Throwback Thursday: 262 Marshall Street, Duxbury

All homes have a history, but most houses don't have the historical significance of 262 Marshall Street, which I had the pleasure of listing last spring.

In the late 1800s through the early 1900s, this Marshall Street property was the site of the Myles Standish Hotel. While a bustling and busy resort during its heyday, the hotel was eventually sold and split into two halves. One portion of the hotel was moved down the street, where it still stands today, but the other, the hotel's north wing, remained in place. This is what is known today, quite quaintly, as the home at 262 Marshall Street.

Of course, this property is anything but quaint. With gorgeous architectural details and a waterfront location beyond compare, it is truly a Duxbury gem.

If you're interested in the home's history, I highly recommend visiting the online store of the Duxbury Rural & Historical Society – and picking up a copy of Stopping Places Along Duxbury Roads by my late friend and Duxbury resident extraordinaire, Margery L. Macmillan.

Additionally, courtesy of mylesstandish.info, a lovely photo of the hotel is viewable on page 10 in the digitized version of the book The Pilgrim Town of Duxbury.

 
 
When I Sold My House

Eight years ago, I decided to sell my house. My youngest child was soon to be a junior in college and my three other daughters were off with careers and families and homes of their own – it was time. And I had a plan.

I hired a decorative painter to paint the kitchen cabinets and replaced the Formica countertops with honed granite. I upgraded the baths, removed old curtains, reduced clutter, and applied some fresh paint. My house was going to be a perfectly marketable property, sensibly priced with the right kind of features to attract buyers. I was confident, prepared, and most important, a Realtor®; I was the consummate professional.

But then came the exhaustion of constant upkeep, the frustration of not having showings, the disappointment and feelings of rejection when prospective buyers didn’t love the home I valued so much. Despite my so-called professionalism, I was thoroughly human and utterly stubborn – this wasn’t just some house for sale, it was my house, my beautiful house, and I wasn’t going to just give it away!

In February 2011, after lowering my asking price, I accepted an offer. I began to pack up the house my family and I had called home for over 20 years, rounding up the possessions my daughters had left behind and removing items from their proper place to wrap them in newspaper and stick them in a box, preparing them for use somewhere else, somewhere new. The furniture I had taken from my mother’s house and great-grandmother’s house was finally removed from my garage, decisions I had put off making for ten years needing at last to be made. I left my house experiencing the nostalgia and slight melancholy that comes with needing to downsize, with needing to leave the home my youngest daughter had lived in her entire life, with needing to say goodbye to the backyard where my second eldest daughter had held her wedding reception. I felt the way we all feel when we leave behind a beloved home.

I’d felt this way before. Half a lifetime ago I had packed up homes in states halfway across the country and packed up a house halfway across town. But this time, the first time selling my own home as a Realtor®, the grief was compounded with the need to remain professional, the need to pack up boxes while drafting a Purchase and Sale. I realized how hard it is to remain rational in what we as Realtors® experience as a business transaction. I’d forgotten exactly what it felt like to go through the pandemonium of showings and deal with the reality of saying goodbye. I’d forgotten what it felt like to mourn for a house while signing documents and calling appraisers and going through a home inspection, trying to keep things together while hoping the people who have your house next love it as much as you did.

That May, the first May in over 20 years I was not be able to enjoy the rhododendron blossoming in my yard, I became a more compassionate Realtor®, acutely aware of the tension and tragedy that factors into selling a home, even when the destination, the next home, is something wonderful. The reality is that my business binds me to the lives of my clients, and by recognizing their stresses, exhibiting empathy, and providing them with quality of service that is synonymous with the Realtor® name, I know I have become a better practitioner of my profession.

Duxbury is a Forever Sort of Place
 On left, Corinne Woodworth, Duxbury High School English teacher

On left, Corinne Woodworth, Duxbury High School English teacher

Several months ago, I kept seeing the same article pop up on social media.

Entitled "Homeowners Quest for the Best Schools," and published in The Wall Street Journal as well as on realtor.com, the article tells the story of several families in Texas and California who, in search of a top-notch education for their children, moved to new cities and towns in order to take advantage of these towns' excellent public schools.

What struck me about the article was this: after uprooting their lives, families who move to La Cañada Flintridge, California, often leave when their children graduate from high school. The article quotes Anne Sanborn - Sotheby's, Pasadena. Sales, Design, Property Prep for Market, a fellow Sotheby's agent, who describes the months after graduation in La Cañada as a "mass exodus."

This certainly is not the case in Duxbury, Massachusetts.

While each family's journey to and from our town is different, many do arrive in search of a quality education for their children. And indeed, when the children have gone off to college and started lives of their own, many people do consider selling their current home. But leave town altogether? Not often.

Throughout my years in real estate, what I've found is that people who come to Duxbury tend to stay in Duxbury, whether that means moving to a larger house when that starter home is beginning to feel too crowded, or downsizing to a Cape, Ranch, or condo as the years go by. What's more, adults who were once Duxbury's children seem to move back here as if drawn by force, our town's pristine beaches and rural scenery emitting a magnetic field that cannot be bypassed.

The other draw? Our public schools, of course.

 The view from the seats in Presentation Hall

The view from the seats in Presentation Hall

In February, my good friend, client, and favorite teacher, Corinne Woodworth, invited me to a poetry contest held in the new high school's Presentation Hall. The literary quality of the students' work at the contest was astounding. Their performances were masterful. Of course, with educators like Corinne, so dedicated to their students' success and invested in their interests, none of this was surprising. But what made the experience so special is that I was surrounded by my friends, all of whom have remained in Duxbury for years, their children already grown. The event was attended not only by the parents of the participants, but by community members. Because that's what Duxbury is: a community.

And that's what I love about this town. Duxbury is a forever sort of place. Whether you arrive with school-age kids, kids already grown, or two crazy but beloved pets who make up your world, you'll stay here to hear the authors who speak at the Duxbury Free Library "Official", or to attend the events put on by the Duxbury Rural & Historical Society. You'll stay put for the next exhibit at The Art Complex Museum, or because you can't stop walking in the Duxbury Town Forest and along Duxbury Beach. You'll stay because the summer begins with the Opening of the Bay at Duxbury Bay Maritime School and is filled with trips to Farfars Danish Ice Cream Shop and hours at the Duxbury Music Festival. You'll stay to dine at The Winsor House InnThe Sun Tavern Duxbury, and to grab lunch at The Foodsmith or pick up something for dinner at the Depot Street Market.

And you'll stay, of course, for the people who make this town so special. And that, I think, shows the true value of property in Duxbury: it's a place people want to make home for decades.