Featured House: A Crescent Beach Cottage

Far from the madding crowd
Fri, 02/13/2015 - 1:15pm

When you walk into Dennis and Mary Ellen O'Connor's house, there is a wooden sign that says "Cead Mille Failte" which means "a hundred thousand welcomes." This may not be an exaggeration. According to Mary Ellen, since 1994, when the O'Connor's first purchased the home, the family has hosted innumerable guests — family and friends from far and wide. The house is brimming with memories and it doesn't hurt, according to Mary Ellen, that it has a location "to die for. The views are just incredible." It's just a short, private walk to the beach.

The O'Connors moved here when their three children were still young. "Now they're grown up and living around the country," Mary Ellen says, which is part of the reason why her family is letting the house go. The kids used to have jobs on the island, and the family was able to spend the entire summer at the house. "We’re just not using it and somebody should be using it more," she says. "We’re not getting out there as much as we used to."

After a childhood spent in New Jersey, the O'Connors were living in Atlanta, Georgia, when they decided they wanted to move up north. They had heard about Block Island and made a visit. "Our youngest was six years old and so we put on a backpack and pedaled all over the island. We said, 'This is the most wonderful place in the world.'" The family rented for years, and when this house (fire number 1713 on Corn Neck Road) became available, "we jumped on it."

Mary Ellen describes the place as "idyllic. The thing I love about the house is that Block Island can be wild and crazy and that our house is far from the madding crowd. You're in your own private home, but you still have the community around you." The house abuts the Mitchell Farm and conserved land.

Her memories of the landscape around the home are very clear. "We could look out the window and see Adrian's (Adrian Mitchell) fields. I saw my first snowy owl, and it was thrilling! I had never seen one before." Mary Ellen remembers Adrian's old familiar cow, Nellie, perched on the hill. "I would say that when you're on Block Island it's like living in a nature preserve," Mary Ellen says.

The house, which was built in 1989, sits on 12 1/2 acres and has a drilled well and septic system. It's winterized, has a laundry, and a basement (unfinished). There are six rooms, three bedrooms and three and-a-half baths spread out over 2,480 square feet. There is an outdoor shower and the home comes furnished. Almost all of the artwork in the home is the work of Block Island artists. 

"It’s the loveliest location. It’s a great house," Mary Ellen says. "It's carefree, it's charming. There’s always room for family and friends." 

In other words, room for another "hundred thousand welcomes."

The house is listed at $1,625,000 through Attwood Real Estate, Box 326, Block Island, R.I., 02807. Phone: (401) 466-5582. Email: attwoodrealestate@verizon.net. For more information, please visit www.attwoodrealestate.com