Notes from Water Mill


Congratulations to David Birdsall of Water Mill on recently being named to the International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame. At age 13, Dave met the local blacksmith and horseshoer in the Adirondack Mountains where his family spent part of their summers. He loved the stories, the odd jobs he was given and the learning. The seed was planted. It bloomed in 1967, when Dave gave up the riding ranch he and his brother ran in the Adirondacks and began horseshoeing full time on Long Island.

More than 40 years later, Dave is best known for the excellence of his work with show horses and his 22 years with the prestigious Hampton Classic, though he has tended to horses in virtually all the riding disciplines. Dave also developed a line of hoof-care products that he markets through his company, Water Mill Products, which he runs with his wife, Sue.

Within the horseshoeing world, Dave is recognized for teaching and mentoring a large number of novice farriers, many of whom started their careers with clients he handed off. Those farriers helped spread the impact of his knowledge and ensure his legacy in the craft.

The Water Mill Museum has installed a memorial brick path made from bricks purchased by members and community residents and inscribed with the desired name. Currently there are more than 300 bricks in the path, but there is room for about 250 more. If you’d like to honor someone with a brick at the museum, go to the website for contact information ( It’s a great Mother’s Day gift.

And speaking of Mother’s Day, the Clay Art Guild of the Hamptons is going to step back in time for “Tea & Cookies at the Water Mill Museum.” Taking a cue from one of the museum’s former uses, the guild has made mugs, cups and tea bowls from which you may taste fresh-brewed and herbal teas along with homemade cookies and desserts. It is a wonderful way to get a start on your Mother’s Day weekend. Stop by between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 10.

In preparation for the event, guild members did some research to learn about the museum’s days as a tearoom. It started back in the early 1920s, when the Benedict family that owned the mill rented the space to the New York State Commission for the Blind, which used it as a craft room for the work of the blind, as well as a tearoom. Several Water Mill young ladies worked there, some of whom still reside here including Jane Halsey, Genvieve Szczepankowski and Pat Rischel.

At the tearoom, a customer could stop in to buy a cup of tea or coffee, a cold beverage such as a soda, and a small tea sandwich or dessert. A popular favorite was an assortment of quartered sandwiches: cucumber, egg, deviled ham, and everyone’s favorite—cream cheese and olives. Although tea was served, in the heat of the summer many customers took lemonade instead. The delectable cookies offered in the tearoom came from a special bakery in New Rochelle and were brought down to Water Mill.

At the time, the outdoor deck was uncovered and customers would sit at round tables and look out over the water. The mill was not working and the space that the grinding platform occupies now was used for seating.

The Water Mill Community Club is hosting a covered dish supper and its business meeting on Sunday, May 4, at 6 p.m. There will be activities for youngsters downstairs during the business meeting time. Please call Eileen Noonan at 726-4899 or e-mail her at

Also, the Community Club is organizing a Work Day for Sunday, May 18, at 1 p.m. at the Burnett Building. This is a good time for younger members to do some community service for the club, which is a requirement to obtain a club scholarship award.

Johnson & Wales University student Raymond Wellen of Water Mill, who is pursuing an associate degree in computer graphics from the School of Technology at the Providence campus, has been named to the dean’s list for the 2008 winter term. To receive dean’s list commendation, students must earn a cumulative grade point average of 3.40 or above.

Facebook Comments