Sunday, September 18, 2011

St. John's Church, Cold Spring Harbor, LI, NY

Welcome to Greenleaf, Indiana, folks.  Yes, I know what it says on top, but this is the church that hosted the ill-fated wedding of Howard Brackett (Kevin Kline) and Emily Montgomery (Joan Cusack) in the film "In and Out."  Only the exterior was filmed here at St. John's Church and I will include the clip from the film in my links below.  The opening scene from the movie was filmed in the neighboring town of Northport.

According to the Church's website, most of the property that St. John's stands on was once the estate of John Jones.  At his death, two members of the family Joshua L. Jones and Charles H. Jones donated this land instead of money.  At the same time, however, members of the same family, fifteen to be exact, voted and raised two thousand dollars to build this church on September 4, 1831.

The architect was Smith Sammis and construction began in 1835.  The building was consecrated on April 5, 1837 by the Reverend Benjamin Treadwell Onderdonk.

As the church expanded, more land was needed and was gladly given by the Jones family.  St. John's Memorial Cemetery, one miles to the west  on Route 25A in Laurel Hollow, was deeded to the church in 1862.   It is a beautiful cemetery designed by the Olmstead Brothers. Many famous people are buried there, including the philanthropist Otto H. Kahn, former owner of Oheka Castle.  Be sure to check out my blog on Oheka Castle for more information.

If you want to check out the Jones' family cemetery, it's opposite the church, but you'll have to walk uphill. It's crumbling, but it's interesting to see.  All of Long Island's prominent families are buried here:  Hewletts, Seamans, Youngs  and of course, Jones. 

The rectory was built when the last surviving Jones' sisters donated their 1698 home to the church.  When the church couldn't afford to buy the pond in the 1930's, the Jones family offered to put up most of the money.  The church was able to buy the rest.

The church has survived 170 years and its congregation includes 400 families and there is not a Jones among them.  It's a lovely church and looks like it belongs in New England rather than on Long Island.  There is a fish hatchery next door and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory across the street. 

Here are the links:

Official site of St. John's Church in Cold Spring Harbor.  A more detailed history can be found under About.  There you will find a pull down menu.  This is the site that I got my information from.
Scene from "In and Out" showing St. John's Church

 Cold Spring Harbor Labs

Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery

Here is a link to the St. John's Memorial Cemetery in Laurel Hollow, LI, NY. Explains the history

Link to Oheka Castle:

Monday, September 5, 2011

Coindre Hall, Huntington, LI, NY


This is Coindre Hall, originally built for pharmaceutical magnate George McKesson Brown in 1912.  Originally known as West Neck Farm, it was built to resemble a medieval French chateau.  This 40 room mansion sits on 34 acres of land and overlooks Long Island Sound opposite Huntington Harbor.  Susan and Rob often passed the boathouse, which sits at the bottom of the hill.  They always wondered if the mansion still existed.

When Brown lost ownership due to the stock market crash of 1929, the property was sold to the Brothers of the Sacred Heart who established a boarding school and summer retreat in 1939.  It was named in memory of Father Andre Coindre, their founder. 
The boathouse and Huntington Harbor
After the school's closing in 1971, it reopened as the Eagle Hill School, a private independent school.

It has been part of the Suffolk County Department of Parks since 1973 and its 34 acres is currently used as a dog run and hotel.  

As of September, 1985, Coindre Hall has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  Weddings and private events are also held here.  Mirabelle Private Events was kind enough to let us come in to shoot some of the renovated rooms of the mansion, which I will share with you.

Here are some links
Wikipedia article
Lessings. Another group that does weddings at Coindre Hall.
An article from a student who attended the school in the 60's:

Bring Fido. Dog run at Coindre Hall
Brief history of Coindre Hall/West Neck Farm - Suffolk County site

Mirabelle Private Events:

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park, Princeton, NJ

Here I am on the towpath at Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park.  Built to safely transport freight from Philadelphia to New York, only 36 miles of the main canal and 22 miles of feeder canal still exist.  You can see it in back of me. By the way, feeder canals were used to supply water to the main canal.  

The stopping points for the canal were the towns of Bordentown situated along the Delaware River and New Brunswick located on the Raritan River.  

Construction began on the D & R Canal in 1830 and was completed in 1834. Canal boats and mules were used until steam boats took over in 1843.  80% of Pennsylvania coal began its journey down the canal between 1860 and 1870, when navigation up and down the canal was at its busiest.   Also around this period of time, construction began on a railroad route across central New Jersey.

To avoid competition between the canal and the railroad, the two companies merged and formed "The Joint Companies" in 1831.

But the speed of the railroad overpowered the slow moving steam tugboats and the canal route began to decline.  1892 was its last year of operation, but remained open through the 1932 shipping season.    After the D & R Canal closed for good, the State of New Jersey took over. Today it is used as a water supply system. 

In 1973, the canal and its buildings were added to the National Register of Historic Places.  The following year over 60 miles of the canal were made into a state park.  

Much of my information for the Delaware and Raritan Canal comes from their official website at the link below.  I'm linking you to some historic pictures of the canal.  It's a great site and I urge all of you to visit.

New Jersey State site for the D & R Canal:

Wikipedia article:

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Shelter Rock, Border of North Hills and Manhasset, LI, NY

Here I am at Shelter Rock, another glacial erratic like Madison Boulder in New Hampshire, although this one is right here on Long Island.

Located ten feet away from Shelter Rock Road, this rock is 1800 tons and has a 30 foot overhang.   It is 55 feet high and 35 feet wide.  It was deposited here from 20,000 to 11,000 years ago.  It is the largest boulder on Long Island and it might just be the largest in New York State. 

Several legends surround this boulder, first known as Milestone Rock, also known as Manhasset Rock.  The Matinecocks had a settlement nearby and there is one tale of a young soldier who ran away with a beautiful Indian maid, but was pierced with arrows before he could reach the protection of Shelter Rock. Cowkeepers would often use the overhang as protection against the rain, while the cattle grazed over the pastureland.

Supposedly, there is buried treasure on this site as well, although the treasure was never found. Another tale has the Matinecocks taking shelter during their hunts.    

The southeast side of the boulder was excavated between April 26 and May 5, 1946 by Carlyle S. Smith and Ralph Solecki, both of the American Museum of Natural History.  There were numerous artifacts found there including Native American pottery shards, projectile points, stone knife blades, remains of marine shells and broken animal bones.  

Shelter Rock is located on the property of Greentree, the former Whitney estate and the top is visible from the road. It is not readily accessible to the public, however tours are arranged to accommodate scouts, school and other small groups from time to time.  

I am including these links below:

Wikipedia article:

Article from the Suffolk Gem and Mineral Club where I borrowed most of the information from.

Another glacial erratic Madison Boulder, Madison, NH

Sunday, July 24, 2011

American Airpower Museum, Farmingdale, LI, NY

This is the American Airpower Museum, dedicated solely to the aircraft and vehicles used in WWII and later years.

They are located in Farmingdale, in one of the hangers on the former site of Republic Aviation, once one of the largest employers on Long Island. Check out my blog for more information on Republic Aviation, also known as Fairchild Republic.   It was at this complex that over 9,000 P-47 Thunderbolts were produced.  The link to my entry will be included along with the other links at the bottom of this page.

I'm sitting at the cockpit of Teacher's Pet, a full scale replica of a WWII bomber complete with machine guns positions, bombardier, radio and pilot positions.  You actually get to walk through and experience what being on a bomber is like.  With video enhancements and accompanying text, makes this exhibit worthwhile.  This is designed for younger people in order to  bridge the gap between them and their grandparents who fought during WWII.  

The museum is chock full of information regarding World War II and has an extensive collection of operational aircrafts.  Volunteers like Al Roessler, who braved the 100 degree heat to show us around, make it possible for this museum to exist.

There were lots of planes were on exhibit outside, but this gives you some idea of what is here and how big their collection is.  Many of these planes are operational and air shows during the holidays are interesting and informative, always attracting a large crowd.  This is made possible by state grants and corporate underwriting. Shelt-Air and Republic Airport management team also support the museum by keeping the collection operational
 In 2008, the American Airpower Museum was in danger of being demolished by the Federal Aviation Administration, along with another hanger, in order to meet new runway standards.
At one point, after ongoing negotiations, the FAA discovered that it did not have the authority to demolish the hangers and it was decided to dismantle the museum and move it to a more appropriate spot.
This is a great victory not only for the museum, but for thousands of visitors to learn more about WWII aircraft and understand the role it played in preserving our freedom and democracy of the United States.

On our first visit, we were impressed with the museum's collection and with the amount of information contained within its walls.  On our second visit yesterday, we once again spent close to three hours with our tour guide whose enthusiasm and extensive knowledge helped us learn much more than we had from our first visit.

Several movies and tv shows have been filmed here, more recently the new show "Pan Am" where a replica of an old Pan American airplane was used as a prop.  Susan saw two scenes from the show being filmed here and saw as the team cleaned and painted the plane to get it ready for filming. One side said "Pan Am", the other side announced to the public to "Fly Eastern Airlines."  Watch for it in the new fall lineup.

Me on a Sherman tank.

B61 Hydrogen Bomb
Here are some links:

The official site of the American Airpower Museum. Check out this very informative site.  It gives more details and provides photos and information on their extensive collection of WWII airplanes and vehicles.

Link to an earlier Clyde's Guides blog entry on Fairchild Republic and Republic Aviation.
Article on the saving of the American  Airpower Museum

Wikipedia article

New fall show on ABC "Pan Am"

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Hidden Vineyard, Calverton, LI, NY

I'm at the Hidden Vineyard enjoying a glass of the best chardonnay I've ever had and the best thing about it is that it has no preservatives, no additives and no sulfites at all.  There is no stainless steel involved here, as other vineyards have used; everything made of wood which gives the better and truer taste.

This is all thanks to Peter, the owner, who still uses his family recipe which has been handed down from generation to generation.

The Hidden Vineyard was founded in 2002 by the DiBernardi family, who are originally from a small island off the coast of Sardinia, Italy.  Peter's father taught him to make wine as did his grandfather taught his father. He is new to growing grapes though, but seems to be doing a fine job with his fairly large vineyard right across from the wine tasting booth.

 There are six wines to sample, each served in a cold, frosty glass. The three white wines include a Chardonnay, a Riesling and a Pino Grigio.  The three red wines include a Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and a Cabernet Sauvignon.  They are all served from the two casks behind me.   Buying a bottle is simple and easy.   The bottles are filled right in front of you and you can get a custom made label.

The Hidden Vineyard does wine tasting from Friday to Sunday from 11 am to 7 pm.  Entertainment is provided by Andy Lepak a multi-talented singer who plays drums, electric piano and guitar.  

Peter and any of the other servers are friendly and helpful and will answer any and all of your questions.  They make you feel at home.  Bring your own cheese and crackers and enjoy a bottle of wine as you listen to great music under the tent.  This is truly a hidden gem and one vineyard not to be missed.

The Hidden Vineyard official site:

Andy Lepak's official site.  There are links to his Facebook page. 

Monday, July 4, 2011

William Floyd Estate, Mastic Beach, LI, NY

Since it is July 4th, I wanted to share our trip to William Floyd Estate, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.  We toured the  house on Memorial Day of this year.  Although Rob and Susan had gone through the house years ago, there is always something new to see on each visit.

Originally from Wales, the Floyd family sailed to the New World around 1650.  After settling in Setauket, LI in the 1680's, Richard Floyd II purchased 4,400 acres from the prominent Long Island Smith family in 1718.  Since that time, the estate has been passed down through eight generations of the Floyd family.  It was donated to the National Park Service in 1976.

It was called the Old Mastic House when the family lived here.  Starting off as a 6 room colonial, it has changed and expanded over the years to accommodate a growing family.  Today, there are 25 rooms. 

Originally a plantation in colonial times, the property includes twelve outbuildings, the family cemetery and 613 acres of forest, fields, marsh and many nature trails.  As the years passed, the Floyd family became more involved business and politics and the estate soon became just a summer home and used for hunting and fishing when in season.
The Floyd family cemetery still in use today
The house has not been altered and is shown exactly how the family left it in 1976. The Park Service believes that it is a unique cultural preservation and not a restoration.  When you tour the house, you will see a family that has made their home here for over 250 years.  It is truly impressive to see how each room has changed with the times.  You might notice a piece of furniture from the 1700's and another from the 1960's next to one another.  There are electric lamps and updated kitchens and a few doors down will see the original colonial kitchen. It is truly something to experience.  
The expansive "Vista View" clear to the marshes

Since it is a more a preservation, there is no photography allowed inside the house, but I have found some pictures from our local paper that I will include a link to. The property is still maintained as if they family still lived on the property.

Here are some links:

In answer to two comments about where William Floyd is actually buried, here is the link to explain.  Yes, he is buried in Westernville, NY.  The gravestone in the family cemetery was moved from Westernville to Long Island when the original stone was replaced.  The link is below:

Official site of the William Floyd Estate

More on the history of  William Floyd:

 Newsday article.  Some pics of the inside of the estate

Article about Westernville couple restoring General Floyd's home in Westernville, NY.  This is where he moved to later on and left the Mastic house to his son.

Gravestone of William Floyd

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Cloisters, Fort Tryon Park, New York, New York

After an absence of over ten years, Susan, Rob and I decided to take a trip out to the Cloisters Museum in New York.   They explained that there were several changes and several exhibits that were formerly closed were now open.

The museum, which is actually part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, contains a mixture of art and architecture from medieval Europe. The galleries are all in chronological order and covers periods from AD 1000 to 1150 and 1200 (the Romanesque period) and continuing with 1150 into the 1520's (Gothic period).

The Cloisters was created by John D. Rockefeller Jr. and first opened in 1938. Many of the exhibits and galleries were made possible by the acquisition of the George Gray Barnard collection, an American sculptor.  Many of these medieval sculptures and artworks that Mr. Barnard purchased were part of properties from French farmers and local magistrates that had been abandoned after the French Revolution.   The exhibits and galleries grew and expanded into what you see here today which include paintings, sculptures, tapestries, ceramics, enamels, stained glass and metalwork.

Here I am in the Cuxa Cloister from a Benedictine monastery, Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa from Twelfth century France. We then made our way over to the  Fuentiduena Chapel, which had always been closed off when Susan and Rob visited there.  Rob's favorite room is the twelfth century Chapter House from a Benedictine abbey from Gascony.  We have lots of pics and I will put up as many as I can.

Fuentiduena Chapel

Housed here are also the famous Unicorn Tapestries which depicts the hunt and eventual capture of the mythical unicorn.  According to the brochure, it was woven in Brussels around 1500.

The Unicorn in Captivity, part of the Unicorn Tapestries

There is much to see and do here and it is open any time of the year. Hours vary from season to season and is closed on Mondays, New Year's Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  As The Cloisters is part of the Met, you can also visit that museum after your visit here.  The entrance to the Metropolitan Museum of Art is located on 82nd Street on Fifth Avenue. If you've never been (or have and want to check out newer exhibits), then this would be a great time to see both museums for the price of one.

Both museums are easy accessible by car, bus or subway and are worth the trip.

The Saint-Guilhem Cloister

The Bonnefont Cloister which contains a herb garden
The Trie Cloister, which is now a cafe
The Chapter House, Rob's favorite part of the museum

Here is the official site link to The Cloisters which should explain more about the exhibits and about the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  It's a very informative site and also includes the floor plan to the Cloisters.

Beautiful view of the Palisades and Hudson River from the West Terrace

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bayside Clam Bar and Grill, East Islip, LI, NY

This is the newly renovated Bayside Clam Bar and Grill, formerly known as the Bayview Clam Shack.  We discovered the Bayview Clam Shack two years ago. but the eatery was open only from Memorial Day to Columbus Day.  They had great lobster salads and rolls that Susan loved. Rob's favorite was always the Mussels Bianca.

After Memorial Day, Rob and Susan eagerly awaited the reopening of this great place. Well, it turns out that the Clam Shack had been renovated and is now under new management.  The Bayview Clam Shack had opened under a brand new name, the Bayside Clam Bar and Grill and had just opened two short weeks ago.  
 The new owners, James and Dave treated us warmly and showed us around as if we were old friends.  They were eager to show off the refinements they made to the place like the new outdoor deck and the lovely new bathrooms. The outdoor deck now had wood planking and is all one level instead of two.  The inside of the restaurant has been completely done over and can sit 30 people, rain or shine. They are awaiting a new menu, which, they have assured us, will arrive in two weeks.  

The new deck and gazebo
But in the meantime, the food was great and the new clam bar and grill has kept the same prices.  Kate was our server for the evening and we had no problems; everything came on time.   Rob had some delicious conch fritters and Susan had great turkey reuben that couldn't be beat.

Everything just blended together, the weather was beautiful and a cool breeze blew from in from the Great South Bay.  It was so clear that you could see Fire Island across the water.  To compliment our meal, we heard a great band called Stoneage.

Stoneage playing under the gazebo on the new deck
  We weren't disappointed and are looking forward to many more summer nights (and hopefully fall and winter as well) to eat at the brand new Bayside Clam Bar and Grill in East Islip located inside the Marina.  Can't wait to see the new menu. If you're in the neighborhood stop by. You'll be glad you did.

I can tell you that there is a new Facebook page for the Bayside Clam Bar and Grill.

update:  7/4/11

The new menu has come in and the locals are in for a real treat.  We tried the desserts tonight.  Susan had a New York style cheesecake and Rob had a peach pie with chocolate ice cream.  All homemade by family and friends. 

Some of the offerings on the new menu include Pan Sauteed Hawaiian Sunfish, Grilled Honey Mustard Breast of Chicken, 3 Dog Knight (3 hot dogs covered in sauerkraut, chili cheese and one topped with onions), 14 ounce shell steak, one pound Atlantic lobster, Sweet and Sour Shrimp Stir Fry,  Cocoanut Crusted Shrimp, Traditional Fish and Chips and an 8 ounce Angus beef burger that is to die for.  There are also salads and some great starters with little necks and oysters on the half shell, bacon wrapped shrimp, jalapeno chedder poppers, steamed clams and delicious conch fritters.

Rob and Susan also shared the twin lobster rolls and substituted wild rice for fries.  All brought to you by Chef Lou, Dave's brother in law.  Our server was Dave's daughter, Mara. 

The Bayside Clam Bar and Grill is also open at 7 for breakfast.  Go and enjoy.    

Kinda dark but you can see the new tables that have been set up
 This is James, one of the new owners