Noyes Knows What’s Fair, What’s Flair

Artist and writer Beppie Noyes, 83, is the Sorrento resident who got the town’s yacht club, tennis courts and swimming pool opened to local residents.

Beppie Noyes, at 83, is out and about every day in Sorrento, her adopted town by marriage.

Twice daily, in fact, she walks two separate circuits from Tasseltop, her old-style home next door to the town’s old-style library.

Beppie Noyes has been seen everywhere in town for more than 50 years. In summer, that meant daily visits to the tennis courts and swimming pool.

It was a time when the Village Improvement Association catered to summer visitors and excluded local folks.

That didn’t sit well with Noyes, and she told the association as much.

She still tells a good story. Flash back from the woman who went from summer resident to year-round resident:

“There was this Mrs. Rowe, and she was so snobby. She said no local people were allowed to swim or play tennis,” Noyes said. “I thought that was absolutely horrifying.

“Sturgie Haskins was just a young boy then, and his father was the superintendent of schools. They lived here, but they said he and his family couldn’t enter the summer activities.

“I said: ‘Then they will be my guests!’

“I got the summer people to all agree that the locals could be in the programs, too.”

Noyes landed in Sorrento by marriage to Newbold Noyes. They lived in the house where he was born, and where he died, in 1998.

Newbold Noyes had a journalism career with the Washington Star, in which he went from war correspondent in the 1940s to publisher in the 1960s.

Tasseltop had always been Newbold Noyes’ summer home, and Beppie Noyes quickly learned the ins-and-outs of Sorrento society.

Today, she is completely comfortable as a year-round resident. She is quick to say that what she calls the “la-de-la” life wasn’t really her style all those years.

She used her 40 years in Washington to learn painting and developed a style that enables her to show and sell her work today.

She is a writer, too. She has published a couple of children’s books. “Mosby, The Kennedy Center Cat” is the best known. Back in 1978, she penned the fictitious adventures of the very real, and elusive, cat that actually took up residence in Washington’s Kennedy Center during its original construction. Twenty years later, in 1998, she was invited back to the Kennedy Center to give one more reading of her work.

 Noyes said she has spent most of the last year writing, rather than painting. That, and “looking at” her paintings in a reflective way.

Her surroundings to work in are grand. Tasseltop, built in 1887, is the one “cottage” in town that has remained in the same family since its original owner.

Newbold Noyes’ ancestors, the Cochrans, were one of Sorrento’s two original summer families after all.

The Noyes turned the home into their year-round residence in 1990.

She has seen many properties turn over in the neighborhood through the years.

“It is still a community in the summer,” she said. “But the people who used to live here have mostly sold their land for a lot of money.

“They also have moved up from the point, from the golf course on up.”

Not the Noyes, though. Beppie Noyes is staying put—as the town’s year-round “grand dame.”