Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Caryl asks: Does she or doesn't she buy this house?

Here's an essay I wrote recently that appears on the last page of the February issue of Martha Stewart Living, the one with the cover of a beautiful tissue-paper flower heart that we will never make (and the cover line suggesting 147 ways to show your love.) The story, (which includes this picture-perfect illustration of a house I fell in love with), is called:


The newspaper ad read like a wish list of everything one might want in a second house---if one wanted a second house. "Nantucket cottage in charming village: bluestone patio, wood-burning fireplace, English garden." The listing didn't mention that the house was within walking distance of an independent bookstore, an art cinema, a health-food store, a yoga studio, and two farm-to-table restaurants. But it was.

Let's go see it," I said to my friend Mary Lou (aka Maryl). I wasn't really interested, but the two of us had a habit of taking trains to random destinations. Train trips assured a nice long visit with plenty of talking time, few interruptions, and on occasion, heart-stopping scenery. We were lucky this time. The 90 -minute ride to the 'charming village' followed the Hudson River due north from New York City, where I lived with my daughters in a mid-19th century loft . . . .

Now if you want to know how this little tale ends, whether I buy the house that was not my taste at all or if I just went along for the ride, you will have to read the magazine. Or, if I get five comments begging to know the answer (yes, it's come down to that), I will print the ending which, by the way, involves my dead mother, a kindly old couple and a Steiff bear collection (have to keep you interested). Or maybe you want to know instead how to commission a painting of your own home or a dream house or maybe the portrait is of one in the same. Well, I know a talented artist: the girl with the pearls shown here. But you'll have to leave a comment to find out her contact information. Looking forward to hearing from you on either account. Think of it as the 148th way to show your love.


  1. I want to know what village on the Hudson; I spent summers near the town of Hudson. But post the rest of the story too.

  2. You're sly, "Caryl". But here's a comment from one of your old college'll have to leave a comment to find out which one! Either way, I love what you and ML are doing here. Keep it up!

  3. I adore happy accidents especially when they involve dream homes or portraits.
    Thanks so much for reading my blog too.

  4. Oh, god, do I have to buy MSL to find out what happened? Perhaps I could just sneak a peak in the checkout line at the supermarket. Either way, congrats!

  5. On my way to B&N to pick up the latest MSL mag.-you had me at "the wreath we'll never make." NEVER! But I love your writing and the modern Vermeerian Pearl Girl artist.

  6. Thanks to the Fab Five for giving me just enough comments to print the ending. I'm
    afraid I can't reveal the name of the town or it will be overrun by (more) urban ex-pats but I hope Anonymous will identify herself. I know one person it's not because she's the Boston Artz Momma!

  7. I read the Martha Stewart article first and because I was reading it using zinio on my iMac, it was a simple click and I was here. So I know the end of the story. Lucky you...the cottage seems fabulous!

  8. In throes of grieving over a lost love of 22 years, Valentine's Day couldn't be over too soon (funny, had that same thought New Year's Eve) this year. In tidying my nightstand today I found the pink tissue paper cover MSL buried under a kleenex box and cook books(I read cookbooks in bed when I'm unconsolable). Yikes, another reminder of "V-Day" but before dropping martha in the trash flipped to the back page, for no reason really, and looooooved "The Accidental Cottager!" Oh somehow it brought me hope, then still dumped it in the trash, just to get that damned pink cover out of my life!! However, your story was the redeeming value of that damned reminder of V day. Oh the pain of it all!!

    1. Dear Anonymous,

      Thank God, we are past Valentine's Day--and next New Year's is still a while off. I know the pain of losing a love. It is many ways the hardest loss. I have been there and recently and in that cute little house even. I am glad you liked the piece, and I am thrilled The Accidental Cottage cheered you--
      if only for a moment. Stay tuned. Someday I am planning to post about
      Heart Break but right now I can't find words.

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