Sunday, April 28, 2024

In Orient, New York


        TD and I have been lucky to be introduced to the town of Orient, New York, on the very eastern end of the North Fork of Long Island. We've been doing some house-sitting and pet-sitting for different friends here. The area was new to us; we had not previously visited here and it has become a favorite place. Orient was founded in pre-Revolutionary War days when five families were granted land by the British throne. Members of these families still live and own land in Orient. The area is rich in history that is carefully preserved at the Oysterpond Historical Society, which has seven buildings on its bucolic campus.
      Out on the East End, the light is clear and bright, which is why artists have always been drawn to it. When driving out to Orient, the road passes over a narrow causeway with water sparkling on both sides and the houses of Orient visible in the distance over the water on the right. Driving over the narrow causeway is almost like traveling to an island and leaving the real world behind.
     The hamlet of Orient is a completely charming with one main street called Village Lane running through it. White houses with black shutters or weathered grey houses with white trim and white picket fences create a fairy tale setting. In the spring, yellow daffodils dot the front yards and big yellow forsythia bushes bloom, so the village is all green and white and yellow and grey; there are no awkward colors that jar the eye. I love being near water and Orient is surrounded by water, with the Long Island Sound to the north and Gardiner's Bay to the south. Orient Harbor laps up along the town's shore, and the Orient Yacht Club extends out onto the water on a long narrow dock. 
    The community is dedicated to historic preservation so the area has been left largely blessedly undeveloped. Farmland stretches from the Sound down to the Bay. Vernacular farm houses have large wide front porches. All the natural, undeveloped land makes it the perfect place for wildlife to thrive. Varieties of birds sing all day long -- fat robins, red cardinals, little grey sparrows, red wing black birds. Hawks soar along the coastline looking for food. I saw a hawk overhead and a big black crow flew up behind it and hit the hawk midair and chased it away. Swans paddle in the waters and geese honk as they fly by in formation. It's a challenge now to keep the bird feeders full because the birds eat the food so quickly. 
  Bunny rabbits hop across the yard. At dusk a family of deer comes out to graze. We've seen a couple plump raccoons. The whole place is like a Walt Disney movie. 
    The sea is mesmerizing to me the way it stretches out infinitely. In Orient, the shoreline curves in arcs creating graceful coves. Farmland runs down to the sea creating beautiful maritime landscapes. Orient feels to my like up-island on Martha's Vineyard, another favorite place. The calm water meets the shore in pebbly beaches. In the summertime we put on rubber water shoes to walk into the pebbly water. It's wonderful to float in the warm still water when it's hot out. 
    In the house where we are staying now, the bright sun comes though the window in the morning, bathing me in light. The orange and pink sunsets looking north of the Long Island Sound are breathtaking. At night, a silvery full moon rises over the tall black trees in the woods. Nature speaks to me; this is a spiritual place. 
    Orient is a timeless mix of rich American history and beautiful nature -- a great combination for me.

No comments: