Beauty Beyond the Hills

Written By: Faith  de Coteau

Now, I’ve had many adventures on the Western side of Long Island, New York. Some filled with wonder, others with excitement, but most with discovery. I learnt something new about myself and the world around me during my travels, each of them going further and further West. “But what of the East?” I’ve often wondered to myself. “What lay beyond my known world?” I haven’t had an answer to these questions for a long time. Curiosity spread like the eagle’s wings, waiting to soar beyond the hills of my imagination that lay between the West and East. It’s time I let it have it’s way once more.

My summer was extremely, but not surprisingly, busy. I walked all over my hometown of Bay Shore, from the library, to the pizzeria, to my friend’s house, and back home again. I’ve lived here for six years now, but it seems as if I was born here because I have so many memories. Now that my seemingly endless summer comes to a close, I realized that there was something that I hadn’t done: travel East. I mentioned this to my father, and he agreed that my brothers and I needed to see more of our island home. So, after church one Sunday, we took a road trip to the Hamptons.

With a dropped jaw and a face pressed against the window of my dad’s car, I watched as different shades of green, brown, blue, and yellow merged together to form vast fields, sparkling lakes, and dense woods. However, this was only the beginning, I was on the highway, entering East Hampton. “If this is what it looks like on the highway,” I thought, “I can’t possibly imagine what the rest of the town looks like.”

I felt a sense of calm as we continued on the road. It was a beautiful day and I was a little tired. Add that to the paradise I saw out the window, I might as well have been in heaven. I placed my head against the window and slept soundly for exactly five minutes. “Faith,” my dad said, tapping my leg. “No sleeping now, I want you to take a look at the homes we see out the window.” I have to admit, I found this a little unfair, as my dad and I were the only ones awake in the car. My older brother was snoring louder than an Air Force Thunderbird, my younger brother was slouched against him, and my mother had reclined nicely in her seat. She looked a lot more dignified than both of my brothers. My dad handed me his phone, directed me to the Zillow app, and told me to look up the values of some of the houses. “I wonder how grand the buildings are,” I thought.

Houses does not describe the value and size of the places people call “summer homes.” Neither does grand. Both are far too simple. Major understatements. They were mansions! Before I crossed the “hills” and entered the East, I hadn’t seen a house that was worth more than 2.5 million dollars. Now I can say I’ve seen more than a dozen with the price tag of over 15 million dollars. Cha – ching!!

After receiving similar results when we arrived in Bridgehampton, my dad asked me if I was done sight-seeing. “Can we go to Gardner Island?” I asked. “You know how far away that is?” My parents looked at me like I was absurd. I might as well have been, because that would be quite the trip. My mom suggested that we should go to Shelter Island instead, and I agreed.

“Mommy, I have to use the bathroom!” My younger brother cried out. I was mildly annoyed at this; we’d taken a bathroom break a little while ago. “Hold on, we’re looking for somewhere to stop,” my mom said. We were about to board the South Ferry to Shelter Island. I was a little apprehensive at the size of it. The ferry looked extremely unsafe, like it would sink any minute from the weight of several cars and trucks. “I’m not going on that thing,” I declared to my parents. My dad laughed, and my mother rolled her eyes. “Yes you are, unless you want to swim,” my dad said, erupting into another fit of laughter. Before we had boarded, I thought there was a bridge we had to drive on in order to get to Shelter Island. On the map, it looked too close to Long Island, so it didn’t make much sense when I found out that we were taking a small ferry.

The ride to Shelter Island was quite interesting and short, only ten minutes. What with my younger brother’s cries and the noise of the ferry, I almost didn’t notice the view. The clear water reflected the gorgeous sunset in the most spectacular way. The beauty of the East had surprised me yet again with a breathtaking view of the Peconic River.

Once we were in Shelter Island, the focus had switched from going for a drive to finding a bathroom. “Ooh!” My dad said, pointing to a sign. “Ice cream.” “Yes!” I cried. I hadn’t had ice cream for some time. I was ready to get a nice, cold, creamy treat to satisfy my sweet tooth.

The ice cream shop we visited was called Whale’s Tale, and boy, did that ice cream taste good! I knew it was real ice cream because of the taste and the texture. I’d ordered the cookies and cream flavor, and my mouth watered just by looking at it. The smooth yet very cold treat melted in my mouth, leaving a pleasant aftertaste of chocolate, cream, vanilla, and real milk. “This,”I said, “is delicious.”

After my little brother had used the bathroom, and everyone had finished their ice cream, we went to the shop’s party room, which happened to have a few arcade games. My dad, older brother, and I all played a street racing game, which left everyone laughing. I am only fourteen, and I’ve never been behind the wheel of a vehicle. Why were they shocked by the fact that I kept crashing into everything? My mom was just glad that it wasn’t a real car. With all of my extreme driving skills, or lack thereof, it will always remain one of life’s greatest mysteries why I got 8th place in the race instead of last.

Overall, I had a lot of fun on my trip to the East, even if I was a little tired. I learned that the East is a great vacation spot for anyone who wants a break from the ordinary; and beyond the hills lies an even greater beauty that I never thought imaginable.