AFTER 75 SOUL-NUMBING MINUTES on the Long Island Expressway, I arrived on the East End of Long Island to be greeted by blue sky…the Big Duck…wild turkeys in a field. I drove the back roads between Sag Harbor and East Hampton, just to see what was there. I felt the history in the names: Alewives Brook Road; Stephen Hands Path; Two Holes of Water Road; and stopped to take pictures of tiny old houses, and a few larger ones. I seem to love the little ones best, maybe because they’re the right size for me.
Above: In Springs, the local deli
Then, with time to kill before meeting a house inspector at a cottage in Springs where I’m planning to make an offer, I drove out on a spit of land that hooks around Accabonac Harbor, and was stunned by the purity and serenity of it. It’s a part of the Hamptons I never knew (I’m choking on the words — I never thought I liked “the Hamptons” all that much, nor did I dream I would find myself even considering buying there).
But the received wisdom that “you get more for your money on the North Fork” hasn’t panned out. Before finding anything that felt right on the North Fork, or in the Hudson Valley, I saw this bottom-of-the-market shingled cottage on 1/2 an acre in Springs, below. I thought it was from the ’60s, and was delighted when the engineer, poking his stick into the cellar joists, said no, it’s 1940s. The older the better, as far as I’m concerned.
I’ll say no more, for fear of jinxing the whole thing. My offer could be rejected; and even if not, I still have mortgage hurdles. And I haven’t found out what the taxes would be (the current owner has a senior STAR exemption).
It’s not my dream house, God knows. But I could be happy there, gardening on the south-facing property, drinking wine with my friends (I have lots in the area) on the screened porch, walking 10 minutes to a magnificent bay beach. And in the high season, maybe I’ll avoid the L.I.E. and collect rent (note willful disregard of catastrophic economic news on the car radio coming and going).
Above: Maidstone Beach, 1/2 mile away