One of the responsibilities of a village column, at least as At Quaquanantuck sees it, is to try to capture some of the sense of place of the community it serves, not just in terms of events and activities and by recording life’s benchmarks, but by exploring the details, large and small, and the rhythms and rituals that give this special place its identity.
Like many Quogue residents of a certain age, At Quaquanantuck remembers very clearly the days when Al and Marty’s—generally referred to simply as Al’s—was a principality and a business district unto itself, presiding over the village nexus at the corner of Quogue Street and Jessup Avenue as the undisputed daytime ruler, yielding its dominion only on summer nights to the lovely Nando’s Miramar restaurant across the street, in what has come to be known as the Inn at Quogue.
Soda fountain and luncheonette, stationer and tobacconist, newsstand and candy store, Al’s had anything and everything that anyone might need, be they weekend visitor or year-round resident, to keep family life flowing smoothly without having to venture beyond the friendly confines of the village. Everything from comic books and greeting cards to art supplies and board games and toys, from party supplies and hostess gifts to burgers and ice cream sodas—or malted milk shakes. Yum.
Time was, just about everybody in the village stopped in at least once a day at Al’s, where the number of items available for purchase could never match the amount of information (and good old-fashioned gossip) exchanged and transmitted in the days before e-mail, Facebook, and instant messaging and mobile texts.
For the past 10 years, the weekend and summer rhythms and rituals of many Quogue residents, not to mention Jitney riders and Inn at Quogue guests, have been shaped by the presence of The Inn Spot, serving exquisite breakfast, brunch and lunch and preparing delicious meals for heating up at home in the same building that used to house Al’s, and Al’s family upstairs.
Now Colette and Pam, The Inn Spot’s gracious proprietors and hosts, are packing up their operation and moving most of it to their other establishment, The Inn Spot On the Bay down by the Ponquogue Bridge. A story in this week’s news section provides the details of the owners’ decision. Suffice it to say here that The Inn Spot and Pam and Colette will be very much missed by many.
Lots going on over at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge. To start with, the QWR is hosting a “Movie Night in the Nature Center” on Saturday, January 10, at 7 p.m. All are invited to join the staff in the cozy Nature Center with the fireplace aglow to watch “Arctic Tale,” a National Geographic production narrated by Queen Latifah recounting the real life adventures of a walrus pup and a polar bear cub and their exciting and harrowing struggles for survival “in a beautiful icebound world that is rapidly melting beneath them.” Tickets are $3 per person for this program for families and adults; call 653-4771 for reservations.
On Sunday, January 11, another “Full Moon Night Hike” is planned at the QWR, starting at 6:30 p.m. Pray for clear skies and join Refuge staffers for a nighttime hike through the forest up to North Pond, looking for and listening to creatures that like to come out at night during the winter. The walk, which is free for adults and families with children over 11 and will include some night vision activities, will take about 90 minutes. Reservations are required 24 hours prior, and space is limited.
Then, on Wednesday, January 14, at 7 p.m., the QWR will host a program on “Simple Steps to a Green Household.”
All those forward thinking Quogue residents who are interested in going green but aren’t sure where to start, or who just want to save money by lowering their energy costs will want to hear Deborah Shishido, a volunteer for LI-CAN (Long Island Climate Action Network) give a short and fun presentation based on the “Low Carbon Diet” by David Gershon. Ms. Shishido will share information on how to make some small changes at home that will have a big impact on the environment.
Green door prizes will be given out to all participants at this program for adults. Reservations are requested by calling 653-4771.
Ever willing to admit its mistakes, At Quaquanantuck must once again acknowledge an error, and apologize for probably startling a few parents: Quogue School classes did not resume on Friday, January 2, as projected in the last column. The school opened again on Monday of this week.
After 10 years of providing local residents with all the joys of having their own charming, neighborhood, non-megalithic bookstore, Terry Lucas is selling The Open Book on Main Street in Westhampton Beach. Her last day will be January 18; all are encouraged to stop by to say goodbye and take advantage of the big pre-inventory sale.
The reception for Mym Tuma’s exhibition at the Quogue Library will be held on Saturday, January 10, from 3 to 5 p.m.