One man’s trash?

Many people enjoy ogling the “summer cottages” (read: mansions) in the Hamptons, and one of the most popular way to fund-raise out here is to offer house tours that allow the rest of us to view the interior of some of these houses up close and personal. (Two such house tours coming up this summer are the Westhampton Garden Club House Tour on July 10 and St. Ann’s Episcopal Church House Tour on August 2.)

Sometimes you might not be able to tour the estates, but you can own something that used to live on one. There are a couple of annual sales that highlight exactly this, namely Parrish Presents in late November that benefits the Parrish Art Museum, and the Decorators/ Designers/ Dealers Sale in June that benefits the Southampton Fresh Air Home. There are also a number of cool thrift or consignment shops here in the Hamptons, some of which we highlight on our suggested itinerary. Much of the merchandise, especially in the benefit shops such as LVIS (Ladies Village Improvement Society), ARF (Animal Rescue Fund) and the Southampton Hospital Thrift Shop is especially fine. The reason? When the wealthy summer population of Southampton and East Hampton clean out their closets or redecorate their homes, they don’t post a curb alert on Craig’s List. They tell their staff to donate the stuff or get rid of it.

Chris and I have found literally hundreds of our treasures at A Butler’s Manor through such resources.

One of the perks of Chris’s former profession as a butler are his connections with others who serve or otherwise service the estate district (i.e., contractors, landscape designers). More than once, he’s gotten a head’s up over stuff being discarded from someone’s mansion or the grounds surrounding them. (Just ask him about the various trees and shrubs that he’s rescued when various people decide to re-landscape!) Recently we scored a windfall when one of our friends, the estate manager for a large property here, was asked to broker the sale of some garden statuary since his principal was redesigning her landscape. Here are two of the three “girls” –full-sized bronze statues, signed and numbered –who now grace our garden! From the same estate, a set of four musical cherubs on plinths, a little more classical in style, will also find a new home at A Butler’s Manor, as soon as we can figure our where they will live.

Another recent find was due to the sharp eyes of my friend Joyce, who volunteers at LVIS in East Hampton. Joyce spotted a gorgeous roll of upholstery fabric that had been donated that is going to be perfect for our dining room chairs later this summer! I’ve found great vases at Elsa’s Ark Thrift Shop in Southampton, and cool clothes at Around Again, on Long Wharf in Sag Harbor. Colette Consignments, in Southampton and Sag Harbor, features designer clothes, shoes and accessories.  And when they say “gently used,” they mean it. I’ve seen dresses in the shop with the original price tags still attached. I guess their original owners decided to wear something else to the benefit.

Chris and I figure we’re doing our part to go green and keep excess stuff out of our landfills. It’s a very satisfying way to reduce-reuse-recycle!

Quote of the Day: We are not to throw away those things which can benefit our neighbor. Goods are called good because they can be used for good: they are instruments for good, in the hands of those who use them properly. — Clement of Alexandria

 

Columbus Day Weekend

It was a very international breakfast table today. Joining us this weekend: a family from Paris, a couple from India, a couple from Canada, and a relatively local couple from Westchester County.  Breakfast conversation literally spanned the globe! (The Southwest Souffle added yet another international dimension. ;))

We’ve had a very international month, actually. This past week we enjoyed meeting our very first visitors from Thailand, followed by a lovely mother and daughter from Australia. Later this month. we’ll host a series of guests from England.

There is much to do this holiday weekend: there is a Harvest Festival in Southampton, with a sidewalk sale, hayrides, a soup contest between a number of the village restaurants, delis, and caterers. Those who love the movies will enjoy the Hampton International Film Festival, which this year has venues here in Southampton as well as East Hampton. A very popular option and show stopper (literally, a traffic jam) is Pumpkintown, a seasonal park of slides, cool things to climb on, corn maze and good old pumpkin picking, located right on the highway near Watermill.

Shops, highways, and farmstands were all very busy on this perfect Autumn day. Temps were in the mid 60’s, with clear skies and a slight breeze. Just the weather our dog Truffle most loved.

Truff’s been gone just about a year now, and we are still missing her. So I headed over to ARF (Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons, where we adopted her 14 years ago now) to get a puppy-love fix by walking some of the adoptable dogs through their lovely woodland trails, kicking through the fallen oak leaves of autumns gone by. We’re not ready to replace Truff yet, but when we do, there is no more laudable shelter than ARF…truly, a home away from home. The shelter holds an ARFan reunion each year, and when we’d bring Truffle back, she’d bound out of the car, run straight for the front door, wagging and grinning, eager to greet the volunteers…no unhappy associations for her!

Tonight we’re heading up to Bostwick’s for their closing night…the end of fifteen years on Harbor Marina in East Hampton. It will be a bittersweet night. We’ll enjoy owners Kevin Boles and Chris Eggert’s other two restaurants, Indian Wells Tavern and Cherrystones, but will miss that great sunset view over the water on summer eves…

Ah well…Onwards, Autumn!

Quote of the Day:  It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life. —P.D. James