With Peter Quinn’s submission the Stanley Bridge Centre proudly launches a new feature, which shines a spotlight on seasonal residents from across the country, the United States and the world. It’s called ‘Here for the Summer’.
Peter Quinn and his wife Kathy, from America, disappear with the Canada geese, to return in the late spring and summer with the opening of tourist-themed businesses throughout the Stanley Bridge, Cavendish, North Rustico, Hunter River and New London area. Seasonal residents such as the Quinns flock to our beaches, parks and museums, farmer’s markets, concerts, restaurants and other attractions, and without them many local business operators would be struggling to keep their doors open. They also volunteer their time and considerable talents to help local non-profit organizations.
People such as the Quinns make our communities much stronger, diverse and vibrant for their presence among us.
The Quinns: Loving cottage life in the Hebrides for 25 years and counting
By Peter J. Quinn, Cottage owner in the Hebrides
I grew up in a very small, very wealthy coastal town about 25 miles north of Boston called Beverly Farms. It was the summer home of a few presidents, other politicians (the Cabots and Lodges) and numerous financial barons.
It was also the home of many Irish and Italian immigrants who provided service to what we would now call the “1 percenters”.
My mother worked as a cook for Henry Cabot Lodge, a one time Republican vice-presidential candidate. Those were the days when Republicans and Democrats lived “peacefully” and could care less what your party affiliation happened to be.
My father, also from Ireland, worked as a foreman for the Public Works Department.
Through their hard work and my studying eight years at St. Margaret’s Elementary School, taught by a very strict order of nuns originally from Canada, The Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, I was fortunate to be admitted to St. John’s Prep, a high school run by the Xaverian Brothers.
Then it was off to Boston College, a Jesuit University, and a 70-mile round trip each day, to earn a degree in Economics with a minor in Philosophy/Theology.
The job market was very shaky in 1962 and rather than keep looking I went back to earn a Masters of Arts in Teaching at Salem University.
I taught middle school math in Essex , Massachusetts for four years.
Because of Sputnik there was a push to research the best ways to improve education in the USA and I was awarded a government fellowship to pursue a doctorate in Curriculum and Instructional Research at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst , Mass.
After completing the degree I was hired as a faculty/administrator at SUNY Potsdam.
My introduction to Canadians was initiated through my first university position in Potsdam, New York, which borders Canada and is about 90 miles from Montreal.
The total lack of, well, anything worth eating or culturally absorbing, drove me further north to Montreal and Ottawa for food and cultural events and the chance to interact with intellectually aware individuals.
After four years of trying to get out of this desolate , closed-minded town I was fortunate enough to get a position at St. John’s University in New York City. I was still remembering all the good times north of the border and each summer made trips back to various parts of eastern Canada – mostly to Nova Scotia.
On one vacation we happened to notice an island, a real island, off the coast of Nova Scotia. Rather than trace our steps back to Portland through Nova Scotia we took the short ferry ride to Prince Edward Island.
My parents were from Ireland and everything about PEI brought back memories of the trips I took to Ireland.
I’ve always had dogs, so the first priority was to find a place to stay that would allow and welcome my four, sometimes more, Cairn terriers.
We found such a place in the bed and breakfast run by Leta Andrews in New Glasgow. They were wonderful accommodations and we had lively breakfast and evening talks with other guests. I doubt if we ever would have become cottage owners, except for the passing of Leta, who was so much like my Irish mother.
Her daughter started running the B&B under the friendly name of “My Mother’s Place.” However it was now anything but “pet friendly”. And so began our search for a cottage.
We were fortunate enough to run into Barry Butler (RIP), a resident of “The Hebrides” in Stanley Bridge and a real estate broker. And thus I became a cottage owner in “The Hebrides”, which is a seasonal cottage community with a nine hole golf course and swimming pool.
For over 25 years PEI has been our summer getaway.
On PEI one can hear on any evening in one community or another the music of the island at “ceilidhs” and the talent is phenomenal – critiqued by a snob, “me”, who spends much of his time in Manhattan at music clubs and plays.
And as I found in Montreal, Canadians, whether PEI locals or summer residents from Toronto or Ottawa or Montreal, are downright nice people and so aware of events outside the boundaries of Canada.
The majority of the socializing I do now, whether in Manhattan or Florida or Massachusetts, is with friends I made in Canada. And the food is not too bad either!
I’m sure any American dining in an upscale restaurant will find in the appetizer section PEI mussels.
They are harvested in the waters that we walk down to each morning to kayak.
(Peter and Kathy Quinn spend their winters in Roslyn, NY., Venice, Fla., and Beverly, Mass.)