Gone But Not Forgotten: Sweetheart Cottage

Asbury Grove in the Snow

I first fell in love with this little red cottage in Asbury Grove in 2008. It looked so cheerful and tidy, with the fancy white woodwork and the heart-shaped decorative elements. It looked like something out of an old cartoon, like a honeymoon cottage for Mickey and Minnie Mouse, or Popeye and Olive Oyl. It was empty and for sale, and I hoped someone would buy it soon, because it looked sad sitting empty.

I took a picture that day and I drove by several times over the next few years, always wondering if it was still empty. Of course I had crazy thoughts of buying it myself and using it as a guest room, but real estate in Asbury Grove is complicated. It’s a religious community and you buy the cottage but are leasing the land from the community, and I don’t think I would pass the admissions process. Also, if I had the money to buy something like this, I would probably be better off using it to expand my present home.

Over the years, the For Sale sign stayed up but the phone number faded, and there were some minor signs of damage. The wooden heart gable decoration apparently fell off, but I could see it inside in the front window. One day I saw a Private Property sign, which made me wonder if someone had seen me there and wanted me to stop taking pictures. I felt like maybe it was time to stop anyway — I felt like I was cottage-stalking. So I stopped going by.

I happened to be driving by the Grove today and decided to take a quick look. I knew the roof of the place across the street had collapsed under the weight of snow during the winter, and was curious to see what was left of it. I found a big pile of rubble, but the real surprise was that my little red cottage was also gone, leaving almost no trace, just a little clearing in the woods. From what I can see online, a tree fell on it and it had to be taken down.

I’m sorry it’s gone, but I am glad I have my photographs.


  • Meg Katsumi

    That is too bad. I love that little house too.

  • DavID

    Did you consider buying the building and moving it to your property? That way you would be investing in increasing the value of your property with a “granny flat”, the religious community didn’t maintain the building and couldn’t sell it so they might have been glad to be able to build something more useful to them on the land and possibly you could fit the cottage on a medium sized truck without dis-assembly. Or if you attached enough homing pigeons ….

  • DavID

    Or use an elephant!

  • John

    Actually, I knew the couple that bought the house years ago. The young gentleman was a violinist that loved to dabble in wood and for a time his family made and sold animal flower planters (dogs, pigs, cows..) and sold them in a market area in Boston. He was the one that added all the gingerbread and updated the house the best he could while raising three children in the home. The sad story is… the state stepped in with title 5 sceptic concerns and made everyone in the area comply. This house had only a 50 gallon metal drum as a sceptic system and the owners moved out to a newer home with the hope of selling the cottage. As time wore on, one winter, the pipes within froze and burst which wasn’t discovered until Spring. By then the water damage was so great the house was beyond saving and hence it was torn down. The area where it sat was in wetlands. Building something new there goes against state code and won’t happen so like a pretty short lived flower, it disappeared but it’s nice to see it living on in your pictures.

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