NARRAGANSETT – With a tranquility of a country setting, seven cottages rest on 63 acres of farmland along Kenyon Farms Road over looking Point Judith Pond. The land is probably worth millions, but owner Ray Kagel doesn't care how much his family's land is valued at. He only wants to keep it as beautiful and serene as it always was.
A family business since the 1920s, Kagels Cottages have been in the Kagel family over five generations. Noted for its views of the Ram Island bird sanctuary and its seclusion, the early 20th century waterfront cottages were featured in the May/June issue of Yankee Magazine as one of Rhode Island's best lodging.
Nestled between Point Judith Road and Briggs Farm, Kagels Cottages is home to bullfrogs that rib-bit in the “Turtle Pond,” white snowy egrets and foxes, as well as the Kagel family and its many life-long renters.
Walking throughout his peaceful land as paths unwounded to a quiet pond to a breathtaking view of East Salt Pond, Ray Kagels said the land has been in his family since the early 1990s when his grandfather inherited it and developed the north side. Charles Kenyon, Kagel's cousin developed the south side.
It has been Kagels dream of coming to live fulltime at Kenyon Farms Road after spending 24 years in Beverly, Mass and living in Peak Hill, New York after that. In 2004, Kagel, who works for an insurance company out of his home, moved permanently to the farmland with his wife.
Spending his own childhood summers on the farmland, Kagel reflected on the land's many historic quirks. He recalled stories of how the McCabe House either floated up in the 1938 hurricane or how it was built out of wood that floated up. Kagel was unsure which story was the true one, but he preferred the first.
Though the cottages have been home to the Kagel family, many other families,who have rented the same cottages each summer for years, also call the Kenyon Farms Road home too.
“People who come and live here for awhile treat it as their own. It comes their own in their mind,” Kagel said.
Bob Woods of Wakefield has been renting the same cottage since he was 14 and now he uses the space to hold guitar lessons. Kagel recalls one summer night when Wood's cottages lights were left on, police investigated the cottage. When Kagel arrived at the cottage, he told police he was the owner. Yet, police said there was a kid in the house claiming that he owned the house. It was Wood's son.
“He probably thought it was his because he's been coming here his whole life,” Kagel said with a nostalgic laugh.
Kagel recalls one summer finding a man standing outside one of the cottages. When Kagel asked the man why he was there, the man told Kagel that he was visiting the home his family lived in years ago during the winters of World War II. Kagel told the man that was impossible; the Kagel cottages are summer homes. The man said yes, but since his family did not have much, Albert Kenyon had let them stay in the cottage during the winter even though there would be water.
One house, the Montgomery house was built in 1911 and just celebrated its 100th year anniversary. The same family has been renting it since 1952.
“He said 'nothing's changed here.' I said, 'Yes, the trees are higher,” Kagel said, smiling.
Nothing had changed, something Kagel hopes to continue as the next generations of Kagels inherit the land.
“Having all this land between the road keeps it private. My dream is to have that never change,” Kagel said.
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