As the summer winds down, we feel the urge to grasp every last gasp of summer. My favorite part of New England’s summers is, at the end of the day, sitting with a glass of an adult beverage in an idyllic spot watching the light slowly fade.

A dog, a sugar house and sunset

A destination away from the main living area of the house gives you a respite from the realities you face in the more lived-in rooms, like the spot at the kitchen table where the bills get paid or the discussions about Johnnie’s report card takes place. A short walk away, even if it is just a few steps, mentally carries you to a different place. Ideal is a separate building, like an old garden shed or, as I used in a project in the White Mountains, a long unused sugar house. The sugar house sat away from the main house on a slight knoll and provided a view of a meadow below and a ridge of hills in the distance. Sitting in that shack as the sun slowly sank over the trees, the stresses of every day life felt very far away.

Awaiting the perfect end to the day

At Howlets, sitting on the front stone porch as the sun sets over Folly Cove takes all the sharp edges of the day away. (Or is it the superb wine that David and Heather pour that does that?) Another idyllic “away” spot at Howlets is the recently rebuilt stone patio ten steps from the kitchen door with ocean views. On a visit last week, Nora Lind, nee Harden, a grandchild of former owner and author Nancy Hale, remembered Nancy having lunch every day in the summer, weather permitting, on the stone patio. The spot must have given the author a mental distance from her morning writing sessions in the studio.

As the land at Howlets slopes to the sea, shrubs, rock outcroppings and trees create outdoor rooms. Over the years, these spots have grown up and are now a tangle of undergrowth. The plan is to take back these spaces and make get away spots for reflection, escape, reading or just plain avoidance. A bench next to a break in a stone wall where a path leads down to the rocky beach will make an ideal mid-point respite stop or, better yet, a breather on the climb back up to the house.

In our  “never out of touch” era, a place close by to go to be out of touch — even if just for a bit — in order to disconnect and recharge works wonders for the spirit.

Click on any photo to enlarge.

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