Friday, May 7, 2010

Greenport - the Boss Goes East

The weather is getting more summer-like with somewhat sticky days, which are OK  if you are used to live in a former swampy area - and I am; with the summer at our doors - my doors at least - I feel it is good and right to be at the seashore and breath that special watery smell - is it the seaweed?the crab-shells?the salt?...
As my spouse has to concentrate a lot in his work, during the weekend he puts  his brain in the stand-by mode and lets me boss around and decide where to go and what to do (with cheap excuses  like "men need directions" or "no matter what I decide, it will be wrong", followed by "do I need to have an opinion about everything?").

After the usual discussion (let's spare the details, or we won't celebrate our anniversary this year...) last Saturday we spent our morning  in Greenport, which turned out to be a good decision, because there was a bit of fun for everyone of us: the nice village with lot of old buildings, the jail (where I promise to put my kids if they don't behave), the brewery, a good ice-cream parlor, the little harbor in front of Shelter Island, the famous carousel  - that isn't anybody's cup of tea but it was made in the 20s, so it is almost antique! 


From one of the pier facing  Claudio's clam restaurant

Some old building on Main Street

At the corner with Bay Avenue

And more on Bay Avenue

The Jail and Police Museum (1917)

We liked Greenport a lot; it is actually one of those place where we both could live - if BNL was a bit closer - and the fact that there is such a nice harbor is obviously one of the main reasons.
And aren't those buildings gorgeous?
Even driving to Greenport was beautiful (and generally I am not a fan of driving): cruising through the wineries and the old villages of  Aquebogue, Catchogue, Southold made it relaxing; I noticed many antique stores, a number of signs for "historical sites" and definitely some old church.

This should be no wonder, because Greenport - and the villages that consitute the city of Southold - are the first English settlements on Long Island, dating back to the early 1640s, not so long after the Dutch had settled (and bought) what would be Manhattan.

Some puritans were coming to the eastern part of Long Island from New Haven, Connecticut,  to establish their own settlements, purchasing the land from  the Indian Corchaugs; those villages (including Greenport) stayed under the jurisdiction of Connecticut for about thirty years, while English and Dutch colonists were owning back and forth New York and  claiming all colonies for themselves - until eventually the Duke of York forced these  puritan settlers to submit,  somehow annihilating their religious identity - which makes the big sign at the Orient Point Ferry Terminal welcoming people to the Empire State quite ironic - that must have been lot later, though.
And yes, once we were done with Greenport, we thought it  interesting to check out the Orient Point Ferry Terminal - which was boring - but we went to the Orient Beach State Park and this was quite an amazing place; not so much for the beach or the playground, which of course were the most important thing for the kids and were nice; I really liked this piece of land between two Bays.
It must be a very fragile environment, probably flooded very often...I don't know if it stays in its shape of peninsula for a long time or if it becomes an island itself.

Bastian having fun with one pebble - which he keeps all day long!

Orient Beach, looking south-west

The park was still quiet, but not empty; a number of family were there, some people were trying to have a bath...and not making it: the water is still too cold, or better, the wind makes coming out of the water not so nice. 
We'll certainly go back to this place sometime, why? Because I am the boss and I say so!!!


dede said...

condivido in pieno i tuoi metodi democratici. Così si fa', BRAVA!!

matthew houskeeper said...

The North Fork is still very rural. I think many people are not aware of this. And Greenport is a lot of fun. A nice, walkable town that meets the waterfront. In the summer, there are often some interesting ships tied up near Prestons Dock. Looks like you had a nice day

Mari said...

Hi Matthew and Dede;
Yes, we had a lot of fun - me having spent most of my summers at the beach - and what a responsability to make my family happy! But it turned out everybody had fun!!!

Bill said...

Greenport is one of my favorite places on Long Island. I wanted to buy a house there in 1978, but I thought $80,000 was too expensive. After all, it's so far east why should the price be so high? Guess the joke is on me...

Mari said...

Hi Bill,
I noticed it is a bit pricey...but what a charming atmosphere.