Offering a rare inside look at some of the community’s most historic and memorable homes, the New Suffolk Waterfront Fund (NSWF) is hosting its Sweet & Savory House & Garden Tour Saturday July 20.
The eight privately-owned homes featured on the tour are nestled off Old Harbor Road in the heart of the hamlet. The properties boast sweeping views of Cutchogue Harbor and Robins Island and reflect New Suffolk’s rich maritime history and modern day charm.
“They are all very lovely and all very different,” said Linda Auriemma of the NSWF.
Serving as a living link to the hamlet’s earliest days is the home of a former fisherman. Built in 1743, the tiny, white clapboard cottage is New Suffolk’s oldest building — but that’s not all that makes it unique.
The current owners have office studios in the former outbuilding just south of the house. There is also a small building that was once used as an astronomical observatory tucked away in the northwest corner of the backyard garden.
The home’s one-time owner Laurits Christian “Dan” Eichner, a Danish-born craftsman, machinist and metalworker added the now defunct observatory in the 1900s. While residing in New Suffolk he manufactured countless precision instruments and some of the telescopic equipment in use today at the Custer Institute in Southold.
The newest home on the tour was built in 2004. The expansive post-and-beam home sits on a 17.5-acre property previously owned by a branch of the Wickham family for more than three centuries.
Upland parts of the parcel were once orchards where several fruit trees still grow. When homeowners Nancy and Tom Gleason broke ground in 2000 they worked to maintain the natural beauty of the land. They opted for cottage garden-style plantings, resulting is a bevy of trees, shrubs and ground covers that includes French lilac, heather, sedums, viburnums, ferns, begonias, climbing hydrangea, crape myrtle and magnolia.
In the owner’s words, the home combines the best elements of “Nantucket and an Adirondack camp.”
“It’s so perfectly matched to the site that you might think it has been here forever,“ Auriemma said. “It’s a beautiful home.”
Other destinations on the tour include the historic Hathaway House and a private garden that cascades down the bluffs in New Suffolk.
“All of the owners are very much involved in maintaining the historic aspect of the homes,” Auriemma said. “They are happy to join in and open their doors.”
Many of the property owners will be on hand to answer questions and share insight on the houses’ design and history.
Three of the bayfront homes on the self-guided tour will offer a combination of sweet and savory homemade treats, including spicy grilled shrimp and pecan sandies. The event will also feature North Fork wines and live music.
“This is a fantastic and fun house-garden-foodie event,” Ms. Auriemma said. “And, of course, all for a good cause.”
The tour is NSWF’s largest fundraiser of the year. The proceeds go toward the restoration and revitalization of the organization’s 2.4-acre waterfront property, which includes the former Galley Ho restaurant property, a historic barn, a community garden and a portion of the beach on the south side of the site. In the future, the waterfront fund plans to establish transient dockage, a small marina and a community center/snack bar.
“We envision it as a place where people can meet, grab coffee or lunch and read a newspaper,” Ms. Auriemma said.
New Suffolk Waterfront Fund’s Sweet & Savory House & Garden Tour is on Saturday, July 20, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. The starting point is at Fisher’s Field on Old Harbor Road in New Suffolk.