The gateway to Menauhant can be marked by the 1931 home on Central Avenue, with its wooden footbridge over Bournes Pond. So pristine and idyllic is the setting that cars slow to stop when passing. Brides, recalls former owner Wendy Bigelow, frequently ask to be photographed on the iconic bridge.
The house started out as a compact Cape Cod style and remained that way for nearly 50 years. The Bigelow family transformed the house in the 1980s, raising the roof and adding a full dormer, which allowed for two large en-suite bedrooms over the original footprint.
Twelve years later, a larger renovation was initiated that involved completely gutting the kitchen, creating a new stairway, readjusting the garage and deck, and replacing a potting shed to create a first-floor master suite and another large bedroom and bath above. Initially, windows were few and spare, so the project involved increasing access to sunlight and views: a former stairwell was taken out to make way for a skylight in the family room and the kitchen was opened to the dining room, which allowed for a more open, unified area as well as unobstructed views of Vineyard Sound.
Yacht Club Road
Wendy Bigelow has spent each of her 72 summers in Menauhant. After owning a home on Central Avenue for many years, she and her husband, George, decided to build a new home that would accommodate their children and grandchildren. Through word of mouth—how most of the neighborhood’s properties become available for sale—Bigelow learned that the existing cottage on Yacht Club Road was on the market. “It was lovely 50 years ago, but like some of the homes in the area, it had become very neglected,” says Bigelow. In the original structure’s place, Bigelow contracted Denise Bonoli to design a Cape-style gambrel with a front porch punctuated by gracious white columns. Dormers maximize the second story rooms, and the living areas have lofty ceilings that promote a spacious, airy flow. Windows are large and topped with transoms to capture the light. Interior window treatments are simple, allowing views of the lush landscape and ocean beyond.
“I walk out my door onto the same dirt road that I’ve walked since I was a child,” says Bigelow. “It’s the same contiguous area, a very special, close knit community of people. The kids all hang out together, never leaving the neighborhood. Some of them even intermarry.” However, that’s not what Bigelow did: her husband George was a Falmouth native. “He was a ‘townie.’ I brought him into the group,” she recalls. “My friends were wary at first, but soon they welcomed him.”