Isle of dreams: Orange couple buys island in Tully Pond

  • Mary Canning in her cabin on an island in Tully Pond. Complete with years of charm, the cabin came as is when she and her husband, Ingo Winzer, purchased it. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Mary Canning heads out from her home on Mayo Road in Orange to her cabin on an island in Tully Pond, in center of photo, in the shadow of Tully Mountain. Canning and her husband, Ingo Winzer, recently bought the island. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Mary Canning at the cabin she owns with her husband, Ingo Winzer, on an island in Tully Pond. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Mary Canning and her husband, Ingo Winzer, bought an island in Tully Pond in the shadow of Tully Mountain. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Mary Canning at her cabin on an island in Tully Pond in the shadow of Tully Mountain. The address is 0 Tully Road. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Mary Canning in her cabin on an island in Tully Pond. Complete with years of charm, the cabin came as is when she and her husband, Ingo Winzer, purchased it. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Mary Canning heads out from her home on Mayo Road in Orange to her cabin on an island in Tully Pond, in center of photo, in the shadow of Tully Mountain. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Mary Canning, right, and her husband, Ingo Winzer, prepare to walk out to an island in Tully Pond while the water was frozen over the winter. Canning and Winzer recently purchased the island — called Tully Thoreau Island — and the 200-square-foot structure on it. Contributed Photo

Staff Writer
Published: 5/14/2021 5:31:07 PM

ORANGE — The waterfront properties on Tully Pond offer a setting that could be described as quintessentially North Quabbin. The charming homes and picturesque landscape are enough to melt away worry, and this isn’t lost on city dwellers, who have been known to make a second home here.

Perhaps one of the only experiences more tranquil is on a postage-stamp island, like the one in the middle of the pond and visible from Tully Road. Mary Canning and her husband, Ingo Winzer, now own that piece of serenity and the structure on it, having purchased them for $65,000 on April 16.

“We couldn’t not get it,” said Canning, who lives on Mayo Road with Winzer.

Canning, owner of Follow the Honey apiary, purchased the island and everything on it from Nancy Fiske, of Sterling, through real estate broker Ben Hause. The island — listed as 0 Tully Road — spans 2,178 square feet (or .05 acres) and is a five-minute paddling trip from Canning and Winzer’s home. The structure on the island is 200 square feet.

“It’s going to be interesting,” Winzer said. “On the outside, the thing looks in terrible shape, but on the inside it’s actually in very good shape. That’s what surprised us.”

The 73-year-old joked about building arm muscle just commuting to his little home away from home.

The trip to Tully Thoreau Island, as it is now called, is a pleasant one, as paddlers will see neighboring houses along the shore and often pass anglers looking for a catch. Like Winzer said, the structure’s exterior — with a shabby roof and a screened porch stuffed with books and water floats — needs some love. The island was purchased “as is,” and Canning and Winzer have already had some debris removed from the site. The interior is quaint and well-maintained, with some vinyl flooring and a smoke detector.

“Things that are made to last, last,” Canning said inside the structure. “We’re going to really try to keep true to what it is, in terms of it being a green habitat and a meditative space, a place where people can truly come, write, meditate, play music.”

The inside includes a table, some kitchen amenities, and a bunk and ladder. Board games, vintage storage tins, and wall decor remain from the previous owner. Canning, 60, said she and Winzer plan to bring in a futon as well as a grill for outside.

A stone angel cherub with folded hands sits outside the structure, which is kept padlocked, and there is a dock to accommodate boats and other vessels. A wall-mounted dartboard can be found on the structure’s north side (a package of darts was inside) and an enclosed Sun-Mar Excel non-electric composting toilet is on the island’s south side.

John Colby, of Colby Realty in Athol, was the property’s original listing agent, though Hause conducted the showings and completed the sale. Also, Hause and his brother-in-law hauled away the unwanted junk, including mattresses, bedding and an old propane fridge.

Colby, who specializes in waterfront properties, said Fiske had owned the island since 1999. He said there were more than 50 inquiries and at least a dozen offers before Canning and Winzer purchased it.

“It’s just one of those places, every time you drive by you wonder, ‘What’s going on with it? And who lives there and who uses it?’ And I never knew,” Colby said. “There was a tremendous amount of interest in that one.”

According to an online listing, $713.58 in taxes are owed annually on the island and its structure.

Canning explained she started visiting the North Quabbin region in 1994 with her young children and her first husband, Dr. Harry Goldman, who died of cancer in 2004. Canning married Winzer in 2010 and moved to Mayo Road seven years later.

“It was always a mystery, the island,” Canning said, adding that she wanted the isle to remain in the family. “And when I say ‘the family,’ I mean the broader family — North Quabbin family.”

Canning mentioned the screens will be removed from the porch, and other natural remedies will be used to combat mosquitoes and other pests. She also said there were two selling points that may not have swayed other buyers. One is a sticker inside that reads “Hate is not a family value,” while the other is a decorative salamander on the front door. Canning took this as a sign the island was meant to be hers, as she also owns Salamander Hollow, a private, honeybee and human sanctuary in Warwick.

“I was like, ‘do-do-dodo, do-do-dodo, do-do-dodo,” she said, imitating the iconic eerie theme music of “The Twilight Zone” franchise.

Canning opened Salamander Hollow — complete with a sleeping loft library, tipi and Slovenian beehive house — in February and rents it to people looking for a serene getaway. A building with a sauna, showers, guest rooms and a kitchenette is under construction. There are also hopes to develop an outdoor performance stage at the base of a slope, with Canning calling the dream “Woodstock in Warwick.”

Canning and Goldman purchased the 18 acres in 1997. Canning said her first clients were a couple with a child on Valentine’s Day weekend. The property can be found on Hipcamp.com, which Canning said is the Airbnb of camping and glamping (glamorous camping).

As for the island in Orange, Canning said her vision is to fix it up and offer it on Hipcamp as a “day retreat” tied in with Salamander Hollow.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.




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