A Springs Summer By Patricia Shevlin

 

If you’re happy and you know it you probably reside in the Springs.  If you are not happy, maybe I can help you relocate. Read on.

The Springs is a hidden gem.  I’m torn about writing about it because I want to keep it to myself.  Okay, so it’s not ocean front. Once you get over that fact, you can celebrate the breadth of natural wonder that lies in the northeast corner of the town.

There is a serenity associated with all things water and water is everywhere in the Springs.  Swim, paddle, kayak, boat — or don’t.   Beaches, creeks, ponds, and bays provide the backdrop for all water sports.  Some are even visible from the road and provide calming vistas as one negotiates the many unmarked deer and antelope – I mean turkey – crossings.  A slew of marinas dot the roadside along Three Mile Harbor and where there are boats, there are often restaurants! The lure?  The possibility of a magnificent sunset, of course.

The towering trees offer shade and cool us in the heat of summer, provide homes to our singing winged neighbors and yes, act as stage for aerial antics of the squirrel community.  I recently watched stunts worthy of Barnum & Bailey, as three squirrels ascended one of my oaks, leapt distances of more than twelve feet from one tree branch to another tree with a Wallenda-like agility, descended that tree and started all over again.   The only thing missing is cotton candy!

When I first moved out to the Hamptons, I was encouraged by a friend to get back on my bicycle.  He cited the throngs of people he observed riding along the roadside on Rt.27.  I humbly suggested to him that I was not in the spandex league, a road requirement for riding on Rt. 27, and there was little likelihood that that would be changing anytime soon. Initially intimidated by deer, I eventually got on my bike and joined those on the Springs Fireplace Road as I cycled sans spandex to Gerard Park.  The stretch appears to be increasingly at risk: a slender, fragile, but spectacular, strip of land providing water views on both sides.   When you arrive at the end, you are surrounded on three sides by water.  You will spy clammers, kayakers and paddle boarders enjoying the warm calm waters of Accobonac Harbor.  Turn 90 degrees to your left and you can see Louse Point, the southern point of Accobanac. It looks like a short swim from one point to the other, but I haven’t seen anyone do it. Turn another 90 degrees and you are facing into the wind of Napeague Bay with its offshore breeze and much more challenging water and shoreline.  Exhilarating, but come with your water shoes because rocks rule here.

The silence of the weekday Springs is punctuated on weekends with runners, walkers, and bikers hugging the almost non-existent shoulders of Springs Fireplace Road as they engage their personal morning routines.  They are one with the landscape and wildlife.

I’ve heard at local art shows that the “light” is what drew and continues to draw many artists to the area.  I’m not sure whether “light” is what drew the writers, but something did as many famous authors emerged from this quiet corner of the world as well.  To live in a place that has inspired such luminaries as Jackson Pollack, Willem de Kooning, Kurt Vonnegut, John Steinbeck, and Nora Ephron is magical in itself.  As one who is writing at this moment and has taken over 1,000 photos of the area, I am thrilled to think I understand what inspired them.

Ashawagh Hall is the local venue for exhibiting artists throughout the summer.  If it’s Sunday, there’s art there.  In addition, the Hall hosts the weekly farmers’ market, where the pickles are as crisp as the apple, and the corn as sweet.  A summer tradition for almost 80 years is the annual Fisherman’s Fair, which continues to delight with rides, games, art, food and fun.  Just across the road, the Springs General Store is second home to most of us who at one time during the day find ourselves sitting in one of the porch Adirondack chairs reading the paper, downing a cool drink with a wireless device (some habits are hard to break), or running in for the forgotten quart of milk.  Last summer if you pulled in to the General Store in the late afternoon you might catch an acoustical jam session.  A short walk across the road is Pussy’s Pond, a tranquil scene sure to calm any soul: yielding to goslings as they waddle across the road following mom — just another natural stress reliever in the neighborhood.

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