A summer of friends

What’s better than a busy summer? A busy summer filled with repeat guests…and many more we hope will become repeat guests. Looking over the calendar over the past six or so weeks, I see that we have had a steady stream of visitors who have called A Butler’s Manor their home in the Hamptons at least once before. While we are continually energized by welcoming new guests (and meeting new friends!), there is a special kind of warmth created by those who choose to join us more than once.

This week, we have visiting again from Louisville, KY the sculptor Dave Caudill, who is picking up some pieces recently featured in the garden at the Chrysalis Gallery here in Southampton. We met Dave and his wife JoAnn several years ago when he was showing at a gallery on western Long Island and decided to venture east to the Hamptons. We loved Dave’s graceful stainless steel artwork so much after his first visit several years ago that we now feature two pieces in our garden. Here’s Dave (on the right with JoAnn), his brother Ed and sister in law Kitty in front of Garden Song.

Rain threatened during breakfast the other morning, so we set for breakfast inside. It turned out especially nice because everyone enjoyed chatting together, and lingered quite a while after the meal had been cleared. As I looked round the table, I realized that of the group, two separate couples were repeat guests — one from last year, another from last month! — and another couple had been referred to us by their daughter who had stayed with us earlier this summer. Sweet!

No rain today, though…the weather has been perfect for our beachgoing guests. The long, hot season has definitely taken a toll on the plant life in the area, though. I notice on my walks that the plane trees at the end of South Main Street here in Southampton are already begining to drop their leaves. More remarkable is that the beach rose (rosa rugosa) that grows along the dunes, and which usually produces its cherry-tomato-like rose hips about now, instead began producing hips beginning the end of June!!

Alas, one repeat guest I’ll miss this year is our junior equestrian Zach, of whom I wrote last year. Zach is starting college this year, and freshman orientation is scheduled for precisely the same week of the Hampton Classic Horse Show. Life does move on! We wish him all the best in his collegiate life, but hope we see him next year!

To old friends and new, the best of August to you!

Quote of the Day: August creates as she slumbers, replete and satisfied.– Joseph Wood Krutch


A common question from telephoners seeking accommodations in the Hamptons is “Where can I find an oceanfront resort?” For those who aren’t familiar with the area (or whose idea of the Hamptons is influenced by the TV show Royal Pains), it seems logical that somewhere considered so glamorous should have restaurants, hotels and condos lining the ocean, Miami-style. I spend a lot of time giving such callers a history lesson of how the South Fork was developed, beyond its farming origins (which date back to the mid 1600s). The area now known as the Hamptons grew as a retreat for the Manhattan’s wealthy, and as such, we now have “summer cottages” (read: mansions) lining the beach…not condos, and not hotels.

Of course, the presence of the wealthy means there is a large service class that serves them. (Chris, of course, has literal experience in this realm, as it was his butler profession that brought us to the Hamptons in the first place.) I tell guests that they can spend many a pleasant hour walking or cycling down the streets in the estate district, and the only people they are likely to see are the landscapers that maintain Hedgeville. But in the presence of so much, it sometimes comes as a shock to know that there are those who have very little out here, too. And I was reminded of this forcibly the other day.

A few times during my morning walks (from A Butler’s Manor through the estate district down to the beach), I have seen an older man on a small Motocross-type bicycle who pulls a wheeled plastic trash can behind him. Yesterday, after dropping guests at Cooper’s Beach, I finally saw why: He stops at all the trash cans that stand at the resident-permit beach entrances and sorts through the trash, pulling out recyclable bottles and cans. Seeing him wordlessly sifting through the detritus of someone else’s languid day at the beach, with the profile of a large shingled estate in the background, really brought it home that, visible or not, more than the wealthy call the Hamptons home.

Quote of the Day: Happiness is not having what you want. It is wanting what you have. — Rabbi Hyman Schachtel

P.S. If you watch Royal Pains, that big castle in the opening credits? It’s Oheka Castle…in Huntington, Long Island (about one hour west of us). NOT in the Hamptons. Don’t believe everything you see on TV!