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The Big House

February 13th, 2010 by Beth Colt

Cover art for George Colt's memorable memoir about 100 years in the life of a Cape Cod summer house.

Author George Colt (“The Big House”) will be speaking in Falmouth on March 1st.  He is staying at the Woods Hole Inn that night and has offered to breakfast with guests and sign copies of his wonderful Cape Cod memoir over our gourmet coffee and chef Sara’s sweet delights.

George is my first cousin and the characters who inhabit his book are my family.  The now-famous “big house” out on Wings Neck belonged to my grandmother Mary Forbes Atkinson.  And it is my father who (along with George’s father) once dominated the tennis scene there, my Aunt Mary who taught the young Colt boys to fish, my Aunt Sandy who died so young of cancer that she left a baby boy who grew up as my defacto brother.  See, it’s close stuff.

Having a memoir-ist in the family is a scary proposition — will we like how we are described? — but George supplies such insight, affection and humor that I found his book touching, revealing and a wonderful page-turner (and I know the ending!).   I look forward to my boys being old enough to read it.  They will laugh and cry along with the countless others who have enjoyed the book, all the while learning more about than I can possibly remember to tell them about our eccentric family.

So consider coming by  the Woods Hole Inn on a cold day in March.  I like to think of the Inn as a new kind of “Big House” where book lovers can wake from a restful sleep and then congregate over the kind of gourmet breakfast that my grandfather used to make (without his habit of using every pot and pan in the kitchen).  We keep spares of George’s book around so if you can’t come in March, feel free to come later and extend your stay to finish it.  It really is a great read.

George Colt lecture and reading at 7 pm March 1, 2010 at Falmouth Academy.  Breakfast with George on Tuesday March 2nd at the Inn approx 8  – 9 am.  Interested locals also welcome for coffee and a bite, just call us so we will have enough pound cake for you:)

Sippewissett Pound Cake with blackberries served at the Woods Hole Inn.

POST SCRIPT – This post is so popular!   Many people have asked me what the Big House looks like now.  I visit it regularly to pay respects to my Aunts Ellen and Mary who are often there.  So here is a glimpse of the renovated house, saved from the wrecking ball by my lovely first cousin and her husband.  Still the steep roof and the commanding views of the Bay, with all the charm of my grandparents and less eel grass insulation and mice:)

The Big House on Wings Neck as she is now.

5 Responses to “The Big House” Comments are currently closed.

  1. Elizabeth Pase says:

    I love old houses and loved this book. I am so glad to see a current photo of the house – I often think about the house and hope she continues to survive and be happy. Old houses deserve to be inhabited by happy families who care.

  2. Peggy McBride says:

    I loved the book and was happy to hear that the home is still in the family. I got to visit Cape Cod for the first time last week. It is an amazing place. I kept thinking about the Big House when visiting. I was in Hyannis Port which I guess is totally different from the area of Buzzards Bay. I got to see the Atlantic side of the Cape, but not your area. Anyway, what an amazing family history and home. Wish you all the best.

  3. Karen says:

    I fell in love with the book The Big House, chuckling, sighing and tearing up at how wonderful it must have been. Tried finding photos of the place on the internet but none exist? Can you confirm?
    Thanks so much
    Karen from Iowa

  4. Bruce Courcier says:

    Wow, what a great connection. A great book that has had universal appeal to anyone who knows the Cape.

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