On the water, off the grid

Ed and Karen Curtis don’t just talk green talk, they walk the green walk and share it with their guests at the Three Pines Bed & Breakfast. Their 40-acre organic oceanfront farm, located on the east side of Hancock Point, fronts on Sullivan Harbor, just below the Reversing Falls. It’s completely off the power grid, and owners Ed and Karen Curtis have completed a conservation easement through the Frenchman Bay Conservancy to protect this special, private, spectacular land from development.

“My husband had taken an interest in solar in the late 1970s, and when we were ready to make a change from our engineer lives, he wanted to put that interest into practice,’’ Karen says. Ed did all the planning to make the house as energy efficient as possible. The design is passive solar; photovoltaics provide electricity; appliances are primarily propane-powered; satellite technology operates the TV and Internet systems; a masonry heater provides warmth in winter. Guests stay in one of two rooms in a separate building that’s attached to the main house, where a full, vegetarian breakfast is served (farm-fresh eggs!).

For the Curtises, it’s not just about being green, but also about sustainable living. They raise rare breed sheep for wool and chickens for eggs; grow organic vegetables, berries, and grapes; maintain a 40-tree orchard; and recently began keeping bees. They also make cheese, yogurt, soap, cider, jams and jellies, and maple syrup.

“We get people drawn to various aspects of our project here,’’ Karen says. “Some have no idea we’re off the grid, they’re coming strictly for location. Some are very interested in the farming aspects. Some come because we’re vegetarians. Some people never even know we’re off the grid, if the subject doesn’t come up. Unless they happen to ask, it’s completely transparent.’’

I can attest to that. We spent a blissful night here (amazing star gazing). I only wish I’d brought a kayak to launch from the front—or is that the back—yard. Or a bike, to pedal the old railway bed from the Tidal Falls Preserve to the point.


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