The Block Island Times

Featured Property: Crescent Beach Cottage

By Stephanie Turaj | May 01, 2013
Photo by: Kari Curtis The O’Connor home on Corn Neck Road has beautiful views of its natural surroundings, and is just a walk away from the beach and the vibrant Block Island community.

Block Island has instilled a sense of place in homeowner Mary Ellen O’Connor.

Her memories of the island are scattered with July 4th fireworks and fiestas, collecting little treasures found at the beach and being part of a close-knit community.

“It’s the best of both worlds,” Mary Ellen said about life on Block Island. “We have a sense of privacy, but we’re still part of the community.”

Mary Ellen and her husband Dennis own a home on Corn Neck Road that is surrounded by nature — it neighbors conservation land and the Mitchell Farm — and it has breathtaking views of Great Salt Pond. It’s the perfect spot to sit on upper decks and enjoy the fireworks, or watch the sun setting over the water.

Two small ponds on the property attract families of ducks and little ducklings, pheasants and, of course, deer. One time, Mary Ellen said she and her family watched a newborn deer take its first baby steps.

“It’s just a calm, serene and happy space,” said Mary Ellen. “Block Island is such a family place.”

Mary Ellen reminisces about walking right across her lawn down to Crescent Beach, or to Andy’s Way to go kayaking. Mary Ellen is fascinated by nature, and collects whatever she finds scattered on the beach — the collection is displayed on a shelf in her home.

“It looks like a science classroom,” said Mary Ellen, describing everything from sand dollars to little crab shells, “People here really respect nature.”

And with such surroundings, it’s easy to find a true love of nature. The O’Connors have even arranged their bedroom to get the best out of the sights.

“When we wake up in the morning, we can look straight ahead and see the greenery, and look to the right and see the ocean,” said Mary Ellen, who added that cool ocean breezes mean air conditioning isn’t necessary in the summer.

After waking up to breathtaking views, Mary Ellen, an avid baker and lover of cooking, often goes downstairs to make her family a morning meal. A full breakfast is served at the kitchen table, and snacks are left in a breakfast nook nearby.

“We call it the muffin table,” said Mary Ellen, referring to the breakfast nook, a little eating space surrounded by three windows with ocean views.

Following breakfast, it’s time to hit the beach — just a quick walk away and a quick return back for lunchtime. Sand can be washed off in an outdoor shower, but it’s not really necessary, since it often comes off walking through the property’s lush lawn.

And if the family doesn’t want to eat lunch at the house, the local restaurants, the Depot, or the farmer’s market have plenty of options, said Mary Ellen.

“We had so many great years on Block Island,” she said. “My girls worked up there — one daughter had three jobs in the summer.”

Even though the summer life on Block Island is like a life no where else, Mary Ellen also says she loves coming to the island in the fall and spring — both for its calmness and for the community of the island. She tried to describe life during these seasons, but couldn’t, saying that it’s something only learned from living on the island.

“You get to know the people. We often go, ‘if we never went to Block Island, we would have never met this person who is such a character.’”

She remembered times when her family met up with friends at Yellow Kittens, times when her mother would come to the island for a peaceful getaway and times spent relaxing at the Island Free Library and chatting with the locals.

“There’s a piece of you that feels like you’re becoming a real islander,” said Mary Ellen.

For the O’Connors, however, all good things must come to a close.

Mary Ellen said it’s time to pass on the memories to someone else. She said that the place would be perfect for a “younger family. We just want someone to have the same lovely memories as we did.”

Crescent Beach Cottage is listed at $1,775,000. For information, call Attwood Real Estate at (401) 466-5582 or visit

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