Each Easter at the family's seaside home, the Petersens celebrate amid 3,500 daffodils.

By Kathy Calnen
January 22, 2008
During the annual Easter egg hunt, grandchildren and cousins scour the gardens for hidden eggs.
Kindra Clineff

On the shores of Quonochontaug Pond, along the New England coast,Hollis and Ann Petersen built a house that's become a magnet fortheir family: Siblings, in-laws, children, and grandchildren allgather at Rockbound to immerse themselves in the waterside haven.Young Abby Lonnegren, who knows grandmother Ann as "Mimi," callsthis place "Mimi's Rhode Island."

When Hollis and Ann purchased the Haversham, Rhode Island,enclave, it represented a homecoming of sorts. As youngsters, Annand her seven siblings vacationed at a lake house in nearbyWakefield. "Rockbound," she says, "evokes all those summers of myyouth."

On the Petersens' waterside property, gardens filled with dunegrasses and perennials flourish throughout the spring and summer.Landscape architect Hank White highlighted the site's many bouldersby creating paths that allow the family to experience the rocksfrom multiple points of view. With the addition of 3,500 daffodilbulbs, the garden's color arrives early and with great intensity.Why daffodils? "I love yellow," Ann explains, adding that theflowers are deer-resistant.

This Easter weekend, the first celebration for the extendedPetersen clan since the end of a long winter, grandson EricLonnegren searches with his cousins among the flower beds. The3-year-old beams when he finds a treasured pink Easter egg, andholds his reward high overhead. "It's magical watching the kids,"Ann says. "They are joyous."

After the hunt, the tired children head inside for lunch. Annand Hollis take advantage of the quiet moment to enjoy the vistaand anticipate future get-togethers. With the spring gardenblooming in the foreground and Block Island visible in thedistance, Hollis says, "Summer is coming, and family and friendswill all be here. Life is coming to our hills."