Monday, August 18, 2014

#iloveyoutoMontaukandback: Collected Days 12-16

Hello, Long Island! I hope you are doing all right in spite of that crazy flood we had last week. It's so sad to hear that the South Shore got clobbered again, after dealing with Sandy. Given a little basement drama and a few other complications last week, I decided to tweet my challenge responses everyday and reserve the next blog post as a collection of several days. (I'll be doing the same thing for Days 17-21).

Keeping the challenge going has been just that ---a challenge--- but it's been very rewarding, too. Writing and reflecting, I feel a deeper appreciation all the time for what I love about our special place!

Day 12: Sweetbriar Nature Center

Sweetbriar Nature Center is very special little space tucked off a quiet road in Smithtown. In addition to their extensive wild animal rehabilitation services and educational programs to area schools, the Center boasts a miraculous Butterfly House. You can read more about Sweetbriar and the Butterfly House at one of my blog posts from last summer by clicking here.

Many a time has this wonderful vessel saved us the trouble of driving through the city (most especially, the Bronx) on our journeys northward. While it's a little pricey, I hope you'll agree that for the gas, tolls, wear-and-tear on the vehicle (and yourself) it's ultimately worth it if you live further out east. It's a very pleasant 75-minute ride across the Sound. Our strategy is to tag-team it: one of us immediately gets on line, while the other finds choice seats with a view. Advance reservations are easily done, strongly recommended, and bring a lot of peace of mind.

Day 14: Long Island Growers Market

Scattered throughout Long Island and representing just about every day of the week are the Long Island Growers Markets, a collection of farmers markets that serve our various communities. The produce and products available, from kale to soap to sea robin, are all purveyed by our local farmers, artisans and fish mongers. To find a Growers Market in your neighborhood, visit their website. (They also have a nifty search feature where you can look up markets by the days of the week that they are offered.) Recently I picked up some beautiful purple peppers at Mays' Farm booth. They made a wonderful, antioxidant-rich contribution to Mr. Cardinal's recent Spinach, Feta and Vermouth Turkey Sausage dish.

Day 15: Walt Whitman. This is an #iloveyoutoMontaukandback x Coastal Freebie, featuring the immortal words of poet and Long Islander Walt Whitman. 

Day 16: Port Jefferson Village

Port Jefferson is a picturesque, hopping little town, and a place that has an "all things to all people" vibe. You'll see couples having a romantic evening out, travellers taking advantage of the Ferry, a vibrant biker subculture, foodies reveling in the fine dining, wine, cheese and cigar tastings, and families indulging at the Frigate or watching the Ferry dock.

Plenty of shops, restaurants, bars and quaint architecture.
The hold grail of sweet indulgences, the Frigate.
A pretty town park open to the public. It's located between the ferry lot and Danforth's. You can admire the boats in the harbor or watch the ferry come in as you relish your ice cream cone.

Monday, August 11, 2014

#iloveyoutoMontaukandback, Day 11. St. James General Store

Did you know that Long Island is home to the oldest continually operating general store in the country? If you find yourself in the area and scratching for an old fashioned candy or soft drink, pop on by and step back into a different era. If Long Island history is up your alley, the St. James General Store also boasts a large selection of books on the subject. There are plenty of good holiday gifts here--- toys for kids, home decor, and of course, a wide selection of treats for the sweet tooth in your life!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

#iloveyoutoMontaukandback, day 10. thera farms ❤️

If you find yourself cruising along Motor Parkway in Ronkonkoma, you might not realize that the residences lined so neatly next to one another possess extremely deep lots, and that one of these homes in particular boasts an extensive organic hydroponic lettuce facility, as well as zucchini and tomato gardens (and a busy little chicken coop). It's Thera Farms, run by the Bolkas family. We discovered them by accident at the Nesconset Farmer's Market (where they distinguished themselves with salad greens which were enormous, fresh and immaculate). Since then, we've been popping by the farm periodically to pick up those beautiful lettuces. Check them out, Long Island!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

#iloveyoutoMontaukandback, day 9. parrish the thought.

I hope that you all are enjoying this beautiful weekend, Long Island! While we certainly could use some rain, the pleasant temperature and regular sunshine are a treat after this past winter. (Yes, I'm still going there. Suffice to say freezing cold weather and Nor-Easters will NOT make #iloveyoutoMontaukandback post. That being said...)

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, having devoted two blog posts (1, 2) to it in the past. If you haven't been since they moved to the new facility, I wholeheartedly encourage you to go! (When my best friend comes to visit Long Island in a few weeks, you can bet it will be a part of the grand tour. :-)

Any tourist-y suggestions of where else I should take her? (In addition to the beach, I am thinking the Duck, some wineries that I have in mind for her preferred flavor profile, and at least one pictureqsue town on both the North and the South shores, so she can get a taste of each).

Friday, August 8, 2014

#iloveyoutoMontaukandback x coastal freebies: Day 8, theodore roosevelt.

In honor of the 26th President of the United States, New Yorker and Long Islander Theodore Roosevelt, I came up with this free printable.

If you haven't visited the Roosevelt home, Sagamore Hill, I highly recommend it! 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

#iloveyoutoMontaukandback, day 7. all that glitters is gold ...or garden.

The Mansions of the Gold Coast (and a few scattered throughout various other parts of Long Island) are a testament to an extraordinary wealth that created a legacy the likes of which has captured the imagination of American culture ever since, catapulting those times and places into a rich collection of novels and movies. 
Sadly, that's where preservation ends for many of these storied mansions--- in the mind and heart of our American culture. The fact that only a fraction of these palatial structures remain on the Island is in and of itself a cautionary tale: for as mighty and all-consuming as wealth can appear, it too has its expiry, its limitations.
For the properties that remain (and have been deeded to the State and other private foundations) we Long Islanders are in a uniquely privy to glimpses into that former world.

In addition to the architectual marvels (that at times dance between the careful balance of tasteful to ostentatious to obscene) there is one aspect of these mansions that is very near and dear to my heart: the properties themselves, the golden arboretums and gardens of these homes.

Here are some past Coastal Village Girl posts on some of the amazing gardens you can stroll through at your leisure. (Hint--- get an Empire Passport, and parking is FREE!)
Bayard Cutting Arboretum in Great River (South Shore)
Here is a North Shore garden of note that is not attached to a Gold Coast Mansion, but is very unusual indeed! (Note: As private property, there is a fee associated with attending).

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

#iloveyoutoMontaukandback, day 6. aw, shucks! you sure can shell it out, long island.

The abundance and freshness of the oysters and clams I've experienced since moving to Long Island has made me pinch myself numerous times. Raw bar specials are normative at many restaurants. One of my favorite local oysters, the Naked Cowboy (yes, that really is the name) is wonderfully succulent and briny. I discovered today they are farmed by the Blue Island Oyster Company in West Sayville, who ships them (as well as other local oysters I was unfamiliar with) to various metro-area restaurants. Pretty cool! I think I may create a personal oyster checklist.

With bounty also comes affordability (and how frequently does that happen on Long Island?) When we hosted the Cardinal family clambake in June, I was shocked how inexpensive the Littleneck Clams in the grocery store were (and they were indeed local).

No complaints here, Long Island! What are your favorite raw bars on the Island? Do you have a favorite  oyster?