Monday, April 1, 2013


My wife and I have been talking about buying a beach property since before we were even married.  We've always thought it would be the kind of inheritance that would be a wonderful thing to leave to our children.  That said, there's a gigantic gulf between talk and reality.  The fact that we live in Northern Virginia means "our" beaches out three hours east along the Delmarva - Rehobeth, Dewey Beach, Bethany, Ocean City.  Add to that the fact that mid-Atlantic ocean property was simply unaffordable throughout the late-'90s up until the mid-2000s didn't exactly help us implement the dream.  Even after the mid 2000a real estate meltdown, beach properties along the Delmarva seemed to remain high -  not that properties were selling, but people held on to the hope that the market would bounce back, or their property was special and not subject to the same market forces.  

Anyhow, that longstanding interest in beach property is what captured by attention with respect to this book.

Title:  The Big House A Century of the Life of An American Summer Home
Author: George Howe Colt
Publisher: Scribner
ISBN: 0-684-8417-2
327 pages
Grade: ***** stars

It took me awhile to get into this book because it is a highly personal tale, but once I did I simply couldn't put it down.  I actually finished it while on a 12:00 pm flight returning to Washington, D.C. from St. Johns, Virgin Islands (everyone else around me was asleep, or watching what may be the worst sitcom ever to see the airwaves something called Men with Babies ?).  Anyhow, the book basically traces the history of a large Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts vacation home and the stories of the extended Boston family that built the home and lived in it throughout almost 100 years (the family sells the place in 1992). The home's history is fascinating, but so are the ups and downs of the extended family that owned the home.  The book gives you a wonderful feeling and insight into a family with more than its share of tragedies and darkness.  I guess because I see some similarities with my own extended family, it was one of those rare books that I simply couldn't put down.   Hopefully this generation of Colts and their children find the peace that their predecessors did not.

Didn't bring me any closer to a piece of the Delmarva, but I enjoyed every minute of the book.

No comments:

Post a Comment