- hannah palmer egan
- Theresa "Tessa" Cashin
The tiny Essex County border town of Averill is home to zero year-round restaurants, and few reside in surrounding towns. So each summer, locals have welcomed the al fresco suppers at Quimby Country, a 120-year-old family camp that typically offers cookouts and lobster bakes to the public on weekends.
In December 2015, that tradition faced a threat, as the camp's sitting board announced that it would not reopen Quimby in 2016 and would likely seek a buyer for the 1,000-acre property. The outcry from longtime campers was fierce and immediate; shareholders elected a new board within months. By August, the board was laying plans to reopen. Debts were refinanced, money was raised and reservations for 2017 began pouring in, board trustee Dick Martin told Seven Days on Monday.
In addition to offering full-service overnight accommodations in 19 lakefront cabins, Martin said, camp management plans to keep hosting the summer suppers. For the 2017 season, chef Theresa "Tessa" Cashin, most recently of Stowe Mountain Ranch, will handle the traditional New England-style cookery.
According to Martin, Cashin plans to partner with area farms to stock the larder. Full-time campers from mid-July through late August can expect hot, made-to-order breakfasts, picnic lunches, afternoon tea and dinner. Many recipes, including the camp's chocolate cake, applesauce cake and molasses crinkles cookies, have been in use at Quimby Country for generations.
And that, said Martin, who has been bringing his family to the camp since 1984, is a big part of the charm: "This place has been around for more than 100 years, and the reason is: It's such a special place."