Tucked away behind Route 1 at the head of Potter Pond, the expansive blue and gray-toned home on Commodore Perry Highway, South Kingstown, offers magical views, says Sissy Von Ancken, the property’s owner.
Von Ancken and her husband, Robert, of Manhattan, purchased the property in 2007 as a summer home and were charmed by the aura of the pond. The sounds of the birds and other wildlife in the area, she says, have been like music to her ears over the years.
“It’s private, it’s quiet and it’s so different from being on the ocean, which was nice, but I had never experienced the salt ponds before, and it warms up faster for swimming and is great for waterskiing,” Von Ancken says.
Being on the less active part of the pond, her family enjoys kayaking, swimming or waterskiing daily in the summer. Her grandchildren call the place “Camp Von Ancken.” On any given day, they are in and out of the water, running across the hilly field or on the bocce court at one end of the yard.
The 4.9-acre property with rich soil has allowed Von Ancken to garden extensively, planting numerous trees and plants, like beach plums. The spacious yard includes flourishing blueberry bushes, pawpaw, chestnut and cherry trees.
With a large family and numerous grandchildren, Von Ancken says she often finds herself in the open, spacious kitchen with wide pine floors. Each Labor Day, she and her daughters make batches of beach plum jelly and jar them for gifts. When not cooking for a group, she enjoys spending time in the living room, where the walls are lined with windows overlooking the view. It is there she watches the osprey, egrets, blue herons and swans in the pond. “I love the open concept of the living and the dining room,” she says. Walking through the front door, each large room flows seamlessly from one to the other, with skylights allowing the sun to pour in from every direction.
Adding to the privacy of the pond house’s 4.9-acre property is the adjacent 5.63-acre parcel that was donated by the Von Anckens to the South Kingstown Land Trust. To the east, Matunuck Oyster Bar owner Perry Raso runs his organic vegetable farm, giving way to views of rows of crops in the summer.
Von Ancken says many memories have been made at the summer home throughout the years, including her granddaughter’s Shakespearean-themed wedding on the lawn.
Most vividly, she recalls a night some years ago when her grandchildren laid on the grass flicking a flashlight to attract fireflies. The night was dark, and as the light began to flicker, hundreds of fireflies appeared. “It was so magical,” she says.
The spacious landscape and floor plan of the home are ideal for entertaining or for large families like the Von Anckens’. When they first bought the U-shaped house, they reconfigured the upstairs to adapt to the large number of bedrooms they would need. Now, each room is practical, with large closet spaces and bathrooms attached.
The family also expanded the bluestone patio outside the living room where they enjoyed the view over breakfast or at sunset. The Von Anckens also added an outdoor shower, modernized the basement with a workshop and added new granite to the kitchen during their 10 years in the home.
The house’s proximity to Route 1 makes it convenient to get to the nearby East Matunuck State Beach or South Kingstown Town Beach and other Matunuck beaches, as well as a short, 10-minute drive into town.