Well, I’ve planted my tomatoes, which means summer is really here. Master carver Bob Hand, who grew up on a Bridgehampton farm, recently sent me a dozen heritage plants that I’ve added to my container garden. It rained the first three days after planting so they got off to a good start. Now I just need to hope the deer don’t come up on my deck to graze. I gave up my backyard garden some years ago, when I realized the deer had me on their list of favorite snacking spots. Back during the Great Depression, hobos would often scrawl a cryptic sign outside of a home where a generous handout might be forthcoming, so other hobos would know where to ask for food. I’ve checked around the perimeter of my yard but haven’t yet discovered any deer messages about the odds of getting a meal from me, but they must be communicating with each other somehow. In any case, and with some luck, I’ll be swimming in tomatoes before August.It will soon be beach weather and lots of folks will be swimming and sailing in our local waters. In fact, I’ve heard from Jeff Mansfield that boat racks have been installed at Mecox Bay Park (the site of the former Mecox Bay Yacht Club) and spots on these racks are available for rent from the town’s Parks and Recreation Department. Applications for a boat rack rental are being accepted until June 12, and cost $125 per season. You have to provide proof of residency. For info and an application to apply for a rack rental, call the Southampton Town Parks & Recreation Department at 728-4170. The Mecox Sailing Association (MSA) is hopeful that sailing lessons will eventually be given at the site.
If you want to spend some time away from the water, visit Bridge Gardens. The gardens are constantly changing so you should plan on visiting them often. Programs on sustainable gardening, watercolor art classes, and children’s photography and art will be offered and their “Fridays at Six Music at the Gardens” will be on July 18 and August 22. Visiting hours are Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Fridays from 10 a.m. to dusk, and Wednesdays & Thursdays (beginning May 30) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, and $20 for a family. Seasonal memberships are available for $50 for individuals and $75 for families (covers 4 individuals). The gardens are also available for group tours. For more information, contact Thomas Hobson at the Peconic Land Trust’s office at (631) 283-3195 or email BridgeGardens@PeconicLandTrust.org.
I’ve also noticed that the Hayground School on Mitchell Lane has started up its summer farmers market on Friday afternoons, starting at 3 p.m. It’s definitely worth a visit to check out the scrumptious fare being offered for sale while supporting local farmers.
The proposed development on the corner of Montauk Highway and Lumber Lane is still being discussed by members of the local CAC. That’s the corner where Wicks Tavern once stood, overlooking the Commons. In the mid-17th century the triangular “Commons” was a vast area of grazing land where colonists pastured cattle and sheep on the common land of the town, and held social gatherings and community activities. In 1775, local freemen who signed Southampton’s Articles of Association opposing “oppressive” acts of the British Parliament may have met in Wicks Tavern, which housed Bridgehampton’s first US Post Office in 1794. The tavern, along with the recently restored Topping Rose House and the Nathaniel Rogers House, undergoing restoration, all faced the Commons. The intersection itself is now the area of the commons and forms a gateway to the hamlet center. Unfortunately, Wicks Tavern was demolished in 1941 by the Shell Oil Company in order to build a gas station, and the gas station eventually was converted into the old beverage store that also has been demolished. CAC members have been discussing issues associated with the development and are considering asking the Town of Southampton to perform parking, vehicular and pedestrian studies before allowing any development or exceptions to zoning laws for all of Main Street between Lumber Lane and Corwith Avenue on the north side, and Ocean Road and School Street on the south side. I’ve heard some talk around the hamlet about preserving this historic corner and making it into a park.
Right next door to the Nathaniel Rogers House, at the Bridgehampton Museum’s Archives (2539-A Montauk Highway), a new exhibit has opened featuring images of local landscapes by the Plein Air Peconic artists. The exhibit is open Monday through Thursday, from 10 a.m. till 2 p.m., and on Friday from 2 to 4 p.m. On Friday, June 6, the BH Museum will open a second exhibit, this one at the Corwith House (2368 Montauk Highway), featuring the art of Claus Hoie that celebrates local farming and local crops. The Hoie exhibit, made possible by the generosity of the Helen and Claus Hoie Foundation, is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For info on either exhibit call 537-1088.
Finally, if you haven’t yet started searching your attic, basement and closets for your forgotten antiques and relics, there’s still time to do so for the “Antique Treasures” appraisal day fundraiser at St. Ann’s Church on Saturday, June 14. The fundraiser is sponsored by Saunders Real Estate, and will feature the talents of several well-known appraisers, two of whom have appeared on the television show Antiques Roadshow. Pia Lindström will serve as honorary chair. Tickets for appraisals may be purchased in advance online at www.antiquetreasuresday.com. Admission is $30 and funds raised from the event will benefit East End Hospice, Dominican Sisters and Maureen’s Haven. For additional information or to order tickets, call (631) 353-1489.