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.