Ask the Seller
How and when did you come about owning this property?
I bought the property from my father in two sales: the unencumbered land in 1971 and the rest of the conserved land in 1983. I have loved and cherished this land for all my life and — having grown up just across the street from it and having explored and played in its woods as a boy, and having watched my daughters grow up on it and enjoy it like I did — I consider it one of my great privileges to be able to preserve it as a living natural community, and to pass it on to others to find joy and solace here as I have.
My father put most of the “back” land along the Miles River under conservation easement to the Wenham Conservation Commission almost immediately after purchasing it. For several years I ran an organic farm on the place, and a farmstand in the old cider mill building on Larch Row (now a care-taker apartment), before my professional life steered away from farming and my personal interests shifted back to my old love of horses. Over the years I have sold off a large portion of the unencumbered land along Larch Row to the east of the portion we still own, but not before I put covenants and restrictions on the land to protect its beautiful, open, rural quality and architectural harmony of the homes on it.
Please describe any recent, significant improvements.
In 2004 we sold the house in which we had been living at 110 Larch Row, along with the old, original barns at that location and a few adjacent fields, and built a new house on a hill at our present location. At the same time, we built two new, more modern and horse-appropriate barns nearby, and upgraded the cider mill barn next to our driveway on Larch Row into a 1000 square foot caretaker’s apartment.
Tell us about some of the property's special features.
We feel that we have created the ideal rural home for a family to grow up enjoying the finer aspects of country life, surrounded by magnificent views, teeming wildlife, and living history.
The architect-designed house is at the same time casual and elegant, snug and awash with air and light, and it’s built in a style that echoes history but contains all the comforts and amenities of modern living. At just over 3000 square feet, it is “just right” — a couple alone would not feel lost in it, while a party of up to a hundred people would not feel cramped.
The horse barns, paddocks and pastures provide comfortable stalls and all-day, idyllic turnout for up to nine horses, with buried all-year water lines, for year-round ease in watering. And the hay fields that surround our house supply nearly a whole year’s supply of hay in a good year, which can be stored in the ample lofts of our barns. Professional farmers can be contracted to bring in the crop, or we can sell you a complete package of well-maintained haying equipment, so that you can do it yourself.
The forests and meadows of our conserved area contain a labyrinth of wonderful horse trails, including thrilling galloping lanes between classic stone-wall-and-rider jumps, ideal for training working fox-hunters and just having a blast. In season, you can hunt deer in our forests or waterfowl in our Miles River marshes, and year-round you can walk or ski in a rural paradise. And with our neighbors’ permission, you can connect to a network of trails that cover most of the North Shore.
What is your favorite room in the house and why?
The heart and soul of the house is its open living room/dining room/kitchen area. Here, the spaces flow together naturally, demarcated with architectural features such as columns and pass-throughs, so that someone in any one area feels comfortably contained in that area and at the same time connected with the other areas and not isolated from what’s going on in the whole room. Meanwhile, ample windows and French doors open onto vistas of woods and hayfields, connecting the inhabitants to the natural splendor all around.
Do you have a favorite spot on the property?
I have a thousand favorite spots, because everywhere you look, a new vista opens up.
Any notable architects, landscape or interior designers?
We designed the house in collaboration with Jane Hewitson, who may not be currently “notable” but she should be. We decorated it ourselves, according to our own eclectic tastes. We have tried for a feeling of understated and informal elegance, and I think we have succeeded.
Please provide us with any history that may be of interest.
My father purchased the property from Louis Dodge, whose family had owned the property — and a great deal more — since the King of England had granted Silas Dodge a hefty chunk of Hamilton, Wenham, Beverly, and Danvers in the seventeenth century. The land is still crisscrossed by the old stone walls those early farmers built from the glacial boulders that those early farmers “harvested” from those fields, trying to plow them. To look at those old wall is to imagine the centuries of hard work and devotion that has gone into the land, and the back-breaking work it must have taken to farm it. And across the paddocks we look out over the old Dodge barn complex, which must be at least a century old.
Why are you selling?
Our kids are grown and it’s time to down-size.
What are the top 5 (or more) reasons someone should buy this property?
The incredible beauty and variety of the natural surroundings, which are protected on all sides by wetlands and conservation easements.
A gem of a house in pristine condition, built with a feel for history and an awareness of how people live today.
The opportunity to own and enjoy horses, in a location that’s as much a paradise for horses as it is for humans, and in the heart of Massachusetts horse country, with easy access to a trail network of hundreds of miles, to any number of indoor facilities within a ten minute drive, to the nationally famous Groton House Farm Horse Trials, and to the Myopia Hunt Club, one of the premier drag-hunting clubs in the country.
A forty-minute drive to Boston, and a five-minute access to commuter rail transportation to Boston.
One of the best school systems in Massachusetts.
- Jamie Cabot
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Total Acres: 91.5 ±