03/30/17 6:00am
Mashomack Preserve on a spring day. (Credit: James Colligan, courtesy)

Mashomack Preserve on a spring day. (Credit: James Colligan, courtesy)

There was a time when the phrase “get lost” was an insult. These days, it’s therapy.

When the world becomes too much for you, Shelter Island — the pearl in the prongs of the North and South forks — has thousands of acres of wooded trails, quiet country roads, and deserted beaches where you can treat your short fuse with a long walk. (more…)

05/25/16 7:34am
A Shelter Island view from the 'Kissing Rock.' (Credit: Charity Robey)

A Shelter Island view from the ‘Kissing Rock.’ (Credit: Charity Robey)

Shelter Island is more than a charming, boring version of the Hamptons, a bucolic identity that travel writers have stuck on it. The island has welcomed visitors for two centuries with a contrariness that comes with being able to roll up the gangplanks every night and let the rest of the world go to hell. There’s a lot here, especially for people willing to bike or float, and a long summer day is enough time to get a taste.  (more…)

04/22/16 6:02am

Sitting room in converted barn with view to kitchen, USA

Here on the East End, a barn door is not merely a decorative note. Its also a nod to the past and homage to the farming tradition that has dominated this area since Europeans first settled here.

So when Jane Kosovsky imagined the home she wanted to build on her Southold property in 2003, she was thinking farm.

“I’m animal-oriented, and I wanted to blur the lines between the inside of the house and the outside, as far from a suburban family house as possible,” said Kosovsky, who installed two sets of barn doors inside her house. “The builder thought I was nuts, but he’s since brought people over to see them.” (more…)

11/25/15 6:10am
Ed Dart with his Firs; a Douglas on the left and a Fraser on the right. (Credit: Charity Robey)

Ed Dart with his Firs; a Douglas on the left and a Fraser on the right. (Credit: Charity Robey)

Does it make sense to drive to a rural area, cut down a seven-foot tree and put it in your living room for several weeks? No, it does not. But Christmas was never about being sensible. Even for people who think nothing of apple- or strawberry-picking, the experience of going out in a field to bring back a freshly cut tree is a peculiar delight.

And speaking of rational acts, who in their right mind would tie up acres of valuable Long Island real estate growing a crop that requires fertilization, pest control, pruning and eight to 10 years of growing before it can be harvested?

On the North Fork of Long Island, there are still a handful of farms, all family-owned, where generations of tree buyers and tree growers have participated in this illogical, magical Christmas tradition and made it an annual part of their holiday. (more…)

08/27/15 6:00am
A scene from the author's recent bike tour of Shelter Island.

A scene from the author’s recent bike tour of Shelter Island.

The only way to get to Shelter Island is by boat, and when you take the North Ferry from Greenport, your voyage is 10 glorious minutes of salty air, sailboats, seabirds and charming Victorian cottages. With that kind of introduction, it’s easy to imagine the ferry is taking you back to an earlier time.  (more…)