Day 17: Montauk
There are a few places that I know of with such generous sky and sweeping beauty as Montauk. Sometimes described as the "un-Hamptons" of the South Fork, there is a raw, uncomplicated feeling to the area (even with the booming summertime tourist industry).
My first blog post on Montauk can be found here. Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of revisiting the area with a dear friend from out of state, and we took a lengthy walk along the beach (which we had to ourselves... :-)
Day 18: The Big Duck
Cultural stalwart and bit of entrpenuerial creativity on the part of 1930's duck farmers, The Big Duck now resides in Flanders off Route 24. A part of the Suffolk County Parks, the Duck has become quintessential location for a Long Island summertime selfie. They even have a gift shop, so you can proudly display your love of this beloved oddity wherever you go.
Check out the bilco doors.
Day 19: Long Island is "For the Birds"
One of the things I dearly love about living here is the great convergence of songbird and shorebird populations. On any given day, I can look out my kitchen window and see cardinals, bluejays, numerous varieties of sparrows and finches, catbirds, cowbirds, mourning doves, warblers, chickadees, wrens, nuthatches and tufted titmice in the yard. A further glance over the pond or a short trip to the beach or river affords the viewing pleasure of egrets, herons, cormorants, kingfishers, osprey, terns and plover. We are by no means professional birders. Here's the thing, though: once you start noticing birds, it's actually really hard to stop. You can't. Noticing these little slips of natural beauty about five years ago became something of the catalyst for us. Since then, we have spent much of our free time dedicated to acknowledging the beauty of our local natural wonders, through road trips and hikes.
Cormorants and seagulls enjoying the sun at Montauk State Park.
I'm almost positive these were the punks who splashed sand on my yoga mat in Nissequogue.
There's a fantastic list of Long Island birds by this website that can help you in the identfication process.
If you're up for a bit of wintery and educational family fun that can make a difference for orinthology research, sign up for the Backyard Bird Count run in part by the Cornell Orinthology Lab.
Day 20: The Wine Stand of Wolffer Estate Vineyard
Braving the informal Montauk Highway offering of Wolffer Estates on a warm weekend is not for the faint of heart. (Valet parking is just the start of it.) Weekdays, on the other hand, are a perfect opportunity to take advantage of their vineyard-side, bucolic tasting environment. Don't skip the 2013 White Table Wine: the beautifully sweet nose deceives an otherwise dry, zesty romp with a meyer lemon.
Day 21: France Hodgson Burnett
Happy summer, Long Island. I hope it's been kind to you, and here's to many beautiful things to come this autumn.