Sunday, December 04, 2016

Dennis Dodge House

The Dennis Dodge House at 10 County Street, Ipswich, Massachusetts

Greater Boston is the place we lived the longest, 1973-76, 1980-2002. That’s 25 years in the Boston area. Add a couple of years in southern Connecticut and two more in northern New Hampshire and we flirted with 30 years in New England. That lengthy period infused us with great love for Yankee values and the rich history of the place. The first house that we owned was The Dennis-Dodge House on County Road in Ipswich, Massachusetts, locals say “Mass.” Built in 1740 the then brown gambrel saltbox sat on the corner a block from the Ipswich River. 

We frolicked at Crane Beach, one of the country’s finest, from which we could see Plum Island and Newburyport in the distance. A handful of miles east in Essex we ate steamers, lobster and fried Little Neck Clams at Woodman’s. The legendary clam shack claims to have invented the fried clam. Ipswich is where we started skiing. Nearly every winter weekend we’d drive to Gunstock above Lake Winnipesauke in southern New Hampshire. We’d ski all day before heading home by way of The Grog in Newburyport for a bowl of chowder. Yet again food looms large. Why are you not surprised?

Our son was baptized by rector Edward French of Ascension Memorial Church just down the street. He’d been John Updike’s Harvard roommate. French’s wife was a fiery redhead and the Ballantine beer heiress. The reverend drove a white 1963 Mercedes 280 SE convertible. To this day my favorite car. Ever.

The Jacobean stairway with oversized King George boards to the left. The wide boards were quite illegal as they were to be used exclusively for his majesty's ships of war.

I drove at least 30 miles in each direction to my office in Burlington and never once regretted the time or distance. It was pure joy to arrive at our clapboard classic with its seven working fireplaces which included a walk-in hearth replete with a beehive oven. The best Thanksgivings and Christmases ever were celebrated in the Dennis-Dodge House. There’s Christmas and there’s a New England Christmas. Makes me misty to remember.

Since I have no photographs of my own to illustrate this look back I’ve have had to rely on small files from the public domain. 


Terry T. said...

Wow, what a great looking house. You and Peggy were so fortunate to live there. Sounds like those years were really special for you both. Thanks for sharing the story.

Steve Immel said...

You are very welcome, Terry. It was special to be a young family living with history at every turn. We'll never forget it that's for sure.

peggy said...

Ditto to everything you wrote! Relished that total New England experience while we lived there.

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