Villa Maria by the Sea

If you are walking the beach in the south end of Stone Harbor in the early morning hours, you are likely to pass a few of the lovely sisters on retreat at Villa Maria by the Sea.

My aunt was an IHM (order of the Immaculate Heart of Mary), so I’m a pro at spotting the nuns.  This way I can be extra polite.  You know…for my permanent record!

The clues:  short hair, sensible sneakers, and often a “Nuns’ Beach” t-shirt or sweatshirt.  Oh wait, I just described my beach walk look!  That explains the friendly nods.

Also look for a plain Timex watch (seriously) and the occasional rosary.

The historic  building and grounds are beautiful- a grand Stone Harbor landmark since 1937.  AND the only beach block street lined with modest cars!






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  1. Eileen
    Posted May 26, 2018 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Beautiful pictures and very fond memories of “Aunt Kathryn”.

  2. JennSong
    Posted May 29, 2018 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    I remember getting chased off Nun’s Beach back in the 1970s when they thought it was private. Dad liked to fish off the jetty just south of Villa Maria and brother & I would play on the beach while he did. Got yelled at for playing in the wrong patch of sand.

    Got to thank the Capano family for something, I guess.

  3. Posted May 29, 2018 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    I remember those days! It’s actually still private land from the high tide water line to the house. They just allow the public to use their beach. In appreciation, the locals started the “Nuns’ Beach Surf Contest” years ago as a fund raiser. That event, plus sales of Nuns’ Beach clothing from their back garage fund the annual expenses. And the sisters are very happy to work with the community. Times change!

  4. Posted May 31, 2018 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    Love Love LOVE!
    I have always wondered about both the structure and the parcel when I drive by.
    Cheers to a fabulous summer!
    Jetty Betty

  5. Nancy Hartsock
    Posted May 26, 2019 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    Will there be 2019 Nuns Beach shirts?

  6. Posted May 26, 2019 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    I believe the “garage” has been open for sales. Not sure if it’s new 2019 items, or existing apparel. Will try yo find out!

  7. Rich
    Posted July 21, 2019 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    This is a very special place to me when me and my family visit Stone Harbor. Every morning we walk along 1st Avenue from 80th Street to Villa Maria, stopping at the prayer garden to say a prayer, and taking in the beauty of the buildings, grounds and setting. I always love coming here!

  8. Debra Sitaras
    Posted August 2, 2019 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    What are the hours for the garage for appeal sales

  9. Posted August 2, 2019 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    I believe they are open all weekend. 9am to 1pm at least.

  10. Posted September 5, 2019 at 7:46 am | Permalink


    You have great voice!


  11. Posted September 7, 2019 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Thank you :)

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