Jessika, tell us a bit about you and French’s Point including the history of how and when you opened.

FRENCH’S POINT: 90 years ago, my grandmother’s uncle purchased a rustic cottage on French’s Point. He sold this cottage to my grandparents and my grandparents spent their summers at the cottage with their 3 kids including my father. My grandfather would drop my grandmother and the children off at the cottage when school let out for the summer and would drive the hour and a half drive inland to central Maine each Monday to go to work. He would return on Friday night all summer long to enjoy the cottage with his family and friends in the neighboring cottages. My father grew up playing on the beaches and running in the blueberry fields and woods near the cottage, as did I with my sister and brother years later.

The old “Hersey Retreat” was a summer camp and church retreat owned by the Bangor Universalist Unitarian Church for over 100 years. In 2001, the church decided to sell the property which was about 1000 feet from our cottage. I had grown up working for caterers who provided services for the many weddings that took place there during the church’s ownership and I fell in love with the property.  It is what sparked my love of event planning and was how I chose my career. In 2002 I moved home to French’s Point and my family purchased the old “Hersey Retreat” and we set about the permitting process to renovate the estate. In 2005, we finally had a path forward and permits in hand and we did a complete restoration and a vast expansion of the original structure to make it larger in size to accommodate large groups. We opened in 2006 as French’s Point, an exceptional estate, for extraordinary events.

courtesy French's Point

L&L: Are you open for events year-round?

FRENCH’S POINT: Yes, French’s Point is beautiful year round. It is well known that Maine hosts beautiful events in the summer and fall, but French’s Point also hosts stunning winter weddings.

L&L: When is your busiest season?

FRENCH’S POINT: September, October and June have historically been our busiest months, but we host the majority of our events between May and November with a hand-full around the winter Holidays and in January and February.

French's Point<br><a href=http://www.emilieinc.com target=_blank>emilie inc. photography</a>

L&L: How far in advance do couples typically book?

FRENCH’S POINT: On average couples book 12-18 months in advance for summer and fall Saturday events, 6-12 months in advance for non- Saturday prime season events, and as little as 6 weeks in advance for winter and off-prime season events.

L &L: How many people can you accommodate?

FRENCH’S POINT: We can accommodate 30-300 guests.

courtesy French's Point

L&L: Do most people have their ceremony and reception on site?

FRENCH’S POINT: Yes, about 90% opt to host the entire event on the estate. We have hosted the ceremony at the gazebo, which is always beautiful, but we have also hosted the ceremony on the terrace, along the shore, in the field and inside the conservatory. All areas provide an amazing waterfront presence for the ceremony.

 

French's Point<br><a href=http://www.staceykane.com target=_blank>Stacey Kane</a>

L&L: How do most of your brides and grooms find you? And are they usually living locally?

FRENCH’S POINT: They find us online through our website or other search engines and sites. They also hear about us from guests who have attended events here or from vendors we work with regularly.

90% of our couples currently live out of state. All of our clients have a Maine connection, however. Many grew up in Maine and went to school here. Others summered here or visted Maine at some point in their lives and fell in love with the state. Others fell in love with Maine or French’s Point, in particular, from afar and have never been in person, but know they want a Maine coastal wedding. A hand full of clients in the past never visited French’s Point prior to their wedding day! Many clients inititally thought they would host their weddings in Cape Cod or Nantucket and for various reasons, found their way to French’s Point. We have even had some 4th generation members of the summer community on the road marry at French’s Point. Two summers ago we hosted a wedding for a bride whose parents had married at the estate 35 years prior.

courtesy French's Point

L&L: If most guests are coming from out of town, where do you recommend they stay overnight?

FRENCH’S POINT: We refer guests to several cottages along the road if they are looking for an extended stay for their guests. There are 6 cottages within walking distance that are available for rental, and when we are at full capacity we can sleep 80 guests on the point. We have a 9 bedroom luxury estate we own and operate next door called The Farm at French’s Point and this property can sleep up to 25 guests and has its own beach and water frontage with 8+ acres. This is ideal for the wedding party or family. Nightly accommodations nearby are the Inn at Ocean’s Edge (a luxrury waterfront resort), the Belfast Bay Inn and Suites (a small boutique luxury inn), the Belfast Harbor Inn (a more modest waterfront inn) and the Belfast Comfort Inn (a large capacity economy waterfront hotel). There are numerous bed and breakfasts nearby as well. We do often arrange for luxury motorcoach transportation to and from the accommodations off-site to provide ease and safety to guests attending a wedding at French’s Point.

courtesy French's Point

L&L: What was the most memorable wedding at French’s Point and why?

FRENCH’S POINT: The wedding of a dear friend whose parents own the cottage next door to my parents was the most memorable wedding at French’s Point. She is from Tennessee… a true southern belle. We were the very best of friends growing up in the summers. She became a lawyer and was engaged to another lawyer she met in law school. She knew she, like her two sisters before her, wanted to have a Maine wedding. We had not renovated the estate when her sisters were married years prior, but we all had a soft place in our hearts for the property growing up. It was a dream come true for her to marry on the estate and I had an amazing experience to be her bridesmaid and event planner. She truly appreciated every aspect of the property and each detail had such meaning to her. She was so thoughtful about all of her selections. She brought all 200 guests to French’s Point (not unlike most of our guests) from all over the country including the deep south and the west coast. It was a true destination wedding… as are most of our events, but one with so much sentiment for me because of her tie to the estate, and to our family.

courtesy French's Point

L&L: You were married at French’s Point in 2008. What was that experience like, being on the other side of the planning process, and what advice do you now offer brides from what you have learned from being a bride?

FRENCH’S POINT: Having my wedding at French’s Point was a life long dream. My sister and I grew up imagining a wedding on the point when we watched numerous brides marry at the estate as children when the church owned the property. The actual experience of marrying at French’s Point was an eye-opening experience for me to see the whole process from the bride’s prospective… everything from creating a seating plan in the space, to working with vendors I worked with regularly as the planner, and then as the bride. I believe it helped me to better assist my clients because I can relate to their questions and concerns, and now really anticipate them as well. Walking down that promenade on that warm February day, I had a true sense of the surreal… so many dreams coming true for me all at once!

French's Point<br><a href=http://www.casmithphotography.com target=_blank>CA Smith Photography</a>

L&L: What must-see places and eateries do you suggest people check out in Stockton Springs and Belfast?

FRENCH’S POINT: We are fortunate because our area has so many sights and attractions nearby. We are an easy 45 minute drive form Bar Harbor and Camden… perfect for day trips, but Belfast is a short 15 minutes away. The village is experiencing quite a renaissance with many shops and restaurants to explore and activities like kayaking and sailing in the harbor. I enjoy the vegetarian cuisine at Chase’s Daily and the pub fare at Darby’s. My favorite local gourmet restaurant is the Rhumb Line, just 10 minutes from French’s Point. Within 20 mintues of French’s Point, we have 12 state parks available for exploration including Sandy Point State Park which is a 100-acre preserve with 2 miles of walking trails surrounding French’s Point. Ten minutes away we have historic Fort Knox and the Penobscot Observatory and Fort Point Lighthouse just across the bay.

courtesy French's Point

L&L: Thank you for sharing a bit of insight with us about French’s Point. If folks want to get in touch with you to inquire about availability or take a tour of the space, what is the easiest way for them to do so?

FRENCH’S POINT: Please feel free to contact us for more details via phone at 207-567-3650, via e-mail at ceo@fpmaine.com, or visit our website at www.fpmaine.com for more details about French’s Point.

 

Posted in Inside Peek

(4) COMMENTS Leave A Comment share the love

  1. Love and Lobster
    Suzanne
    07/07/2010 at 9:29 am Permalink

    I was just up in that area this past weekend and am kicking myself for not driving down there. What a gorgeous location!

  2. Absolutely gorgeous! Such an amazing location. Fabulous pictures.

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