House for Sale: Barnstable, MA
For instance, both are weavers, and for the past 48 years Clyde has been a beekeeper, tending his three current hives behind the house–resulting last year in no fewer than 109 pounds of honey. “Honey of the Isaac Davis House Apiary” note the labels on his small jars. Eleanor, in turn, is a busy Cape Cod real estate agent. Both remain active in support of their respective colleges, Mt. Holyoke (Eleanor served on the board for 17 years) and Dartmouth (Clyde is class of ’53). Both enjoy boating, too, but recently sold the vessel they used to keep in Barnstable Harbor, just a quarter mile away as the crow flies.
On our subsequent tour of the house, grounds, and outbuildings, we were particularly taken by the beamed-ceiling dining room with all its built-in shelves, and by the sunken solarium with its India-tile floor, skylights, and triple-paned French doors, leading out to a terrace and fish pond.
Two stairways, one of them curved, go to the second floor, where you’ll find four bedrooms, one with a fireplace. (The house has a total of three fireplaces and three bathrooms.) Above that, a large attic is now used for storage but could be converted easily into even more living space.
Once outside in the fenced-in area where the dogs run and play, we walked through a gate to the separate two-car garage, where we climbed outside stairs to a spacious, sunny weaving room. Why two looms? “Well,” Clyde replied, “two people can’t use the same loom. We have different styles.” Oh.
Then to the beehives out on the lawn amidst lovely old maples. “The bee culture is similar to human culture,” observed Clyde, as we stood closer to the hives than maybe we would have on our own. “It’s dominated by females.” We knew by this time to recognize the ever-present twinkle in Clyde’s eye. (Then again, maybe he was serious.)
From there we walked down the sloping part of the lawn to the property’s mystery feature. It’s a tunnel running from the front lawn into the basement. It was probably used, said Clyde, by runaway slaves who’d hidden in ships traveling up to Cape Cod from Southern ports. We walked through the tunnel (we easily stood upright in it), and then Clyde showed us additional evidence that the Isaac Davis House was once part of the Underground Railroad: a hidden-away trap door leading from the cellar up into one of the upstairs closets.
Drifting through our mind during the drive home to New Hampshire that day were several questions–such as, If that trap door wasn’t for escaping slaves, what was it for? And Why was the tunnel built so large you could stand up in it? Why would there be a need to stand? Oh, and one other: Has anyone ever heard of a Hungarian Vizsla?
For details, contact Eleanor G. Claus, P.O. Box 1089, Barnstable, MA 02630; 508-221-0961 (cell), 508-375-6468 (home); firstname.lastname@example.org