By Carolyn Brown
We really knew that we were “water people” when my husband’s company was making a move toDallas. He had been with them for 23 years right out of college. We deliberated for a couple of months and still weren’t sure what to do. Then one day, while sitting on the sand down by the ocean atJonesBeach, watching the waves ebbing and flowing, we just knew. There was no way we could live inDallas.
I don’t know why it took us so long to make that decision. When Jim’s father immigrated to theUSAfromIrelandin 1929 (not great timing), he came to a job at Lynch’sGardeningCenterinSouthampton. He worked on estates in theHamptons, and spent his spare time at the ocean beach. Growing up inQueens, both my husband’s family and mine spent summer days at the beach, be it Far Rockaway,Long BeachorJonesBeach. Jim’s sister and her husband had bought a house inSouthamptonVillagea short work or bike ride to Coopers Beach. Jim’s brother early on had bought a house nearMeschuttBeach. Also, Jim and I spent a week to ten days in Hampton Bays every summer while our children were growing up. We did this for at least 20 years. For our vacation every year, we always towed our boat and fished inShinnecocokBayor in the ocean. (Our dermatologist is making a fortune from our early love of the beach.) This love of the water was very ingrained.
Jim found a new career in the New York Area where we could continue our enjoyment of the beaches ofLong Island. So I shouldn’t have been surprised a few years before we would be retiring, that my husband found a listing in The Fisherman” for an interesting house and wanted to just take a look. I was not ready for a second home; I had plans to see the world. I knew with a second home an hour and a half from Bayside, we would be spending every weekend and every vacation at that house. This would have been fine with me in a few years; I love The Hamptons. However, my brother-in-law and sister-in-law had a lovely house in Hampton Bays and were generous with their invitations to visit them often. And the bonus is that we really love and enjoy them.
Well it was one of those weekends at their house, that Jim casually said, “Why don’t we just take a look at that house I’ve been mentioning for months.” And I said, “You mean the one I don’t want to see?” We drove to Shinnecock Hills to a pond we had somehow never heard of in all our years of coming to theEast End. I said this house is way bigger than I would want. I’ve always pictured a little house on a quiet country road.
We went into the house while I was saying all these negative things. “We don’t need five bedrooms. I don’t like houses that have a staircase as soon as you enter. This has way too much property to take care of. Blah, blah, blah.” We walked to the sliding doors to get to the back deck and went outside. I looked for a couple of minutes at the breathtaking view and said, “If we can afford this place, we should buy it right now.” My husband was in shock; this was just a look/see. The house was on Cold Spring Pond. It was very wooded but at the same time the view was spectacular. There were egrets, swans and a blue heron. If you looked to the left, you could see Cold Spring Point andPeconicBay. I said that there are not too many places left anywhere in the world as beautiful as this.
Well, of course, we bought the house. We do manage to see other places in the world for a vacation every other year. But we spend an enormous amount of time on our back deck or down by the pond taking in the extraordinary feeling of “Windy Cove” the name of our domain. We have a flotilla of rowboat, kayak, small sailboat, windsurfers, paddleboards, even a rowing shell that we and our children and grandchildren enjoy. There are clammers pretty much every season of the year. One of the first weekends one of our three daughters and her husband were out, our son-in-law remarked, “Yeah, this was a good idea.” Fourteen years later, Jim and I say this regularly. He never says, “I told you so.” I’m keeping him and the house.