Monday, March 28, 2011

Summer House

From Joe Viger:

I’m fascinated by getaways and summer houses. Friends of mine on Facebook have probably noticed a series of shared posts from Steve Casimiro’s blog called “Weekend Cabin” that indulges this fascination. Sometimes in the fall I started making images of summer houses.

This seems sort of silly I guess, but there’s something about these places that intrigues me. I’ll confess that part of this fascination is pure, unadulterated envy on my part. Who are these people who own these amazing properties and are content to let them sit dormant most of the year!? Usually I imagine quitting my job and moving in immediately.

But, I think there’s more to it than that. These houses are often architectural gems. In the valley north of NH’s Presidential Range, summer houses are built in “the Randolph style.” This is a specific shingled cottage popular in the little town of Randolph, NH.
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Others are classic New England.
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Some are reflections of their surroundings, like when riverstones are used in the building.
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Some summer homes are more modest, but no less interesting to me.
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When my Dad passed away, I remember thinking there should be more than his dog tags from the Navy and an old, corduroy railroader cap. So, above all, I think the hook for me with summer houses is the sense of family legacy that they invoke. I see them as touch points to shared history and experience of place that tie people together. Summer houses play host to generations of visits by families and friends. The only agenda item for the gatherings are unstructured time where people connect, enjoy each other and perpetuate family myth.

I realize this may be a romanticized idea that isn’t always true. But certainly legacy is getting tougher to come by as people have become more transient, families are changing shape more frequently and financial pressures make it harder and harder to hold on to family assets. All hail the summer house. Someday I’ll have one.

1 comment:

  1. Another great post, Joe! The part of me that has always wanted to be an old-money WASP really wants a summer house, too. Several years ago I had a brainstorm: all of my friends with summer places should have parties there, and should invite me!

    Keep saving all your hard-earned money!