What is the story of A Quiet Place? How long has this land been in your family?

Penny: “In 1955, when I was 15, my family and I lived on the Point renting Harry Sowle’s white house. We wanted to buy it but it wasn’t for sale. One day I was riding my bike down Drift Road to work and got to a lane at 1615 Drift and saw a for sale sign on the gate. I walked my bike up the lane and there was a house. It was a mess. All the windows were smashed and the grass was growing into the house. But the fields were beautiful and this was a home that Mom could afford. With a little bit of negotiation we bought the house and the land north of the lane for $7,000 with the option to purchase the land to the south for another $1,000. This was good enough for us!”

“We had to work all summer to get the house habitable. There was no heat. The well was bad. The electricity was condemned. When my brother replaced the broken windows someone vandalized them and broke all the new ones. We had to move into the house to protect it. So we cleaned and did what we could and moved there in late August to get ready for the school year.”

“In those early years there were more cleared fields and an apple orchard northwest of the house. There were wagon tracks uphill and to the west. You could walk along them all the way west to Main Road. It was a lovely walk to take by moonlight in the snow.”

“In 1957 I graduated from Westport High School and went off to Boston University for college and then graduate school. I always came home for summers to work. I took a job at Natick Labs after getting my masters and spent 6 years in the area before working in Thailand, Japan, California and Texas.”

“In 1975 my brother, a fisherman by trade, was killed in a freak accident while building a steel hulled trawler. I returned home and we pulled together to restore our family. My brothers family moved to a new house but I stayed to take care of my ailing mother.”

“A couple years later I met Al Hadfield and we married in 1981. We built an addition on the house which was already built in two sections (the first in 1748 and the second in the 1840s). Al set to work on the land and because we both had full-time jobs we needed to farm something that could be done part-time… CHRISTMAS TREES and BLUEBERRIES!! What’s more New England than that!”

“We bought a used tractor and in the spring of 1982 we planted our first 500 trees. Each year we planted another 500 trees, some years more. The trees took 5-7 years to reach saleable size. Eventually we bought another tractor–this time a NEW one! Al built two big wagons to haul the trees during cutting season. We happily continued this routine for 20 years–with some alterations as we aged.”

“We are now down to just a few trees for family and close friends. We like to leave the trees now for shelter for birds who nest in the spring and summer. Hay Ray takes care of our fields for us with the fancy new farm equipment you see nowadays. What a change from the old days of bailing with a crew of 4 to 5 people! We have a neighbor who manages the blueberries and she set about planting a pumpkin patch this year too.”

Why did you work with the land trust to protect your farm?

Al: “Long story short we needed the money. We love this old house and it was falling into terrible disrepair. We needed to do a major renovation to save the historic integrity of the house. It took us a full year to complete the work. We were ready to sell two house lots to come up with the money but our friend Lee Tripp told us to talk to the land trust. Alain Chardon was the president of the trust at the time and he loved our blueberries so much that he’d come visit us all summer. In 2005 we forever protected the farm thanks to the land trust and the Town. They co-hold the development rights on our land so that long after you or I are here this place will stay the same–a quiet place.”