Hidden Treasure

Cape Cod Home  /  Summer 2023 /

Writer: Chris White / Photographer: Brian Vanden Brink 

Polhemus Savery DaSilva explores unexpected acreage to create a private enclave on Nantucket.  Every so often on the Cape and Islands, a story surfaces about somebody who moves into an old house and discovers an album of priceless baseball cards or about the grandmother who stumbles upon a John Singer Sargent painting perfectly preserved in her attic. Children dream of treasure in these sands, and as recently as last month, in June 2023, Esquire Magazine published an article about one of the region’s most famous kids, entitled: “About That Time John F. Kennedy Jr. Hunted for Pirate Treasure.” This piece, an excerpt from Kate Storey’s new book White House by the Sea: A Century of the Kennedys at Hyannis Port details how the president’s son worked his way onto Barry Clifford’s successful discovery of the Whydah’s sunken remains, the only authenticated pirate ship ever found. Now imagine that you’ve set out to transform a cute little cottage near Surfside on Nantucket, where land is worth its weight in diamonds. You want to build a larger home on the property, but you’d also like to have a pool and a yard. Room to move and relax and play outside. When the owners of such a project began working with Polhemus Savery DaSilva Architects Builders (PSD), one of the challenges was space. They learned that much of the land in the back of the lot, which they had assumed belonged to neighbors, was actually theirs—a full half-acre of wooded, sandy gold. Perhaps their discovery lacked the drama of SCUBA diving for a lost shipwreck, but a treasure chest had opened for them nonetheless, right in their back yard. Rob Calderaro, Senior Landscape Architect at PSD, says, “It was found property. The owners had not realized how much they owned. And so they…

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Chris White

Chris White is a frequent writer for Cape Cod Life Publications and has written on topics ranging from the history of Smith’s Tavern on Wellfleet Island to the sinking of the SS Andrea Doria off Nantucket. Chris also teaches English at Tabor Academy in Marion.