A DECADE'S WORTH OF INTEREST & IMAGINATION
(Printed in part from an Article by M.E.
Nashoba Valley Marketplace Feature Writer, August 15, 2001)
lot can happen in 10 years. At Groton Woods, for example, an
upscale development-in-progress off Route 119 (at the Four Corners)
near Lost Lake. The timeframe mentioned marks Dennis Lacombe's
debut as a builder, his first solo foray into the field he'd
entered as an apprentice framer while he was still in high school
and worked for local builder Jack Walintis...
to Lacombe's designs are value-added items such as bluestone
walkways, Kohler fixtures, central air and vac and security
systems. Sprinklers are optional. Not everybody here has them,
but the grounds are all green. Every lawn I saw looked lush
and lovely, with strategically set flowers and shrubs--landscaper's
heaven. Unless, of course, homeowners do it themselves, which
seems just as likely, given the pride of the place evident everywhere
in this rolling rural enclave.
But large and luxurious as these homes are, it takes more than
mortar and millwork to create a community. In today's fast-paced
commuter world, beautiful neighborhoods can be ghost towns where
nobody knows each other. Not here, apparently...
folks coming to Groton Woods are from the area, seeking rural
environs and shorter commuting distances, with quick and easy
access to Rte. 495. A community here, with parties, play-groups
and friendly get-togethers...
About 45 families now live along the wide streets
and cozy cul-de-sacs of Groton Woods. At full buildout, plans
call for 116 homes on as many lots. The size and scope of the
project seems less formidable, however, when one looks at the
schedule. Lacombe builds only four or five homes here in any
This builder may not be a veteran yet, but according
to one satisfied customer, he has the right stuff...
The subdivision is a lovely spot. Geese glide
on the placid surface of the water. Heather and goldenrod rim
the pond's periphery. Beyond that...woods. Tall trees border
the entire area. Dennis Lacombe says he tries to disturb as
little as possible when preparing a house lot.
"We don't clearcut," he said.
Speaking of surroundings, over 200 acres of conservation
land surrounds Groton Woods, including Skinner Forest and 150
acres donated to the town by Lacombe's father in the early stages
of the development. Robert Lacombe owned this entire parcel,
his son explained, having bought the land years ago and added
to it, several parcels at a time.
Said parcels, now that they are house lots, range
in the "builder's acre" size and the houses have from
2,800 to 6,500 square feet of living space. Prices range from
the mid $600,000s to over a million dollars. Lacombe said over
90 percent of the houses he builds fall into the "custom"
category. In a sense, they're all custom. With a building schedule
of no more than five houses per year here, each one is done
And Lacombe puts a high priority on the big picture.
Attractive placement is important, he says. Styles complement
but don't copy one another. Garages face to the side, offset
from the front of the houses. Ample space separates each property.
There are no restrictive covenants, he said. So far so good--the
houses look marvelous, as does the landscaping. The topography
helps, too, gently rolling hills. Roads are wide, paved, with
sidewalks on one side...