Saturday, April 11, 2009

April 11, 2009 - Kickapoo, Hingham. Massachusetts

Our weather continues to teeter back and forth, as if on a see-saw. Yesterday, we dropped layers and basked in the sun. Today, near Hingham Harbor, I was a layer short, caught in the stiff wind with just not enough clothing.

I knew I wasn't alone in noticing the frigidity. The snowy egrets on Home Meadows, a marsh and former millpond that sits between Water Street, Winter Street and Rockwood Road, were hunkered down and hunched up, looking like us when we shrug our shoulders and tuck our chins into our chests in attempts to keep out chilly air. A chipping sparrow, newly arrived this week, sat in a tree making slight whimpering noises, and not singing its happy, trilling song.

Kickapoo, or Kickaboo, depending on who you ask, is a quiet, secret little community, unknown to even many Hinghamites. It's easily bypassed by travelers rounding the nearby rotary or speeding up Route 3A to the north or south. It's a wonder it's even there at all.

But it, like many places, has its secret that makes it special. In this gathering of a few dozen homes is one that was brushed by literary greatness. On Green Street Court, a narrow dead end

street, is one Cape Cod-style cottage that's so small it's earned the nickname, "The Littlest House."

It's no Guinness style record, or anything official like that. Instead, the Littlest House gained its fame as it was once rented, for a two-year period, by writer Elizabeth Coatsworth. At first, she offered it to her husband Henry, who was having trouble writing at their home on nearby Ship Street. She figured he could use an office, and the "doll-house" atmosphere might inspire him. But he visited only two or three times before giving it back for her use. He was lost amongst so much civlization, not just on Green Street Court, but in Hingham at large. After all, he had just spent a year on a Cape Cod beach by himself in a cabin, writing The Outermost House. The Littlest House is one that Henry Beston rejected, yet Elizabeth Coatsworth, the author of South Shore Town, among others, reveled in.

Time: 30 minutes.

New species: None.

Stranger hellos: None.

What else is happening: oil change; follow-up doctor's visit to monitor my deer tick bite; posted the other blog; magazine, newspaper and book work deep into the night.


  1. My mother in law lived in the Littlest House for ten years. Mom always said that the house was so small you had to go outside to change your mind.

  2. HA! If it's okay with you, I'm going to use that when I do my next natural history paparazzi tour of the South Shore. Fully credited, of course!