Sag Harbor’s past has been laid bare on Madison Street. The grand old Methodist Church building, which was erected in the 1830s on High Street, when Sag Harbor was a rich and bustling whaling port, has been stripped of its siding to expose its rough lumber boards as part of its reinvention as a fabulous residence.Probably for the first time since it was disassembled and moved to Madison Street in 1863, the work of those mid-19th century carpenters—men whose fathers probably remembered the Revolution—has been laid bare for all to see, if people can take the time to stop and look.
It’s been a long time since I ventured inside but I recall its elegantly spacious and sloped auditorium, which was featured on a Friends of the John Jermain Library House Tour long ago. I remember being amazed at the beauty of the space with its walnut finish.
The building would have made for a magnificent community center—an idea that was hoisted up the flagpole when the membership decided they had to sell it some years ago. But officials said that Community Preservation Funds, collected through taxes paid by the buyers of real estate, were for saving open space and not for historic preservation.
It’s not the first church to become a private home in the village. The 1843 Bethel Baptist Church, further south on Madison Street, has been a private home for many years. Better that a new owner take loving good care of our landmarks as their own homes than for us to see them lie forlorn and crumbling year after year.
With an early Labor Day looming just a few days off, this memorable summer feels as if it’s winding down even as the wilding continues. The days are shorter, the evening shadows are longer and the crickets in the wooded and grassy places are singing out their brains.
This coming Wednesday is the first day of school for Sag Harbor School District students. Prekindergarten “Meet and Greet” sessions take place at 10 and again at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, September 3, and the first School Board meeting of the academic year takes place at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, September 8, in the Pierson Library.
Meanwhile, summer ain’t done yet. A sure way to enjoy it is to get to the beach, get out on the water, or get away from the hustle and bustle on our jammed roads. Just a quick ferry ride away from Sag Harbor is the Nature Conservancy’s Mashomack Preserve on Shelter Island, a great place to get away from the craziness.
This weekend, a couple of events are planned there for kids. On Friday, August 29, from 10:30 a.m. to noon and again from 1 to 2:30 p.m., kids age 4 and up will read the Dr. Seuss book, “Bartholomew and the Oobleck,” They’ll act out a rainstorm, make an instrument to measure wind and then make Oobleck, a sticky green substance so named by Dr. Seuss that acts like a liquid when poured and like a solid when force is applied.
On Saturday, August 30, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., families are invited to give a hand hauling a 300-foot seine net from the bay to get a close look at the creatures and plants it brings up from the water. There might be striped bass, bluefish, porgies, fluke, flounder and several kinds of crabs. A marshmallow roast will follow.
Also on the agenda this weekend, Canio’s Books will host a reception for its gallery exhibition, “Three Views of Sag Harbor,” on Saturday, August 30, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the bookstore at 290 Upper Main Street. The show features woodcuts by Whitney Hansen, watercolors by Jean Holabird and photographs by Bob Wilson. The exhibition will be on view until September 29.
Ms. Hansen’s work has been seen in galleries in New York City and in California. She will show woodcuts celebrating Sag Harbor that she’s been working on for several years. Ms. Holabird will show her watercolor series, “Trees of Sag Harbor.” Her work has appeared in books including “Out of the Ruins: A New York Record,” “Autumn 2001” and “Alphabet in Color.”
Mr. Wilson, former art director of the Southampton Press, has shown his photographs all around the East End. He will present his photo series, “Benches of Sag Harbor,” depicting residents and visitors using the benches that line Main Street.
The deadline is approaching for individuals and businesses to place ads in the anniversary journal being planned by the Noyac Civic Council, which will be celebrating its 60th year with a party at Harlow in Sag Harbor on Saturday, September 27, from 6 to 10 p.m.
The party will feature music with a DJ, dancing, a two-hour open bar, a choice of appetizers, dinner and dessert for $90 a ticket. Buy yours at the Whalebone General Store on Noyac Road.
Proceeds from the sale of ads for the anniversary journal will support local charities and both the Sag Harbor and Southampton ambulance squads as they seek funding to buy new ambulances. Ad prices run from $20 to $300 and the deadline is the first week of September, according to Elena Loreto, president of the Civic Council. Call her at 725-3304 for more information or to place an ad.
“Captains’ Mates and Widows” is the title of an exhibition of charcoals by Sabina Street to be on view at the Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum on Main Street beginning with a reception on Friday, August 29, from 6 to 8 p.m.
Don’t forget the Farmers Market that continues its weekly Saturday appearance on Bay Street just east of the Marine Park from the Dockside Restaurant.
And the Romany Kramoris Gallery today unveils an exhibit featuring painter Sheryl Budnik’s works exploring “The Light Within the Darkness of Nature,” or the “Lumen Naturae” defined in the Middle Ages as the source of human knowledge.
“A painting is successful if it reveals more than what is visible, and summons the essence of a place,” the artist explained. “When we look carefully at the land or sea, we come to the heart of who we are and connect with the earth. I want my paintings to have first a memory of ocean, water, air or land—then connect us with the spirit, and leave us an awareness that we are all Nature.”
There will be a reception for Ms. Budnik on Saturday, August 30, from 5 to 7 p.m. and her work will be on view until September 18. Romany Kramoris Gallery is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and stays open later on weekend nights.