Exotic cars

A couple of weeks ago, we took an online reservation from a gentleman named Tom, who was looking forward to showing his girlfriend the Hamptons. “Hello,” he wrote, “I will arrive with a bit of an exotic car, and am a little concerned about parking. Any reassurance you can give me?”

I followed up to see what, specifically, his concerns were. Was it the safety of his car? Whether we had on or off street parking? Clearance issues?

The latter, he wrote back. His car was very low slung and in fact had never spent a night outside a garage before. “It wouldn’t even recognize the moon,” he laughed.
We’ve had a few guests with sporty low clearance cars, but this was the first time a guest had ever thought to mention it when booking, and I was happy that he did. We have off-street parking here at A Butler’s Manor, with a driveway apron of cement and Belgian blocks leading into a bluestone gravel car park. Tom’s concern is understandable, because time, wear, and weather will take a toll on the relative smoothness of a gravel driveway. No worries, I told him, you’re in good hands here. In addition to Chris’s Mini (with a whopping 7″ of clearance), we corrected just that sort of problem last summer, and have been watching it ever since.

Last summer, Nick and Denise arrived in a gorgeous red Ferrari. They had friends who lived nearby, and spent the evening with them. But the following morning, Chris was concerned to see the Ferrari missing from the car park. Had they taken a cab home from their party? Or had something happened to the car? As soon as Nick came down, Chris asked him.

No, everything was fine, he assured us. It’s just that the car is so low slung that it sort of “bottomed out” going over the transition between apron and car park, so he’d left the Ferrari at their friends’ house, and instead drove his buddy’s car home.

Chris went out and looked at the driveway. Sure enough, rain and traffic had worn a sort of dip under the apron. That didn’t make it welcoming for the Ferrari…and as we well know, car aficionados consider their babies part of the family! Well, that would never do. Chris told him that when they came back in the afternoon to bring the Ferrari home, because that issue with the car park would be fixed. And then he got on the phone and called our neighbor, Perry Delalio, who has a gravel business. Perry sent a couple of his guys and a few yards of replacement bluestone gravel right over, and they leveled that driveway in two hours flat. (Pun intended!) And when Nick and Denise came home that afternoon, that car purred straight into the car park without a problem.

When Tom and Tomoko arrived yesterday, his sleek little baby glided over the apron just fine, and everybody was happy. And, since it was almost full last night, it’s now met the moon! Success!

So bring it on…Aston Martins, Jaguar E-types, Ferraris, and more…they’re welcome here!

Quote of the Day: The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status, or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above average drivers. —Dave Barry

Minis Rally at the Manor

The Long Island Mini Enthusiasts (LIME) annual Road Rally descended upon A Butler’s Manor like a flock of starlings yesterday…swooped in for a pit stop (cookies and lemonade in the garden), then journeyed on to lunch at the Southampton Publick House. How fun it was to see a long line of little cars all the way up the street! About 15 of the Minis pulled into our car park…and, had any of our guests arrived during their brief visit, there STILL would have been room to park! ha!
Organizer and chief photog Tom Abbe will doubtlessly be forwarding his “real” photos soon, but here are a few I took as the club arrived and enjoyed a break from their drive.
You can’t do anything about the length of your life, but you can do something about its width and depth. -H.L. Mencken
Kim Allen

Wine & Whine (of the automobile sort)

Yesterday was Attempt #2 to spring the Mini from its winter home. Two Saturdays ago, Chris discovered a whining in the wheel area of our 1961 Mini Cooper while trying to drive it back to A Butler’s Manor. So Tom Abbe, our wonderful traveling (-!!) mechanic (and incidentally, talented professional photographer), came out East to work on the wheel bearings. But alas, though he and Chris fiddled with it all afternoon, Tom decided during the final road test back to A Butler’s Manor that more fiddling is needed. So…Chris won’t be participating in the Spring Fling Mini Rally this year, but the other 27 drivers will be making a quick pit stop here on Saturday afternoon for tea and cookies. Here is one of Tom’s photos!

Last night we joined several of our fellow Hamptons innkeepers at a special tour and tasting at Wolffer Vineyards, one of the beautiful (and yummy!) wineries here on the East End. Wolffer has a weekly Twilight Thursday event which we recommend highly to guests — a lovely happy “hour” (actually, 5:00 – 7:30 PM) in their tasting room overlooking their rolling fields of grapevines. Live jazz, free cheese and crackers and the ability to buy their wines by the glass — a great way to wind down after your day. In fact, two of our guests attended, and this morning, they were planning on encouraging their daughter to check out the winery as her wedding location. Chris and I, in our previous life, moonlighted with a caterer here in the Hamptons (Brent Newsom Caterer — yummy!) so consequently did many weddings at Wolffer, and it is a divine location for weddings and parties. It was nice to catch up with several of our friends from other B and Bs before the season really gets busy.
Quote of the Day: Con pan y vino se anda el camino [With bread and wine you can walk your road]. — Spanish Proverb
Kim Allen