Greetings blog followers and hope you’re having a GREAT summer! In case you didn’t see – or even if you did – I’m sharing here my original, unedited version of the ‘Expressway’ essay Long Island’s Newsday published last Sunday (July 7) … complete with never-before-seen photos! O.k. I’m being dramatic for effect, but hope you enjoy and watch for plenty more new material to come soon! I’m, fittingly sitting here in my backyard on a beautiful, sunny, albeit pretty hot, Long Island Sunday afternoon sending this your way …
My in-laws Joe and Nora came down from Buffalo to East Northport for the first time to spend a long weekend with us this summer. Seeing Long Island through their fresh eyes renewed my love for my lifelong home. And it gave me a fresh perspective of the beauty all around us as we explored local parks, beaches, villages and restaurants … or even sat and listened to birds, and watched a bunny hop around, in our backyard as we enjoyed coffee, bagels (of course) and the local paper.
Helped by picture-perfect weather, our special get-together was ideal in its simplicity …
We walked along the ocean shore of Robert Moses State Park at dusk Friday, Nora collecting shells and rocks. It’s the first time I’ve been at the beach with only a handful of people as far as the eye could see and one other car in the entire parking lot. It was us, the waves and the seagulls … perfect!
Wanting to show them the diversity of our shorelines, we hiked for miles along Caumsett State Park trails and woods the next day to get to the tranquil Long Island Sound. We took in the iconic view of harbor and sailboats by the mansion on the hill; looked across cloudless, clear-blue skies to Connecticut; and marveled together at the contrast between the sandy South Shore and rocky North.
Huntington Village is always a treat and fat, juicy burgers; local craft beers; sweet potato fries; and Ben and Jerry’s salted caramel ice cream ensured we’d be doing plenty more walking to burn it all off!
Everywhere we went seemed magical and new – transforming places I’d taken for granted, and eyes that may have turned jaded over the years, into childlike wonder.
Nora and I watched a bald eagle take flight across Centerport Harbor to its nearby nest … turtles of every size clamber up and down the banks of the pond at Huntington’s Heckscher Park … a variety of different-colored chickens roam around a Northport home’s side yard (one even crossing the road, though neither the owner nor we knew why!!!). We also walked along the Northport harbor pier, taking in the sights of loads of beautiful boats and homes.
We strolled for miles and miles, me pointing out favorite spots – like an East Northport home with a horse corral – and Nora exclaiming her surprise that Long Island could be so hilly, woodsy and ‘New Englandy’ up on the North Shore. Every step of the way was pure, idyllic joy, and a rediscovery of why I adore living here.
I realized, too, that Long Island cuisine, besides fresh-caught seafood, is really pretty worldly – we ate at an Indian buffet, a local Japanese sushi bar and thought about neighborhood Mexican taco, Greek salad and Thai alternatives. Even the local Dairy Barn (a.k.a. The Barn or Dairy Farm) took on somewhat mythical proportions as my brother- and sister-in-law absolutely couldn’t get over the fact that we were driving up to a big red barn and ordering milk and snacks to go. They laughed about it the entire trip whereas I always just assumed everyone had a Dairy Barn close by – who knew?
Being pretty tireless walkers, Nora and I clocked nearly 30 miles on my old-school pedometer over three days. And we did it all over the terrain I’m happy, proud and lucky to call home. Thanks, upstate relatives, for a wonderful visit and a reminder for me to appreciate the pristine landscapes of Long Island!
Here’s the Newsday piece: