Home: The East End of Long Island

Working on the house has been an enjoyable task, but an exhausting one at that.  After mom and dad came to visit and help with more house repairs, I headed home to Long Island for a much needed vacation to see friends, walk on the beach, and decompress.  July is absolutely beautiful, everything is lush and green, and the inlets are teeming with life.  Here are two glimpses of New Suffolk.

A lot of people ask why I moved to Tennessee, and my answer is the same answer thousands of other people in Nashville give: to work in the music industry.  I am one of the lucky few who found an amazing job that I love and it is my main reason for staying here.  Franklin is a very pretty town with tons of history and a bustling little main street with privately owned shops and boutiques, and even though I enjoy living here, that sense of “home” has never come to me.

I’m reading a book called “A Sense of Place” by Michael Shapiro.  The book is a collection of interviews with travel writers.  One of my favorite writers, Frances Mayes, sums up my feelings perfectly.  She talks about places where she and her husband, Ed, used to live and says, “…it’s an act of freedom when you make your own choice of a place according to what you need, want, love, crave…I’ve never had that sense in California.  I’ve lived there since 1973, and I’ve always liked living there…I loved my job and have lots of friends there, but I could walk out of there tomorrow and never look back.  I don’t have that I-love-this-place feeling about it.”  She talks about when she and Ed went to Italy, they both felt that sense of home and knew they wanted to stay, so they purchased Bramasole, which led her to write Under The Tuscan Sun.

Every time I’m home and I get the ache in my chest when I look out at the water, I think to myself that I could walk away from Tennessee and never look back.  When I was a teenager, all I wanted was to leave Mattituck, explore, set out on my own, and become myself.   In the process of becoming who I am, I came to the realization that beauty and aesthetics in the place I live are vitally important to my happiness.  The surrounding environment has this subconscious impact on my psyche that comes from my feelings about the trees, water, flowers, tiny towns where people run into friends on the street, and a deep sense of belonging.  John Ed Pearce aptly said, “Home is the place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to.”  My dream is that someday I can return to the East End and become an integral part of preserving the community and environment there.

When I tell people I’m from New York, they think I grew up in the city.  When I elaborate and say I’m from the East End of Long Island, they envision some overcrowded suburb just outside of the city.  There is nothing that would make me happier than to share with my friends the incredible beauty of where I grew up.  Since airfare is crazy expensive these days, I took a few pictures (all on the iPhone, but obviously one doesn’t need a high tech camera, these places would look gorgeous taken with a disposable keychain camera).  Allow me to give you a 5 cent tour of some of the highlights of Long Island in July.

Dad’s daylily garden contains thousands of brand new flowers he’s hybridized over the years.  The result is a palette of color only God could have created.  Each day dad faithfully crosses the prettiest flowers that show the most genetic potential with each other to produce seeds which he can then plant and re-cross, otherwise know as “flower sex.”  When mom catches him surfing the net for pictures of new varieties, she calls it “lily porn.”  This giant garden is a hobby that turned into a labor of love.  Many people in church, some of my friends, and now I have dad’s own unique lilies in our yards.

My very favorite pastime, walking Bailie Beach in Mattituck to find pieces of sea glass at low tide.

The next three pictures show a small peninsula in New Suffolk called Kimogener Point (pronounced Kim-ah-jen-er).  The point is a private strip of shore that defines the landscape with its iconic windmill.  The Jacqueline Penney print in my dining room shows Kimogener Point at night with the moon peeking through the clouds, so I wanted to get some pics of the actual place.  I think the home in the third picture has one of the most incredible views on all of Long Island being surrounded by the nothing but the Peconic Bay and salty air.

Baby birds seem to be a theme these days.  This little blackbird fell out of the nest and the parents were squawking up a storm and fluttering about him.  I can only hope the little guy was able to make it.

Bailie the kitty (named after Bailie Beach) taking a moment to reflect on the lovely summer day.

A trip to Greenport with some friends to see the fireworks.  Afterward we headed to a little restaurant called First and South to discover that our server did a new locally themed chalk drawing every week.
A new ferry route opened the weekend after July 4th by the Peconic Jitney taking passengers around Shelter Island all the way to Sag Harbor.  Schedules can be found at http://www.peconicjitney.com/ .  The trip was absolutely gorgeous!  We sat on the top deck, breathed the salty air, and took in the incredible scenery of waterside mansions and million dollar sailboats.  Shortly before we arrived in Sag Harbor we passed Jimmy Buffett’s yacht and all waved like idiots.  He often docks in Greenport, and one of the passengers with us pointed his boat out to everyone as he cruised by.  This is a great little trip if you just want to do some light shopping and eat lunch.  The Hampton Jitney can be taken to the other towns if you’re adventurous enough to sit in bumper to bumper traffic on Montauk Highway.
A trip home for me usually includes a trip to the Hamptons.  Mom and I will head down there, hit up the Cheese Shoppe in Southampton and the Golden Pear Cafe for lunch, along with every thrift store on the south side.  One time I picked up a pair of old Manolo Blahniks for $20.  This time, a vintage white leather Mui Miu purse for $12!!!  The TJ Maxx in Bridgehampton is also a favorite stop for me since I found my dining room chairs there.  For exactly one third of the price for the same chair in Anthropologie, I shipped two down to TN.  Mom and dad brought two more when they drove down, and voila, I have chairs from the Hamptons.  The East End also has a plethora of incredible wineries where one can get quite sloshed after a day of tastings.  The vineyards are so beautiful and a much more pleasant sight than ugly subdivisions and housing developments.  If you want to get the inside scoop on the historical social drama in the Hamptons, I would highly suggest a book called Philistines At The Hedgerow: Passion And Property In The Hamptons by Steven Gaines.  It is most educational and quite entertaining!
The North Fork can’t be summed up in pictures and I can only convey a small sense of what being there is like for me, which simply cannot do justice to this lovely piece of shoreline.  In the past several blogs I have shared my house with you and in this one, I wanted to share my home.  To those of you who live there, don’t forget to treasure what you have.  Sometimes it’s very easy to miss the beauty in a place when you see it everyday.  To those of you who have never been, I hope that someday your travels will bring you there so you too can breathe the marshy air, get frizzy hair from the humidity, glance down and find a piece of sea glass, and fall head over heels in love with a Long Island you never knew existed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *