The Dumpster Chronicles 5

The Dumpster Chronicles: A Whimsical and Irreverent Guide to Nantucket, Being Part 5


Nantucket Real Estate

With it’s pristine beaches, endless moorlands, historical architecture and fascinating folklore, the island cannot fail to be alluring to all but the dullest sensitivities. Strolling the tree-lined cobble streets, basking on a white pristine beach or enjoying an evening supper ‘en plein aire’ (that”s French for pregnant air; just keeping you on your toes) at one of the many fine restaurants cannot help but encourage the notion that Nantucket would be a great place to have a second home.

Bravo! You are well on the way to complete seduction and, from that point on, all reason fades – you are officially hooked and the realtors are rubbing their sweaty hands together and planning their next purchase of luxury goods with the whacking commission they will be paid.

The next tentative step is taken; a guided tour of available properties.

Building codes on the island are very strict. Over the years there have been concerted efforts to maintain the historical character of the island by fastidious rules and regulations. There are, as yet, no ‘franchises’ allowed, thus maintaining the inherent character and the feeling of exclusively cottage industries and the essentially ‘one of a kind’ merchandise of the small shops.

The overall visual effect of the island is predominantly dullish grey shingled buildings with odd tinges of lighter grey and splashes of black and white here and there. There are no skyscrapers here; no traffic lights; no multicolored homes with pink flamingo statues on the front lawn, so please don”t run away with the idea that you can do whatever you wish with your find. With luck you will be allowed to live in it provided that you do not transgress the regulations. I will give you a run down of what they comprise. What it boils down to is ‘We”re not happy till you”re not happy!’ So be warned.

Although the regulations are somewhat stringent, it is to be hoped that they will continue to be respected. Of course this is somewhat precarious and could change if large enough wads of cash are thrown in the right direction. So it is advisable to look at all the angles before setting off to buy your dream house. There is an abundance of real estate agents and brokers who will be more than happy to spend hours, even days taking you around their properties.

Just for your information here are a few examples of the kind of advertising that you will find appealing at first glance but perhaps bears further scrutiny.

“A short walk to the beach”: This providing that the last winter storm has not washed the beach several miles south.

“Conveniently located to Down Town”: You will need to have a strong constitution, no health issues, and be prepared to walk several miles there and back.

“Views of the water”: Not necessarily the ocean; might be the pond where the current swarm of mosquitoes hang out.

“Very desirable and secluded”: This does not bode well when one needs to go grocery shopping unless one has a vehicle with a navigation system.

“A steal at three and a half million”: The day that any property on the island gets “stolen” will be the day that the bank gives away a free mortgage.

“Plenty of room for expansion”: This is in order to build a room large enough for a twin bed.

“Situated in the island”s finest neighborhood”: It used to be called Finest; now it’s Stop and Shop.

“Wonderful studio”: An eight by ten shed.

“Adorable 2 bed 2 bath cottage”: One has to be wary of certain adjectives. Kittens are adorable, as are puppies and babies together with some fair damsels I have known but “cottages”?

“Turn key property for easy living”: You will be taking care of the finishing work.

“Custom designed studio”: Here we go again with the studio thing. Probably was owned by an artist who didn”t sell well and defaulted on the rent. The smell of turpentine will be there for ever.

“Rare opportunity”: The island is three and a half miles north to south and fourteen east to west. How rare can it be?

“Land Bank Views”: You will be living slap in the middle of deer feeding grounds.

“Renovated gem”: They were going to bulldoze it but decided to invest in a few gallons of paint and some shingles.

“Conveniently located”: You can be lulled to sleep by the soothing sounds of large private jets taking off and landing.

“Charming Ranch style home”: Ground floor living; no upstairs; no down stairs; no basement; no place for your “stuff”.

“A home on a hill”: Who are you kidding! There are no hills here. The highest point is Folger Mound marked by a sculpture made from their coffee cans. It is 109 ft above sea level on a good day.

To be continued . . .

Kerry Hallam was born and raised in the North of England. He was elected to the Royal Society of Artists and later established his first studio in the South of France. Kerry has lived and painted on the island for the past thirty years. He is represented internationally by Chalk and Vermilion of Greenwich, and has held extensive one man shows in the States, Japan, France and the U.K. His autobiography ‘Getting to Nantucket’ was recently published, and in the past few years, he has issued seven C.D.’s of own written and performed music. All illustrations are by Kerry Hallam. This column will appear regularly.

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