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The Big House

A Century in the Life of An American Summer Home

Colt, George Howe

(Book - 2003)
Average Rating: 3 stars out of 5.
The Big House
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In this intimate and poignant history of a sprawling century-old summer house on Cape Cod, George Howe Colt reveals not just one family's fascinating story but a vanishing way of life. Faced with the sale of the treasured house where he had spent forty-two summers, Colt returned for one last August with his wife and young children.The Big House,the author's loving tribute to his one-of-a-kind family home, interweaves glimpses of that elegiac final visit with memories of earlier summers spent at the house and of the equally idiosyncratic people who lived there over the course of five generations.Built by Colt's great-grandfather one hundred years ago on a deserted Cape Cod peninsula, the house is a local landmark (neighboring children know it as the Ghost House): a four-story, eleven-bedroom jumble of gables, bays, sloped roofs, and dormers. The emotional home of the Colt family, the Big House has watched over five weddings, four divorces, and three deaths, along with countless anniversaries, birthday parties, nervous breakdowns, and love affairs. Beaten by wind and rain, insulated by seaweed, it is both romantic and run-down, a symbol of the faded glory of the Boston Brahmin aristocracy.With a mixture of amusement and affection, Colt traces the rise and fall of this tragicomic social class while memorably capturing the essence of summer's ephemeral pleasures: sailing, tennis, fishing, rainy-day reading. Time seems to stand still in a summer house, and for the Colts the Big House always seemed an unchanging place in a changing world. But summer draws to a close, and the family must eventually say good-bye.Elegant and evocative,The Big Houseis both magical and sad, a gift to anyone who holds cherished memories of summer.
Publisher: New York : Scribner, c2003
ISBN: 0684845172
Branch Call Number: B-Co72c 2003
Characteristics: viii, 327 p. ;,24 cm

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List - A home of my own by: multcolib_tamaf Mar 25, 2014

I love Cape Cod and as a kid and teen I often dreamed of living there once I was grown. But it's not all about the Cape. It's about the house, the home, and the family that loved it and grew in it for generations. But what happens when a summer home becomes more than one family can handle?

A dual history of the Colt family & their summer house on Cape Cod recounts the house's construction 100 years earlier, including five generations of family events and their last month in the house.


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Sep 24, 2013
  • jonlockwood rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

more a history of cape cod.

Jun 27, 2013
  • rdoug51 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Excellent book for anyone who has ever owned a summer home, especially a family one that has been in the family for many years. Author's detail is superb in his description of the home and the family who lived in it. While it is a large Cape Cod home in the family for over 4 generations so the activities and setting might be different from those of us who own summer homes in the Midwest, the feelings and sentiments will be readily identifiable and appreciated by all of us.

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