I don't generally do this - highlight a listing, that is - but this one is special. Not because of the price $500,000, but because of the house. The home. The camp. The memories.
I grew up on this private road on the west side of Otisco Lake. We bought our little camp many years ago for $10,000 one snowy January day. Getting the camp triggered getting a dog, Penny, and many friends who became my family. They are still with me.
In the summers there were about 20 of us kids within about 10 years, with my age being the median. We had one of those idyllic childhood experiences on the road. It was safe and secure, both from people and traffic. Mr. Funck put speed bumps on the dirt road and yelled at everyone who went by going over 5 miles per hour. Everyone knew everyone. Need to get a drink of water? Walk in to a camp and get one! You never knew who was in the bathroom - the door would slam going in and going out with a loud thank you from some kid.
Idyllic, like I said.
We swam almost every day, and laughed and listened to the radio while tanning ourselves on the docks. We had paddleboats - long things we stood on and yes, paddled. The boys hunted carp in the swamp, the girls watched them and giggled. The little ones ran around naked.
We skied, too. Long slalom ski adventures down the lake or just around in the cove. We sailed on sunfish, tacking back and forth for hours.
Several times a summer we went to the glen, an incredible natural playground of waterfalls and natural gas wells, slate and crumbling hillsides. We walked back along the road, a ragtag bunch of kids with an assortment of dogs. "First one in the lake!" we'd yell, running down the long hill, exhausted from hours of hiking.
Ah, you say - that was then. But it was also true for my son and his friends, the four boys who were born the same year and became fast friends. That exact life was still there for them.
It's still there now, but the camps are bigger and we don't currently have a crop of kids growing up together. It's an in-between time.
One of the things we did on hot summer nights was a challenge to "ring Gehring's bell." This was a brass bell that hung on the back door of the Gehring camp, farther down the road than most of us lived. The challenge was to sneak up and ring it loudly, then run like hell before Mr. Gehring caught you. I never had the nerve to do it. I'm glad I didn't - years later, when I was the mother of a little boy, Mr. Gehring brought around dahlias for everyone on the road.
It's Mr. Gehring's house that I have listed. The old farmhouse/camp that they owned evolved into a beautiful year-round lakehouse with a two car garage, a playhouse, and just lovely landscaping and flowers. His "everything yellow" home is now three stories with windows everywhere, three bathrooms, and four baths. The property was purchased in 1922, the first of the lots on Glen Cove (as I always wrote it).
The bell was there when I took the listing, but the owners have taken it down - it won't convey. The home is open Sunday, 1:00 to 3:00 - it's time for them to move on.
Can that idyllic summer be replicated for future generations? I hope so, I think it can. I know there are young ones on the road, and my son's best friend came and asked if I had anything to go to the dump on Saturday - just like his grandfather used to do. The glen is still there and pristine, the cove protects from the storms, the sun still shines. Many of the same families live there, although we'll say good-bye to the Gehring clan soon. But the memories will always remain, theirs and ours.