One of the great drives in the US, and a delightful route to a flower show, is from New London CT to East Hampton NY. Take the Cross Sound Ferry out of New London CT (reserve ahead) for Orient Point on the North Fork of Long Island.
It is a delightful hour and a half sail over to Long Island. Many Long Island gamblers use the ferry for a quick route to the casinso at Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun. Out of the maw of the ferry at Orient Point.
After landing, it is ten minutes past salt marshes, dotted with cormorant nesting boxes and glimpses of small villages. Greenport, NY, a former whaling town, boasts a sweet 1920’s carousel still in working order. Here also is the last station of the Long Island Railroad is the North Fork Ferry Co where a tiny ferry carries cars and people over to Shelter Island. Shelter Island is the un-Hampton, still very verdant and rural. It sits in a bay between the two forks of Long Island and is only accessible by water. All of this part of Long Island has a real New England look and feel.
The ferries on-and-off Shelter Island are small and open. No sooner do you push off than you are almost at the other shore. Both rides are less than ten minutes. Traveling across Shelter Island, I always long for more time to explore off of R114 – each turning is inviting. Above are the piers of the South Fork Ferry as the ferry leaves for Sag Harbor.
Main Street in Sag Harbor still has many older buildings lending it a lot of colonial charm. This photo belies the bustling activity in summer. I just waited between cars but didn’t realize there were no people either!! To the left is the quintessential American Hotel, dating from 1846, when Sag Harbor was a center of the whaling industry.
From Sag Harbor to East Hampton is 7 miles, on R114, a lovely rural road which lands right by the East Hampton town green with its famous pond and cemetery, surely one of the most beautiful in America. Round Swamp Farm on Three Harbor Road sells beautiful produce and really yummy baked goods.
Has there ever been a nicer way to get to a flower show? The GC of East Hampton is celebrating their Centennial this year. “Its about Time –“, their flower show was held in the grounds of historic Mulford Farm, with the floral design and botanical arts divisions in a large tent and the handsome old barn displaying horticulture, photography and conservation.
The many members of the artist colony that flourished in East Hampton were the inspiration for “Timeless, a design inspired by an abstract artist who lived in East Hampton”. This design of kiwi vines, some painted, some not, and croton leaves handsomely evokes the exciting energy of abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock. This won Best in Show and the prestigious GCA Harriet deWaele Puckett Creativity Award.
The winner of the Novice class, “Local Time, a design using predominantly native plant material”, incorporated the bright red-orange of Crocosmia and the warmer softer orange of Asclepias to fashion her first prize winning design.
“Sweet Dreams”, the miniature designs (not more than 5” in any dimension) were set in 8” square lighted niches. This designed used a lovely subtle background of falling stars to complement the gray painted niche. This won first prize and the GCEH Helen Hurley Spencer Prize for an outstanding novice.
The judges commended all the exhibitors in “Summer Daze” a design featuring dahlias” for their creativity in working with a beautiful but challenging dahlias. This first place winner used a dramatic green and orange color scheme. The globe-like structure on the top is crafted from midollino sticks. To the left and right are two other entries in the class of six.
Cruising home again….as I say surely one of the most unique routes to a flower show!! Thank you GCEH for inviting us into your homes and to be a part of your celebration. A toast to the next 100 years!!