Longnook Meadows Farm, Harvesters of Renewal
PETER STAATERMAN: Thomas Paine and a few others approached the town of Eastham and asked if they could buy a piece of land from the town for farming and whatever else they wanted to do, so they purchased from Bound Brook Island in Wellfleet all the way up to Pilgrim Lake—all the land which is now currently Truro—back in the 1600s. Each guy drew a line from the bay over to the ocean. This section of Truro belonged to the Paines.
I remember talking to Dilys’s grandmother, Laura Johnson, who founded the Cape Codder newspaper, and she would tell us stories about how she actually got here back in the 1870s or 1880s. She used to take an overnight steamship in New York City and take it to New Haven. Then she’d take an overnight train from New Haven to Hyannis. And then from Hyannis, she’d take a stage coach up to Truro . . . She ended up settling here on Long Nook Road and bought what was then the old post office many years ago. My father-in-law, Bill Merriss, would come up here to this farm, which belonged to Daniel Paine, and he used to mow the lawn. He said to Daniel, “If you ever retire, I would love to have a shot at buying your old farm.” In 1941, Bill bought this place—30 acres plus the buildings. Over the years, he sold pieces off to put his kids through school—he was a schoolteacher—and then in 1982 my wife and I bought it from him. So in a way, we’re only the third owners on this homestead since the 1600s.
DILYS STAATERMAN: I took my first steps in this house 65 years ago. It’s my home, and it’s my roots. I start to get all welled up when I think about it—it’s a very special place for me. It’s a sacred place.
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PETER: We lived in Wellesley before permanently moving to Truro. Prior to that, we were living in Saudi Arabia—I had a business there for 15 years. We’d come each summer for six or eight weeks and then go back. Truro seemed liked heaven. It was just an absolutely wonderful place—peaceful, calm, beautiful. It was a place to restore your soul, and it’s always been that. It’s been that for all of our family—everybody’s got an anchor here.
For us, running Longnook Meadows Farm has been a retirement project of restoration, renewal, and reinvention. My wife and I are reinventing ourselves as farmers—she used to be a schoolteacher, I was an entrepreneur. We’ve restored the buildings, now we’re trying to do restoration on the farmland.