Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Stroll Through Bellport


One of my favorite past times is exploring old areas around the island, and this weekend, my mom and I took a short drive south to the sleepy coastal village of Bellport, NY. Bellport, settled in the early 19th century, was your quintessential seaport at the time, which comes as no surprise since the village lies conveniently on the Great South Bay. Although the sea captains are long gone, the town still maintains quite a few historic homes as you'll see, and the placidity surrounding them resonates as you walk down their quiet streets.

The Bellport United Methodist Church, erected in 1850, was transferred by the Presbytery of Long Island to its present site in exchange for the Brookhaven Methodist Church, selling its old structure to a Methodist group in Massapequa Park by floating it down the bay. It's one of the best remaining examples of Greek Revival country church architecture in Suffolk County.


The Temperance Hall, built in the mid-19th century, was one of the oldest and most successful temperance organizations in Suffolk County. Ironically enough, one of its later purposes included being used as a saloon.




Bellport is a village meant for porch rocking, lemonade sipping, and slowing down. A perfect summer retreat when you're seeking all the timeless charm of the Hamptons, but none of its hustle and bustle.

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Little Red Cape

"He who loves an old house
Will never love in vain;
For how can any old house
Used to sun and rain
To lilac and to larkspur
To arching trees above,
Fail to give its answer
To the heart that gives it's love?"
Anonymous (1636)

There's a source for everything, and what inspires my daily life the most is my love for old houses, and in particular, this little red cape in Setauket, New York. The Alexander Hawkins House, built around 1730, has stood in the same spot since before the American Revolution and is every old home enthusiast's dream. I've had my eye on it for over a year now after touring it last August during an open house and it has stayed in my heart ever since. If you look up at my header, there it is too! A source for everything... it is this house (or something like it) that aspires me to fuel my passions, to revitalize this blog, to one day live in something as full of character and natural beauty. Fortunately for me, it's still on the market, and I was able to attend another open house yesterday afternoon. I thought you'd all like to see what I've been raving about-- and be warned-- these photos are not for the faint of heart! The amount of care and attention to detail the owners have put into this house over the years is beyond impressive, not only manifesting physically but spiritually as well. This house so full of love and warm energy, one can't help but feel compelled to crawl onto the sofa and open up a book. Stepping through the front door, you feel you're coming home.


Setauket, New York possesses an illustrious history, having made a huge impact during the Revolutionary War in particular. If any of you are familiar with AMC's television series, Turn, the plot is (very loosely) based on George Washington's Culper Ring, America's first organized spy ring which aided in gathering information against the British and ultimately winning the war. Most of the key players involved in the spy ring all hailed from Setauket, and more than likely knew Alexander Hawkins personally. If you look at the photo above, you will see etchings in the mantel place in the Hawkins' dining room. These etches were secret signs that informed other Patriots that this was a "safe house." Hawkins, like many others living in British-occupied Long Island, resented these uninvited intruders, and were great supporters of the Patriot cause, but had to do so discreetly.

Here, in the kitchen, a fireplace with a pretty crooked mantel is showcased. Superstition has it, these were deliberately designed as such to ward off witches from climbing down the chimneys late at night.


The ornately designed parlor with original built-in hutch.

The parlor fireplace, also slanted (witch free zone!), with intricate moldings.

Details in the entranceway, such as a painted canvas on the floor (widely popular in colonial times), and a framed map of Setauket greet visitors stopping by.

The dining room exudes hospitality-- and history-- being the room with the etched mantelpiece, another antique built-in hutch, and the outline of a former cellar door you can see at the bottom right-hand corner of this photo. ** Upon further inspection of this photo, I noticed a series of diamond shaped orbs near the legs of the chairs. Could it be Mr. Hawkins saying hello? **

An alternate view of the dining room with the original kitchen hearth.

Charming, well thought out details adorn the house, pleasing you at every corner.

The first floor master bedroom was originally...  a chicken coop?! Dating back to the 1850s, it was rescued from a nearby farm in the 1940s and made into a rear addition of the house. Quite the transformation!

The three upstairs bedrooms are simple and inviting, the way every bedroom should be.

And if you thought this house couldn't get any better, take a look at the property: you are now viewing the back of the house, facing the rear addition. A screened in gazebo awaits summer cocktails on these sultry August evenings.

A two-room cottage on the property has multiple uses; a guest house, artist gallery, or reading nook, to name a few.

Could you picture yourself sitting here? I could, each and every day for the rest of my life.

---

For more information on this one of a kind gem, please visit Coach Realtors here.

I hope that whoever is blessed enough to become the new owners of this home will treat it with the respect and adoration it so rightfully deserves.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Fresh Beginning: Bygone Living


Most of you remember this blog as I Heart New England, and have probably wondered over the years: Where did she go? I often asked myself that same question! As usual, life had gotten in the way; I got a full-time job, moved out east to a cottage with my boyfriend Jake, had to balance work life with home life. As many of you can relate, my new "grown up" life had left very little time (and energy) to actively maintain a blog. But man, not a day went by that I didn't miss it. I've done and have seen a lot during the course of my absence, and upon every special moment, a little voice would chirp inside my head, "This would be perfect for the blog!" But what blog? I really didn't have one anymore...

That is, until I came up with the idea of Bygone Living. I asked myself as I sat on my patio one golden June evening, what can I change or reinvent about my blog to make it more vigorous and suited to my lifestyle? Of course, New England has always been the love of my life, but I don't quite live there, and there are hundreds of other interesting things that I do that don't pertain to New England at all. What is a constant, ever-gleaming beacon in my life? Something that defines me? I started brainstorming: history, traditional living, domesticity... And that was my "Eureka!" moment: simply make a blog celebrating those three things, thus Bygone Living was born.

This will be an outlet where I can share with all of you my historical discoveries, in and outside of Long Island, where I am from. It will also be a place for me to share traditional and old recipes, like my favorite one for blueberry cobbler you'll see below. I'll share stories about my life, tales of the past, and just about anything else that harkens back to a simpler time.

Please feel free to explore the new blog design-- all my I Heart New England posts are still active, so you're welcome to backtrack too (we're all about "backtracking" here!)-- and I hope you'll stick around (preferably with a cup of tea) to enjoy Bygone Living.

Blueberry Cobbler
(courtesy of MyRecipes.com)

2 pints blueberries
1/3 plus 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 cups heavy cream

Heat oven to 375° F. In a shallow 1 1/2-quart baking dish or a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate, 
toss the blueberries, 1/3 cup sugar, and 1 tablespoon flour.

In a medium bowl, combine the baking powder, salt, lemon zest, and the remaining flour and sugar.

Add the butter and blend with your fingers or 2 knives until coarse crumbs form. 
Add 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cream and mix until a shaggy dough forms.

Drop mounds of dough over the blueberry mixture. 
Bake until the berries are bubbling and the top is golden, 35-40 minutes. 
Serve with the remaining cream for drizzling, if desired.
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