“More wonderful than the lore of old men and the lore of books is the secret lore of ocean.” -HP Lovecraft
Imagine traversing a winding wooded road. The sun peeks through occasionally. You pass a country store or two, a restaurant and gas station. You don’t stop because a special destination waits. A jewel tucked away, hidden amond the Oak, Dogwood and Maple giants. You continue on, breathing in the sweet scents of lush vegetation mixed with a hint of salt air. You notice colorful Lady Slippers peeking out from the brush on the forest floor near the roadside. You are positive you heard the cries of a seagull imploring you to maintain your course. Finally, you approach a break in the tree line. you are unable to see it yet, however you are quite certain it is a clearing, and as you progress the road brightens ahead.
You move closer to the divide separating the brilliant sunshine and azure sky from the cool shady canopy through which you have patiently been voyaging. A warm breeze greets you and announces you have arrived.
Strong Sycamores and proudly flown American flags line the main street of the beautiful old whaling port of Sag Harbor. Welcoming park benches and lamp posts remind you to stay a while and enjoy the relaxing mise en scène.
The robust aroma of fresh brewing coffee offers itself to anyone strolling along. Galleries such as Tulla Booth and Romany Kramoris, play peek-a-boo with passer-byes in the hopes of luring curious eyes in for a closer view.
The serious shopper may find themselves wandering toward boutiques like Satori, Jill’s or Around Again, looking for that ideal purchase. Since Sag Harbor is the home to many notable writers it could not possibly do without a bookstore or two or three, all located on Main Street. Children should not feel left out; there are plenty of shops catering to the young at heart, no matter how old they may physically be. Kites of the Harbor, offers an astounding collection of flying novelties and other such whimsical delights. “A classic 5 and 10” boasts the Sag Harbor Variety Store. If you think of it, they probably have it! Fishers Home Furnishings and Sylvester & Company Modern General, both provide a vast array of furnishings for those who would like to bring a little Sag Harbor style to their home.
All this running about, could work up the appetite of any seasoned adventurer. Accustomed to keeping sailers and landlubbers alike well fed and rested, Sag Harbor has no shortage of delectable eateries ranging from exquisite high-end cuisine to the everday fulfilling juicy burger and fries.
For lunch, maybe a warm smoked turkey and Brie panini from the Golden Pear Cafe on Main Street would hit the spot. Espresso, beckons you with homeade focaccia bread and old-world style pizza. The casual diner can steer themselves to The Dock House for some waterfront dining and delicious seafood.
For more formal dining, you might dress and head for your reservation at the American Hotel, which possesses a more than 10,000 bottle wine cellar. Perhaps you end up popping into Sen, which held the highest Zagat rating in the Hamptons for a Japanese restaurant and sushi bar. Is a romantic evening in order? What better atmosphere than an intimate setting at Tutto II Giorno, Italian cuisine, reminiscent of the old world.
After such meals, you may feel like walking it off. Taking a tour of the artists studios is a perfect fit. If something a little wetter is called for, you might try renting a kayak and paddle around Sag Harbor Cove.
There is plenty for the history buff to learn. Sag Harbor is the site of Meigs’ Expedition, a magnificient Revolutionary War success for the rebels of Long Island. General George Washington himself congratulated the Lieutenant Col. Meigs.
The Old Whalers Church was a landmark for many Captains and claimed to be the highest structure on Long Island when it was erected in 1843. The steeple alone stood 185 feet tall. Unfortunately, the Long Island Express, or also known as the Great Hurricane of 1938, destroyed the massive structure. The church had plans to restore the once towering feature of the Long Island landscape, but remains absent to this day.
Old Whalers Church
Literary greatness has befallen the nestled village of Sag Harbor. Herman Melville mentions the Harbor of Sagg in about four different chapters in his most famous book, Moby Dick. Melville is in staggering company. Authors such as John Steinbeck and James Fenimore Cooper as well as Truman Capote are all noted on the Village’s literary register. We cannot leave out one of today’s greatest writers, E.L. Doctorow, who still owned a home in Sag Harbor until his death in 2015, his former home sold for $2.5 million.
Let the calm surf relax you and beg you to stay in this snug harbor. As a final thought on Sag Harbor I leave the words of H.P. Lovecraft and the spirit of an old whaling port, “…But more wonderful than the lore of old men and the lore of books is the secret lore of ocean.”
(more to come on the rich history of Sag Harbor)
Hannibal French House
By CaptJayRuffins – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=94330636
Credit for Feature Photo- By Doug Kerr from Albany, New York, United States – Sag Harbor, New York, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12478416