Scallop Path: Another Bunny Mellon Cape Cod Property for Sale
I don’t think my obsession with Bunny Mellon will ever end so it was exciting to see another one of her Cape Cod properties, Scallop Path, come on the market last week. The larger 26-acre Cape Cod compound, Oyster Harbors, was sold to billionaire William Koch for $19.5 million in 2012, but she also owned two adjacent properties west of the compound, Dune House and Scallop Path, originally called Putnam House. Mrs. Mellon gifted those two properties to her son, Stacy Lloyd III, before she died. When Stacy Lloyd III died in 2017, he left Dune House to his son Stacy Lloyd IV and Scallop Path to his son Thomas Lloyd.”
Scallop Path was purchased by the Mellons in 1973 for about $400,000 is being listed for $19.8 million by Thomas Lloyd. He said that it costs $500,000 to maintain and carry the house each year which is why he is selling. The 7.44-acre property features a main house, guest house, and intricate gardens maintained by some of Bunny’s trained gardeners.
From Wall Street Journal, The property sits on a bluff at the southern edge of Grand Island, also called Oyster Harbors. Across the Seapuit River and Dead Neck Island is Nantucket Sound. From 1925 to 1967, Oyster Harbors was owned by stockholders and investors, including the Mellons and DuPonts, wrote historian Jennifer Morgan Williams in “Osterville,” a 2014 book about historical postcards.
“The Mellons first purchased land in Oyster Harbors in the 1940s and in the 1960s, Mr. Mellon was credited with saving the private residential island community from commercial development by devising a complex ownership structure for the island, said Ms. Williams. The association and club jointly take care of 24-hour security for the island, as well as garbage and snow removal.”
“The centerpiece of the bucolic island is the Oyster Harbors Club, an 18-hole golf course designed by Donald Ross and Olmsted Brothers, the landscape architecture firm founded by the sons of Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed New York’s Central Park.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, “Scallop Path’s main house was built in the 1680s on mainland Cape Cod and moved to its present location in 1928, according to documents from the Massachusetts Historical Commission. Local lore is that the house was dragged over frozen ice from nearby Marston Mills by a team of horses. The house may have been taken apart and reconstructed using the original timber, wood and nails, according to commission documents. Over time, north and east wings were added, giving it a pantry, kitchen, servants’ stairs and additional bedrooms.”
In my research, I came across a new book, Bunny Mellon Style, co-authored by Bunny’s grandson Thomas Lloyd, Linda Jane Holden, and Bryan Huffman. Tory Burch now owns Bunny’s Antigua house and has written the foreward.
Via Wall Street Journal, “Thomas Lloyd, has spent $2 million in recent years to install new windows and replace the roof. Two years ago, a picture window was added, offering water views.”
“What would grandmother do?” is the mantra for Thomas Lloyd when it comes to making decisions regarding the house and garden.
From Cape Cod Home, In his autobiography, Reflections In A Silver Spoon, Paul Mellon praised his wife’s down-to-earth sensibilities: “Bunny’s quest for comfort and informality has been nurtured with care; a little natural shabbiness is sometimes purposely overlooked. The result . . . is that the houses feel lived in and loved. More important to me than anything else, they are cheerful.”
Via Wall Street Journal, “Thomas Lloyd said his grandmother spent several years restoring Scallop Path, including its original 20-inch pumpkin-pine floor and boxed ceiling beams. She also preserved narrow passageways that cut through the home’s massive central chimney. On the first floor, one such passageway is accessible via a discreet door next to a fireplace and connects the living room and study. On the second floor, a hidden staircase leads to the third floor, which was remodeled as a bedroom with skylights and a puppet theater.””
Via Wall Street Journal, “Mr. Lloyd, who grew up in Washington, D.C., said he stayed at Scallop Path when he visited his grandmother in the summers. He remembers diving off the dock with big clam baskets to get quahogs. He said he once showed up at this grandmother’s house for lunch when he was about 14 to find John F. Kennedy Jr. and Daryl Hannah visiting.”
“It’s a house where you can go with your kids and walk in with a bunch of sand on your feet and not feel guilty about it,” Thomas Lloyd told Wall Street Journal.
Via Wall Street Journal, “Mrs. Mellon also added tray ceilings, built-in shelves, pocket doors and blinds, and window seats in the nooks and crannies of the house. “My grandmother was a master of utilizing any and all spaces,” said Mr. Lloyd.”
I think this is the guest cottage which looks incredibly charming and the most like Bunny Mellon.
From Cape Cod Home, “She was always ahead of the curve,” says Bob Hoxie who supervised the gardens for 17 years. “Her secret was incorporating history with art and craftsmanship.” Hoxie, who now runs Great Hill Horticultural Services in Sandwich, credits his former boss with teaching him the importance of the eye being able to “move through a landscape,” whether on the grand scale of the trails through the woods to the beach between Putnam and Dune House, or through the escalating drama of a carefully plotted small garden.”
Via Cape Cod Home, “Foremost in everyone’s mind was the need for continued care of the signature trees pruned in the Versailles espalier tradition of which Mellon was a master, along with the fruit trees shaped in rounded orchard style. The irreplaceable artisans behind this task were the Childs family, whose three generations of tree experts have sculpted the property’s trees to perfection for 50 years. Thomas calls Aaron Childs and his father, Bob, “true artists”, and says the family will happily continue to pay for the artistry of the Braddock-Childs Tree Service.”
“Bob Childs studiously trained each winter with Mrs. Mellon and her team of arborists in Virginia. In turn, the team traveled north every summer to assist with the more than 100 fruit trees, plus the oak, sassafras, flowering locusts, and topiaries. Over time, Bob’s skill precluded the need for the Virginia crew and Mrs. Mellon became increasingly dependent on him. Sons Aaron and Jason joined the family business as teenagers and continue to prune the way they were trained—from a high wooden ladder tied to a tree with a simple pole pruner.”
“You wouldn’t see a bucket truck,” says Aaron with a laugh. “We never used a chipper. There were no power tools involved.”
You can hear more garden stories from Thomas Lloyd in a presentation he gave with Linda Jane Holden, and Bryan Huffman on Institute of Classical Architecture & Art.
“The grounds have dozens of plant and tree species, including native Oak trees that were pruned to look as if they had been shaped by wind coming in off Nantucket Sound.”
“Mr. Lloyd said he also put about $300,000 into the grounds to install an irrigation system and replace annual plantings with perennials. He tapped Jay MacMullan, a college roommate and landscaper, to recreate his grandmother’s aesthetic.”
“Since 2015, the owner has spent $300,000 to update the grounds, including a new irrigation system. Landscape architects planted Mrs. Mellon’s favorites, including Italian white sunflowers, sage and jasmine.”
From Wall Street Journal, “She very much was, I think, a woman of her day,” Mr. Lloyd said, “sort of a pioneer in the sense that she ate organic food every day and had a daiquiri every single day. And she lived to 103.”
From Cape Cod Home, “The shoreline path from Putnam to Dune House remains his favorite spot on earth. “It was kept natural and still is,” Thomas says. “I was able to explore, to listen to the birds, to go barefoot. It was away from everything . . . even today . . . there is the calmness of nature. When it’s almost sunset, the colors are magical.”
Photos via Wall Street Journal, Cape Cod Home, and Robert Paul Properties.