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

Slipping into September

Maybe it was because Labor Day was so late this year, but somehow, summer slipped away and whoa, here we are already in mid-September.

When I first came to the East Coast and the seasons were still so new to me, I noticed that it was literally as though Mother Nature flipped a switch on Labor Day and put that note of Fall in the air. Certain trees, such as the horse chestnuts, have begun to drop a few leaves and nuts (to the delight of the considerable squirrel population in these parts). While the water at the beach, and especially our pool, is still swimmable, and daytime temps are mostly still in the 70’s, the evenings cool down to the point of needing a sweater.
Actually, nothing much has slowed down at A Butler’s Manor even though Labor Day is behind us, but oddly, it FEELS slower. The pace of life is more relaxed come September. A certain frantic-ness that hangs over the Hamptons in August almost like a miasma dissipates like the humidity after Labor Day. After a summer spent trying to stay off the crowded roads, all the locals breathe a collective sigh of relief and rejoin the community. Chris even went off this afternoon to attend a meeting of the Horticultural Alliance of the Hamptons, where they were giving a talk on what besides the ubiquitous mum you can plant for fall…

Truthfully, September is my favorite month. The warm days and cooler evening temps give the garden a chance to post at least one last hurrah of color before autumn really sets in. It’s a big travel month for overseas guests who are often making their first trip to the Hamptons, and because we feel a little less frantic too, we can spend more time helping them maximize their visit. It’s also a favorite time for brides, as September is a big month for weddings out here. This weekend, we had guests here from two different wedding celebrations.

Even the wildlife sense the return to a quieter time. On my early morning walk today, a deer stepped out from behind a stand of tiger grass in front of a house about 1/4 mile south of us. She and I were no more than 10 feet apart, and she skipped nimbly into the center of North Main Street (mercifully quiet on a Sunday morning), but seemed disinclined to entirely cross the street until — of course! — her tiny fawn emerged to join her. (When you see one deer, you know there is ALWAYS at least one more.) But I admit, while I watched until they had regained the other side of the street in safety, I also told them to please not visit our garden…

With everyone in the house at a wedding last night, Chris and I had a chance to wander out to Bostwick’s in East Hampton for a drink. The overcast weather hadn’t affected business much — both the bar and restaurant were doing thier usual roaring trade. Bostwick’s has always been a favorite of ours for a relaxed dinner and drinks with a bonus of a sunset view; we’ve been fans of any restaurant that owners Kevin Boles and Chris Eggert have opened since the inception of their first, Santa Fe Junction, back in 1993. Alas, this will be Bostwick’s last season at Harbor Marina, as the owners of the marina have renovations in mind. We’ll miss those sunset views, but know that Kevin and Chris’s welcoming ambiance and the friendly service of their loyal waitstaff will be present at their other two restaurants, Indian Wells Tavern in Amagansett and Cherrystones in East Hampton. I just wish they had a restaurant in Southampton!!
Quote of the Day: If all the cars in the United States were placed end to end, it would probably be Labor Day weekend. —Doug Larson