Few places elicit such strong feelings of being connected to nature as the experience of the Nauset beach, bluffs, dune and marsh system. In the first great written description of the peninsula, Cape Cod, the famous curmudgeon Thoreau described the stark beauty of the Nauset landscape, and the rugged houses and people who occupied it in the mid-19th Century. His walk through the Nauset Plains and along Nauset beach elicited some of his most evocative language. He may not have said it directly, but through his close attention to the surroundings and the phrases deployed on their behalf, he clearly loved the place. Later, in the early 20th Century, another writer, Henry Beston, spent a couple of years of on-and-off living in Fo'castle, a 20’x16’ cottage that sat alone on the top of a dune deep within the system. From here he observed, felt, explored and documented with a naturalist’s curiosity and a poet’s voice. In his classic book, Outermost House, he memorialized the experience of living immersed in the context. About twenty years later, Wyman Richardson wrote a third classic of Cape Cod literature, The House on Nauset Marsh, that helped propel the character of the area to almost mythical status. Such wide recognition of a special place within a special region helps us understand why a desire to build and live here today remains one of the most deeply held convictions of those who love the eastern shore of Cape Cod.
North-by-Northeast sits on a bluff at a point where the highland bends, creating a promontory from which much of the several square mile Nauset system can be seen, including Thoreau’s route north and the now underwater location of Fo'castle. Spectacular views spanning from northwest to southeast are possible from the site, although the bend in the shoreline creates a triangular lot with planning challenges. Turning challenges into design opportunities, a robust home was created that acts as a knuckle, maximizing frontage to the wrap-around view and taking full advantage of the high plateau above the beloved beach, dunes, marsh and ocean.