The last days of Point Lookout Hotel

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Point Lookout Hotel stood at Point Lookout, in one form or another for about 150 years. The last operator of Point Lookout Hotel was Alan Brylawski, who many recall as the owner of Mr. Donut and Baskin Robbins in Lexington Park. Alan, a World War II veteran is still kicking at the age of 96 and living in Florida.

In his stories, Letter from Point Lookout Hotel which is included in The Chesapeake; Tales & Scales and The Chesapeake: Legends, Yarns & Barnacles, Alan reveals how he was selected to run the fine old hotel and what his wife thought of the deal.
He also writes of how to cook fried hard crabs and about banquets on Saturday night after the hotel closed it sat abandoned for many years as the State of Maryland fought its typically inept strategy at purchasing the property from owners who generally despised certain state officials.
During that time period, it came to look like this, stripped of anything of value by thieves and beaten by the weather. The long journey to destruction finally was reached when the transaction transferring about sixteen acres and the hotel was completed and the site of the hotel is now where the parking lot is located for the fishing pier.
Night fisherfolks might want to take care going to the restrooms as local lore points to the many ghosts of the hotel still restless and roving. 

Letter From Point Lookout Hotel

By Alan Brylawski

Special Correspondent for The Chesapeake


Well – The old Hotel is gone!  Torn down in what should have been the prime of its life.  It was built in 1929, which should have been made it 60 years old, had it been allowed to stand.  BUT, it had become old and decrepit – so it had to go.  What scares me is, that’s just how my wife described me the other day.  I hope she wasn’t too upset when I told her that I wasn’t quite ready to go just yet.  Thinking back on it, she did seem a might put out – think I better sleep with one eye open?

Point Lookout Lighthouse from Chesapeake. THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY photo
Point Lookout Lighthouse from Chesapeake. THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY photo

Speaking of being or feeling old – nothing, BUT NOTHING, will bring home the passing of years more than attending your High School graduating class’s 50th REUNION!!

It was quite an affair!  Not only was it our 50th, but it was also FIRST!!  Can you beat that?  Not having seen hardly any of the kids you graduated with for fifty years and then getting together for a couple of nights of “whoop it up”.  Just like the old days, eh?  Not quite!!

The shindig was held in the Hyatt Regency in Bethesda, Maryland (not a plug – but it was rather nice).  My wife and I stayed at the Hotel for the two nights despite the fact that Jean did not feel tiptop (perhaps the understatement of the year).  Her operation, plus a stubborn headache (this time it wasn’t me), made her just a touch grouchy in the beginning.

Jean Brylawski, longtime owner and operator of the Lexington Park Baskin Robbins for 20 years located in Millison Plaza, died in Florida in 2011.  She and her husband operated the Point Lookout Hotel. THE CHESAPEAKE photo
Jean Brylawski, the longtime owner and operator of the Lexington Park Baskin Robbins for 20 years located in Millison Plaza, died in Florida in 2011. She and her husband operated the Point Lookout Hotel. THE CHESAPEAKE photo

I think while we were checking in, her sense of humor broke through the clouds.  There, walking in front of us, was an elderly man with a very pronounced limp.  I was shocked to hear my “baby face” remark,” Oh look, I’ll bet He is one of your old classmates – HE WALKS JUST LIKE YOU!  Before I could think of a withering retort, I sorrowfully heard the gentleman ask, “Where is the 50th reunion of Woodrow Wilson High School cocktail party?”  Right then and there I had an inkling that I probably wouldn’t recognize and or remember a single solitary soul.  I think I mumbled something about going to bed.  My “better half” would have none of that (her grin was ever so slightly devilish).  “You know how I am about names!!”  she nodded and grinned some more.  I will never take her out of a sick bed again.

Just before entering the room where the first night’s festivities were being held, we were both given LARGE name tags.  Mine had a picture of a black-haired dark-complected, rather handsome boy on it.  I started to say that I had the wrong tag when it dawned on me that had been me Lo so many years ago.  Gad, the picture was from our yearbook!  It even had the dumb stuff printed under the picture.  I was NEVER called “SHORTY”!  “Devilish” or “Man-about-town” maybe, but NEVER Shorty”!!

I was never called Shorty …

As I entered the room, I knew why we had “oversized” tags on.  The first person I encountered quickly put on his glasses as I approached, bent his head to peer intently at my tag – almost hitting my chin with the top of his head while he mumbled: “Alan – so good to see you”!  After that, I took pity on people.  If they looked at me with that “should I know you look” I stuck out my hand and announced in a firm voice “I used to be Alan Brylawski”.  Wish the hell they had done the same for me – it was hard getting close enough to those SMALL to see who I was talking too.

Alan Brylawski Sr., now 96 and blind can still tell you about WWII in Europe.  THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY photo
Alan Brylawski Sr., now 96 and blind can still tell you about WWII in Europe. THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY photo

Good Lord!  That old woman I was just talking to was one of the old girlfriends!  What has happened to all these people?  My wife reminded me later that I didn’t endear myself to some of my classmates when I complained rather loudly upon entering the room “Why are all these OLD people here?”

AND THEN – in came three guys I could hate for the rest of my life – in fact, I fully intend to!!  Their names won’t mean anything to you but I shall name them out of pure arrogance.  First, there was “Jimmy Schwab” – the ONLY thing that changed about him was his hair was now snow white!  He still stood tall, erect, and handsome.  He didn’t need a name tag!  Everybody knew who he was the instant he came into the room!  Then there was “Stanley Elman”, his forehead was a scouch higher than fifty years, but that was it!!  Not a line on his face.  The worst of all was “David Wise” – NOTHING HAD CHANGED!  Shades of Dorian Gray!  I wonder if he has HIS picture in the attic?  Not only did he look like he just stepped out of our yearbook BUT he ACTED like it!  I had trouble doing the waltz and there he was “jitterbugging”.

Without a question, you can understand that HE is the easiest to hate – right?

All in all, everybody who attended had a good time.  It was great fun trying to see how many you could really remember. I was amazed and rather pleased at my ability.  As I remember it, I only insulted a few by telling them I didn’t have the foggiest notion who they were (even after they told me!)  My wife said that I behaved myself not as good as she wished but better than she hoped.  I guess that was a compliment?

If we have another reunion, I told them I thought we shouldn’t wait another fifty years – When I asked “What the hell is so funny about that?” my wife kicked me in the shins.  I don’t think I will take her to the next one.

May all your reunions be happy ones.

Till next time.


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