Monday, December 15, 2008
Easingwold No More
When my mother was a child spending summers on Fourth Lake, there was only one neighbor close to Penwood: the Knights of Easingwold. There was a footpath between Penwood and Easingwold over the woods now occupied by three newer camps. The Gordon and Knight children hiked back and forth over the path to play. Easingwold, the Knight camp, was a classic Adironack camp, designed to be used only in the summers, with a large porch and a rambling wing of bedrooms and stairways. Betty Knight and her husband were fond of drinking with friends on the lake, including my grandparents. As a child, I remember Betty Knight sitting on the porch of Easingwold chain smoking cigarettes and drinking cocktails. Her granddaughter Shelby and I were sometimes friends. It must have been in the 1970's that I remember Betty Knight and Shelby, because Shelby once told me she had met Elton John, who was at that time as big as Michael Jackson was in the next decade. We would swim back and forth between the Penwood and Easingwold docks. There was nothing but water in between them. Later, after Betty Knight died, her son Dick and his wife Jane moved back to Easingwold and winterized the house. They were, as I recall, sensitive to the historic character of the house; it must have been hard and expensive to winterize that place. But it was lovely - I think it was even older than Penwood but had similar characteristics - lots of woodwork, beadboard, wood siding. Not as many large beams as Penwood has, but intricate and detailed woodwork nonetheless. I liked the fact that there was just Easingwold on one side of Penwood, but acres away, on one side, and Twin Coves, also acres away, on the other side. The two bays sat like sentries guarding the place which juts out into Fourth Lake on its peninsula.Eventually, Dick and Jane sold Easingwold and moved to a new "Easingwold" in the lot next door. They also sold two adjacent lots, one of which borders Penwood. The "new" Easingwold, built in 1989, is for sale now for $1.875 million. The original Easingwold died when it was remodeled by the new owners, the Johnstons. They replaced the wood with vinyl siding and built a huge addition with a wall of windows, effectively subsuming the Adirondack camp into a pseudo-suburban mcmansion.