Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The October Country: The Rowan House

The Rowan House could be any one of a hundred bed-and-breakfasts found along the south shore of Long Island but for two exceptions: 1) it is located on a sandspit extending out into the Great South Bay, where despite this somewhat precarious location, the inn survived both the Great Hurricane of 1938 and Hurricane Gloria in 1985 without damage, and 2) it does no advertising. Despite these sizable obstacles to long-term survival and profitability, the Rowan House has been in business for more than a hundred and fifty years.

Built in 1857, the Rowan House is a unostentatious, four story, shingle-style building. Erected at the end of Crab Spit on the western side of Rorkes River, the inn is reachable by both car and boat. A gravel road connects it to the mainland and a well-maintained dock accommodates luxury craft of up to 50 feet in length. The inn overlooks a small salt marsh that is home to an above-average sized population of Black-crowned Night herons and Snowy Egrets.

Over the years, the Rowan House has earned a reputation as a quiet, discreet getaway. Located within the village boundaries of Chattaquogue, Rowan House escapes the media attention normally aimed at the Hamptons, making it the perfect hideaway for the rich and famous looking to avoid the spotlight. The professional staff never reveals the identities of the inn’s guests, a service for which they are well-compensated.

Of course, with such a reputation for secrecy and an unconfirmed but much speculated-upon guest list, the Rowan House has become the center of many rumors over the years. This gossip ranges from tales of dead high-priced prostitutes efficiently disposed of by the inn’s staff in the Great South Bay to rumors of Satanic covens composed of Hollywood and Wall Street elite meeting for sabbats at the House.

The strangest of the rumors, however, is that The Rowan House is the place where the very rich or very desperate can go to reinvent themselves—literally. Hushed rumors state that there exists a power within the inn’s walls that allows those determined enough to become anyone of their choosing. For a day, a week, or even a lifetime, those willing to make the required payment are physically transformed into someone or even something else. Needless to say, this particular tale isn’t taken very seriously by most rumormongers, who prefer to envision the inn as the scene of more mundane but certainly more pornographic indulgences by Hollywood starlets.

No comments: