The vacation house overlooks the ocean on one of the barrier beaches strung along the south coast of Rhode Island from the Pawcatuck River to Narragansett Bay. These sandy remnants of the last ice age often carry Native American names: Misquamicut, Weekapaug, Matunuck, Quonochontaug. Like much of the southern New England shore, Quonochontaug — affec- tionately known as Quonnie — was composed of a collection of modest homes and board- inghouses where summer folk went to ruminate by the seashore.
That changed when the Great New England Hurricane of 1938 scored a direct and devastating hit
on the Rhode Island coast. In its wake, vacationers built unpretentious summer homes, replacing the
small hotels. But Quonnie was too desirable a location to maintain the simple screen-door summers of the