Captain's Watch : Point Prim, Prince Edward Island

Rooms with a View

by Sally Cole THE GUARDIAN

"With its spectacular location and amenities, the Captain's Watch cottage is was featured in a story in the magazine, Coastal Living."

Little tufts of grass sprout up from the middle of the dirt road that leads to the Captain's Watch cottage at Point Prim.

Perched on top of a cliff where eagles fly at eye level, this summer home with a panoramic view of the Northumberland Strait has been receiving some international attention lately.

The cottage is the subject of an upcoming story in Coastal Living. The Birminghan Alabama-based magazine for people who love the coast has 660,000 paid subscribers and four million readers.

On PEI, it's causing some major excitement for owner Ivy Smith.

"When we received an e-mail that we had made the final cut and the cottage would be featured in the magazine in 2006, we were shocked. Today, we are just delighted," says Smith, with a smile.

Since getting the first letter last fall, a steady stream of e-mail messages has flowed between Smith and the magazine editors.

"I knew that I had some nice antiques and lots of colour, but I was overwhelmed with their interest," says Smith, who like reading interior decorating magazines.

As part of Coastal Living's interest, a stylist and a team of photographers from the magazine arrived on PEI recently to do a photo shoot. A travel writer will follow later this month. The magazine article will be published in a year's time.

For them, finding the cottage at the end of the long dirt road was inspirational.

"It's perfect. It's coastal. It's colourful, it's quaint and it's very photogenic," says Lynn Morgan, a freelance stylist.

She especially likes the rustic feel.

"Ivy has put a lot of character into the place, with artifacts and antiques focusing on the local folklore surrounding shipwrecks. It's very colorful," says Morgan.

For instance, the walls of the main cottage have been stained to look like driftwood and the accents are pretty shade of Granny Smith apple green.

All the doors and the trim have been salvaged from older homes, and the floors are made of hemlock. The downstairs bedroom is decorated with a captain's theme and the soft, gauzy curtains in the gazebo are reminiscent of sails on a ship.

The cottageand the surrounding country side strike a chord with the photographer.

Fastening the camera to the tripod, Jeff McNamara's eyes sparkle with a sense of wonder.

"Coming from where we come from, this is a beautiful place. The lack of development makes it so charming and lovely... It's a place from a different time," says McNamara, who also lives in a U.S. city.

He is using the soft morning light to his advantage. Focusing on the wood stove and the old kitchen table in one shot and the coloured blue grass on the window sill in another, he soaks u pthe flavour of the place.

"We're doing the interiour of the house to see how it relates to the sea and the sky. The other thing that we're really atracted to is the unbelievable palette of greens and golds of the grasses and the wheat fields here. It's just amazine," says McNamara.

His assistant has her own ideas.

"With its big sky, big water it's a nice place for a honeymoon if you want to be alone and not bothered by anybody," says Megan Jolly.

The adventure with the magazine started about a year ago when Smith's sister-in-law wrote to the publisher.

"Ivy and I had been sitting on the deck one day, just relaxing. We had been looking through some magazines and I thought that her cottage and the area had a distinct quality that this magazine might like to cover. So I recommended it," says Jackie Gillis, who owns the cottage next door. She kept it a secret until this past November.

"Jackie wanted to suprise me and she did. I was sitting in the Chowder House and Jackie came in all bubbly with the letter sayhing that they were interested in doing a story on the cottage. I didn't know what to say," says Smith.

Back on the deck, Morgan is watching clouds drift by in the sky.

"I've seen some places like this in Maine and Massachusetts, but this is much more dramatic. Every aspect of this place is very photogenic. All we need now is some sunshine to finish up. We need big blue sky," she says.