Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Run like the wind




I was walking early yesterday morning down Toylsome Lane in the estate district when suddenly, a small deer bounded out into the street from the driveway of one of the properties ahead. She made a wide question-mark-shaped turn in the street as she assessed my level of threat before dashing towards me. Just then I spied what she was running from: a large dog rounded the hedge and set off in pursuit. Now, deer are fast, but I've never seen this kind of speed. No flick of the tail and graceful canter here. This gal literally had her little white tail tucked between her legs, and she was running as though she was up against Smarty Jones in the Kentucky Derby.

The dog gave it up after 50 yards, and, satisfied, trotted back down his driveway.

A couple houses farther on, I turned the corner just in time to see the dog trotting out into the street ahead, looking as though he were on patrol. He'd apparently cut through his backyard and those of a couple of other occupants. Then I heard a whistle, and he turned around and disappeared down a side street. I passed the dog and his owner a couple of minutes later, where she was petting and probably trying to distract him from continuing his search.

A few seconds later, I came to the ancient Southampton cemetary (first burial, 1648). There, shielded by the surrounding hedges, stood the deer. I laughed. For all the world, it seemed like dog and deer were playing a game of hide and seek. I snapped the photo here just as she turned tail to trot away, game over.

Speaking of running like the wind, the Hamptons Marathon is happening this morning as I write. The weather couldn't be better for the runners -- the persistent humidity and rain we've put up with for three days dissipated overnight, leaving clear skies and temps in the low 60's. As we have among our guests three competitors and three spectators, breakfast was a pretty small affair. I'll look forward to refilling their weary bodies tomorrow with a nutritious protein and veggie entree (and special after-26-miles-I-deserve-it muffins).
The rain on Tuesday made finals at the US Mid-Amateur Golf Championship, held earlier this week at the Atlantic Golf Club, pretty soggy. Our frequent guests Ron and Alice are members of the club, and come out to play there every so often. They weren't participating in the championship, but came out with friends from Seattle to enjoy it. We teased the Seattleites, accusing them of packing rainclouds in their baggage. But golfers seem to be an especially hardy sort, willing to drive those little white balls in nearly every type of weather except maybe snow (does any other sport offer an umbrella as an accessory?). Needless to say, hot tea went over well that afternoon, despite the 74-degree temperature.

Also happening this weekend and next is the Arts Harvest Southampton, a collaborative affair encompassing the visual, performing, and culinary arts. Southampton Village closes down part of Main Street each weekend to accommodate a bandstand for the live music performed all afternoon, the shops have sidewalk sales to peruse, folks are enjoying the action from outside tables in front of the restaurants. Tonight there is a live art auction of works by local artists, and a farm-to-table dinner, held on a long series of picnic tables in Agawam Park overlooking the pond.


Who says things slow down in the Hamptons after summer season ends?


Quote of the Day: When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me." --Erma Bombeck


Monday, September 13, 2010

Post-Labor Day, 2010

And there you have it, the Summer of 2010, which came in with a shout: the best weather over Memorial Day (sunny and hot!) and exited with a whimper called Hurricane Earl on Labor Day. Except that Earl was a no-show, tiptoeing by 200 miles offshore on Friday night with only a little rain and wind in his backpack. It was, however, enough to spook many visitors to the area who would've otherwise made the holiday the last hurrah of the season. Pity, too, as the sun was back in full force on Saturday, and it was a spectacular day for the Grand Prix event on Sunday at the Hampton Classic.

Still, it was a nice weekend and guests enjoyed themselves, and the day after Labor Day it was immediately Autumn in the Hamptons...clear, sunny days in the low 70's, with temps dropping in the evenings. The minute that sun drops behind the dune, you need your hoodie!

Chris and I had a chance to enjoy a picnic on the beach the other evening after all the guests had checked in, savouring an East Coast sunset (above) with our wine and smoked salmon. (How much better does Life get!?!) But the signs of the encroaching Fall are already upon us...I saw my first horse chestnut on Labor Day weekend, a chevron of Canadian geese honking their noisy way toward the south on Tuesday, and we're all donning jackets to enjoy live entertainment on the deck at Tiderunners or at the North Fork vineyards, as we had a chance to experience again this past Sunday.

Caroline Doctorow (yes, THAT Doctorow, daughter of E.L., author of such classics as Ragtime) is a talented folk/blues musican who lives out here on the East End. On Sunday, she was the featured performer at Peconic Bay Vineyards, one of the North Fork wineries who we enjoy and recommend to guests interested in spending a lovely weekend afternoon listening to live entertainment on the peaceful grounds of a working vineyard. We like Peconic Bay's La Barrique Chardonnay, which reminds me of California's Napa Valley chards, and Chris of France's Chassagne Montrachet. We met friends for a early dinner at the Frisky Oyster in Greenport, which we thoroughly enjoyed. It's a rare chance that we can get away as far as the North Fork until the off-season, and a great chance to be able to initiate or renew our acquaintance with locations old and new, so that we can better share them with our guests.

It is a marvelous time to come visit. The frayed tempers and traffic common in July and August have gone, the air is clear and the light beautiful, and all is far more calm and peaceful. Enjoy it with us!

Quote of the Day: Happiness is a wine of the rarest vintage, and seems insipid to a vulgar taste. --Francois, Duc de la Rochefoucauld