The Big House

The Big House

A Century in the Life of An American Summer Home

Book - 2003
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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: 9780684845173
Branch Call Number: 973.492 Colt
Characteristics: viii, 327 p. ; 24 cm.


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Sep 24, 2013

more a history of cape cod.

rdoug51 Jun 27, 2013

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.

Cdnbookworm May 17, 2011

Colt tells the story of a summer home on Cape Cod that was built in 1903 and that he spent summers at regularly all his life. Not only is it the story of an interesting house, but it is also a social history of summer homes on the Cape and a family history. Colt talks about the last summer he spent at the house with his wife and young children, and reminisces about the time he spent as a child. He also delves back further into the lives of his grandparents and great-grandparents. Also included are aunts, uncles, and cousins. He talks about the family secrets, including mental illness, and about the summer family relationship with the locals. This is an interesting book, that I thoroughly enjoyed. It made me want to explore and pick through all the things in the Big House, to see what interesting things came to light. It also reminded me of the farmhouse I spent some of my summer vacation at for most of my childhood, a house that my grandparents lived in.


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