Save the date! Join Preservation Long Island and the Long Island Museum for an Artoberfest, an afternoon of food, beer, music by Buddy Merriam & Backroads, arts and crafts, and games at the Sherwood-Jayne Farm, 55 Old Post Road, East Setauket on Saturday, Oct. 22 from noon to 5 p.m. The event is a celebration of the art of Edward Lange (1846-1912), whose works are currently on view at the Long Island Museum through Dec. 18.Rain date is Oct. 23. Tickets are $20/over 21, $10/under 21, free for ages 5 and under. To order tickets, visit www.preservationlongisland.org. For more information, call 631-692-4664.
Since 2004, Gallery North’s annual Wet Paint Festival has invited artists from far and wide to revel in nature’s beauty. For a week or a weekend, artists enjoy each other’s company and a healthy dose of plein air painting — the tricky, constantly changing art of working outdoors.
This year’s festival, scheduled for June 4 and 5, will be held at the historic and picturesque Sherwood-Jayne Farm on Old Post Road in East Setauket and seeks to build upon past events where visitors can watch the artists work and ask questions about their creative process. There will also be the opportunity to tour the Sherwood-Jayne House, go bird watching, enjoy live music and more.
“The landscape of the show has changed in a variety of ways over the years, not just in location but in the way it’s structured,” said Ned Puchner, executive director of Gallery North. “During the pandemic, people could paint remotely for a two-week period. Last year, we had a few different locations to choose from. This year, we’re returning to the traditional style of having a specific site where everyone will come together and paint for a weekend, with some additional activities for the public to enjoy.”
The Sherwood-Jayne Farm was originally slated to host the Wet Paint Festival in 2020, and planning for the event was nearly complete when the pandemic shut things down.
“Gallery North reached out to us a few years ago looking to change up the festival from the way it was done in the past,” said Elizabeth Abrams, Assistant Director of Operations and Programs for Preservation Long Island, which cares for the property. “We used to team up with the gallery for an apple festival, and considering we are just down the street from each other, it was natural for us to work together again.”
Preservation Long Island is a multifaceted not-for-profit organization dedicated to protecting Long Island’s history and culture. Founded in 1948, their focus is on education, advocacy, and the stewardship of historic buildings and artifacts.
Abrams explained that the Sherwood-Jayne House was built in 1730 as an early colonial, lean-to salt box dwelling. The house and surrounding farmland were cared for by the Jayne family for more than 150 years. In 1908, it was acquired by the founder of Preservation Long Island, Howard Sherwood, who lived in the home and displayed a variety of antiques there.
Throughout the weekend, the Sherwood-Jayne House will be open for tours with Preservation Long Island curator Lauren Brincat. Keep an eye out for the Tallmadge wall panels, and the incredibly beautiful wall mural in the parlor that’s meant to look like wallpaper — they are very rare to see, especially on Long Island, Abrams added.
“The house contains a large portion of Howard Sherwood’s personal antique collection and other bits of history from colonial Long Island. This area had a foundational role in American history — exploring the house and its collections are a unique way to learn more about that important time period,” she said.
There will be plenty of outdoor inspiration for the artists at the festival as well. The property is also home to a variety of outbuildings and trails, gorgeous old-growth walnut trees, an apple orchard, and all kinds of wildlife.
The Four Harbors Audubon Society will lead tours exploring the wildlife and ecology of the area, with a particular focus on local birds. If the barn is open, you might be lucky enough to meet some goats, a few sheep, or an old, sweet white horse named Snowball.
Visitors are free to wander the grounds at their leisure, watch the artists work or ask questions, Puchner said. For those who are feeling shy or not sure what to ask, an artist will offer a guided tour and lead discussions once each day.
“The whole objective of the Wet Paint Festival is to help people understand what goes into the process of creating a painting, and to meet local artists. It’s a great way for someone who has no artistic experience to learn how it all works,” Puchner said.
Over 40 artists will be participating this weekend including Nancy Bueti-Randall of Stony Brook who began to paint outdoors as a way to recharge while raising her three children. She’s spent more than 20 years creating and showing her work, which runs the gamut from pictorial to abstract, figures and landscapes. Most of the time, though, she’s painting in her garden or other familiar surroundings.
Sometimes, she’ll start a painting with the idea to focus on one thing, but something else in a landscape will catch her eye instead.
“There are a lot of challenges with plein air painting. It’s very fleeting — a landscape is always changing, even from day to day,” Bueti-Randall explained. “You have to be fast and responsive to what’s going on around you. It’s about becoming engaged with the thing you’re painting. I can get overwhelmed by beauty, and I try to capture the essence of what I’m seeing in a process of give and take.”
Marceil Kazickas of Sands Point considers herself an artistic late bloomer. She started drawing and painting to cope with a health crisis, and found that when she was being creative, she wasn’t in pain. Kazickas prefers to work in oil, which she loves for its luscious, sensual properties.
“When you go outside, there’s an overwhelming amount of information to take in — the views are always changing, the clock is running, and you want to get your design done quickly because the light and shadows are constantly evolving,” she explained.
“I’m not as focused on painting exactly what I see … People can get caught up in producing a finished, frameable piece of art, but for me it’s exciting to be outside and come up with whatever I can in the short time I’m out there, even if it’s nothing. It’s about the painting process.”
Puchner hopes that the variety of activities, including a scavenger hunt for kids and live music from the Keenan Paul Zach Trio and Tom Killourhy, will appeal to all kinds of people.
“These new additions will give the public the opportunity to enjoy nature, the arts and history all in one place, and our artists will have a fun new location to experiment and be creative in,” he said.
The 18th Annual Wet Paint Festival will be held June 4 and 5 at the Sherwood-Jayne Farm, 55 Old Post Road, East Setauket from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Rain date is June 18 and 19. The event is free and open to the public.
All participating artists will have their festival work on display in an exhibit at Gallery North, 90 North Country Road, Setauket, from July 7 through Aug 7. A free opening reception will be held at the gallery from on July 7 from 6 to 8 p.m.
For more information about the festival or to register to paint, visit www.gallerynorth.org or call 631-751-2676. Learn more about Sherwood-Jayne Farm at www.preservationlongisland.org.
Preservation Long Island, a regional preservation advocacy group, was awarded a $2,000 reimbursement grant from the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation. The announcement was made in a press release on Jan. 28. The grant has helped Preservation Long Island to preserve valuable operating funds and redirect a portion of funding towards improving online programming capacity.
“We are so grateful for the continued support from the Gardiner Foundation, especially during this challenging time”, said Alexandra Wolfe, Executive Director of Preservation Long Island. “In light of the pandemic, Preservation Long Island, like most of its institutional colleagues, has had to swiftly transition to online platforms to implement our educational and advocacy programs. Relief funds from the Gardiner Foundation have supported technology upgrades and the purchase of video production equipment to improve the quality of programs that have been reformatted for online engagement and feature prominently at our website and Vimeo channel”.
Preservation Long Island initiatives with expanded virtual offerings and enhanced online components include the Jupiter Hammon Project (which now incorporates a growing collection of virtual discussions about salient topics related to the study of enslavement in the north); “Historian’s Stories” where town historians present local history; virtual exhibitions and events with regional partner organizations; and tutorial presentations to help communities and individuals navigate our many preservation advocacy tools including the new Local Landmark Law Locator that provides an easy way to explore local landmark laws in our region.
“The Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation hopes that these funds will alleviate at least a small part of Preservation Long Island’s financial burden during these extraordinary times,” said Kathryn M. Curran, Executive Director of the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation.
Preservation Long Island maintains and interprets historic sites and collections that embody various aspects of Long Island’s history including:
More than 2,000 visitors made their way to the Sherwood-Jayne Farm in East Setauket for the 30th annual Long Island Apple Festival Sept. 29. Hosted by the nonprofit group Preservation Long Island and Homestead Arts, patrons were able to indulge in many apple-filled treats.
The event also included live folk music, hayrides, pony rides, lawn games, tours of the historical Sherwood-Jayne House and the festival’s apple pie baking contest.
Proceeds from the event will go to Preservation Long Island to continue its efforts to maintain historical sites like the Sherwood-Jayne house and others.
The humble apple will be the focus of the largest Apple Pie Baking Contest on Long Island to be held in conjunction with the 30th annual Long Island Apple Festival on Sunday, Sept. 29 at the Sherwood-Jayne Farm, 55 Old Post Road, Setauket from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Contestants will have the chance to show off their favorite family recipes and participate in an old-fashioned blue ribbon competition during the event, which is sponsored by Preservation Long Island and Homestead Arts.
Entries must be traditional apple pies only. The pie, including crust, must be homemade by amateur bakers. The registration deadline is Sept. 27. Pies must be on the contest table at the Sherwood-Jayne House by 10:30 a.m. on the day of the festival. A written recipe must be submitted with each entry including the name and address of the baker. Each contestant will receive one free Apple Festival entry. Judging will begin at 2 p.m. with prizes awarded between 3 and 4 p.m.
According to Darren St. George, director of Education and Public Programs at Preservation Long Island, this year’s contest will be judged by nine distinguished judges including Port Jefferson Village Mayor Margot Garant; Lisa Basini, founder of The Baking Coach Inc.; Chef Marc Anthony Bynum, restaurateur and owner of MB Concepts; Adam Devine, manager of Three Village Inn’s Mirabelle Restaurant & Tavern; Bernice Fehringer from Chocolate Works in Stony Brook; Chef Phil Morizio, chef and owner of Café Al Dente in Oyster Bay; Nick Acampora, president of Port Jefferson Historical Society; New York State Assemblyman Steve Englebright; and Town of Brookhaven Councilwoman Valerie M. Cartright plus one lucky apple festival guest who will be selected as an honorary judge.
First-, second- and third-place winners will be announced for Best Tasting Pie. A fourth winner will be chosen for Most Beautiful Pie. The first-place winner will be invited to be a judge at next year’s Apple Pie Baking Contest. All pies, including their dishes, will be auctioned off after the winners have been announced.
For contest entry forms, please visit www.preservationlongisland.org. For more information, call 631-692-4664.
Preservation Long Island will host an open house at the Sherwood-Jayne Farm, 55 Old Post Road, Setauket on Saturday, May 25 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Actor David Burt will portray William Jayne II aka Big Bill the Tory and lead a tour of the home which dates back to1730. Tours will be held throughout the day. Admission is $5 adults, $3 children and seniors. For more information, call 631-692-4664.
Looking for something to do this Saturday? Why not take a step back in time and visit the historic Sherwood-Jayne House, 55 Old Post Road, East Setauket on Saturday, Oct. 6?
Preservation Long Island will offer docent-led tours between noon and 3 p.m. Originally built around 1730 as a lean-to salt box dwelling, the house and agricultural setting were maintained as an operational farmstead for over 150 years by members of the Jayne family. In 1908, Preservation Long Island’s founder, Howard C. Sherwood, acquired the property to showcase his lifetime interest in collecting, studying and living with antiques. The house contains period furnishings and features original late-eighteenth-century hand-painted floral wall frescoes.
Admission is $5 adults, $3 children ages 7 to 14. Tours are also offered by appointment. For more information, call 631-692-4664.
Time to bake a pie! The humble apple will be the focus of the largest Apple Pie Baking Contest on Long Island to be held in conjunction with the 29th annual Long Island Apple Festival on Sunday, Sept. 30 at the Sherwood-Jayne Farm, 55 Old Post Road, Setauket from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Contestants will have the chance to show off their favorite family recipes and participate in an old-fashioned blue ribbon competition. The event is sponsored by Preservation Long Island and Homestead Arts.
Entries must be traditional apple pies only. The pie, including crust, must be homemade by amateur bakers. Pies must be on the contest table at the Sherwood-Jayne Farm by 10:30 a.m. on the day of the festival. A written recipe must be submitted with each entry including the name and address of the baker. Each contestant will receive one free Apple Festival entry.
Judging will begin at 2 p.m. with prizes awarded at 3 p.m. followed by photos at 4 p.m. First-, second- and third-place winners will be announced for Best Tasting Pie. A fourth prize will be awarded for Most Beautiful Pie.
All winners will receive a prize. Past prizes have included a brunch or dinner for two at fine restaurants, theater tickets, gift baskets and gift certificates. The first-place winner will be invited to be a judge at next year’s Apple Pie Baking Contest. All pies, including their dishes, will be auctioned off after the winners have been announced.
For an application, visit www.preservationlongisland.org. Deadline to apply is Sept. 28. For more information, call Andrea at 631-692-4664.
‘Lucky is the child who listens to a story from an elder and treasures it for years.’
— Barbara Russell,Town of Brookhaven Historian
By Heidi Sutton
Margo Arceri first heard about George Washington’s Setauket spies from her Strong’s Neck neighbor and local historian, Kate W. Strong, in the early 1970s. Arceri lights up when talking about her favorite spy, Anna Smith Strong.
“Kate W. Strong, Anna Smith Strong’s great-great-granddaughter, originally told me about the Culper Spy Ring when I used to visit her with my neighbor and Strong descendant Raymond Brewster Strong III. One of her stories was about Nancy (Anna Smith Strong’s nickname) and her magic clothesline. My love of history grew from there,” she said.
Five years ago Arceri approached the Three Village Historical Society’s President Steve Hintze and the board about conducting walking, biking and kayaking tours while sharing her knowledge of George Washington’s Long Island intelligence during the American Revolution.
Today, Arceri runs Tri-Spy Tours in the Three Village area, which follows in the actual footsteps of the Culper Spy Ring. “I wanted to target that 20- to 60-year-old active person,” she said.“I have to thank AMC’s miniseries “TURN” because 80 percent of the people who sign up for the tour do so because of that show,” she laughs.
It was during one of those tours that Arceri came up with the idea of having a Culper Spy Day, a day to honor the members of Long Island’s brave Patriot spy ring who helped change the course of history and helped Washington win the Revolutionary War.
“Visiting places like the Brewster House, which is owned by The Ward Melville Heritage Organization, the grave site of genre artist William Sidney Mount at the Setauket Presbyterian Church cemetery (whose paintings are at The Long Island Museum) and the Country House, which every one of the spies visited,” Arceri thought “there has to be a day designated to celebrating all these organizations in the Three Village and surrounding areas; where each of us can give our little piece of the story and that’s how Culper Spy Day developed.”
After a successful three-year run, the fourth annual Culper Spy Day will be held on Saturday, Sept. 15 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. offering self-guided tours of 24 locations including eight new spots for the ultimate Culper Spy Day experience. “The more the merrier,” laughs Arceri.
One new event you won’t want to miss is an interactive tour at the Sherwood-Jayne Farm in East Setauket where you’ll experience a different spin on George Washington’s Culper Spy Ring. Maintained by Preservation Long Island, the property boasts a 1700s saltbox home, apple orchard, barn, an ice house, corn crib, a pasture and nature trail.
According to Darren St. George, education and public programs director at Preservation Long Island, the farm was originally owned by the Jayne family.
“The property was purchased by Mathias Jayne in 1730 [who built a lean-to saltbox dwelling] which is eventually passed down to William Jayne II in 1768 who expands the house after his second marriage,” he said, continuing, “[William] was involved with local government, he was a constable, so he had some stature and clout in the community and it was nice to have a more substantial home.”
However, when the Revolutionary War broke out, Jayne chose to remain a Loyalist and a steadfast supporter of the crown.
“William Jayne II was a known Tory in the neighborhood,” said St. George. “Long Island was occupied by many Tories, many people still supported the king and didn’t want to upset the status quo, but as the war concluded, most Torys moved to Canada or Connecticut or they turned their back on the king entirely, but Jayne doesn’t. He still stays a Tory, he has his reputation and still thrives in the community,” eventually acquiring the nickname Big Bill the Tory.
When Jayne passed away, the home remained in the family until it was sold in 1908 to Preservation Long Island’s founder, Howard C. Sherwood, who used the home to showcase his many antiques. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.
During Culper Spy Day, ticketholders will be able to take part in a 20-minute guided tour of the first floor of the home, specifically the Jayne Parlor (which was added after the Revolutionary War), the Sherwood Living Room (which was the original 1730 home) and the Tap Room (kitchen/dining room).
One of the more interesting features of the home are the original late-18th-century hand-painted floral wall frescoes on the walls of the Jayne Parlor. Commissioned by William Jayne II, they were rediscovered underneath wallpaper by Sherwood in 1916 who had them restored by well-known artist Emil Gruppé. “One small panel was left untouched so that you can see how it’s weathered through the years,” St. George pointed out during a recent tour.
The home contains artifacts that specifically relate to the American Revolution, including paneling on the fireplace wall and shutters on a bar in the Tap Room that came from the Tallmadge House of Setauket, believed to be the birthplace of Colonel Benjamin Tallmadge, a founding member of the spy ring who would become George Washington’s chief intelligence officer.
As a special treat, Big Bill the Tory, portrayed by David Burt, will make a guestappearance during each tour and share his views on the Culper Spy Ring and the noble intentions of King George III. “He’ll explain what life has been like for him as a Loyalist — the other side of the story that we’re really not hearing too much of,” explained St. George.
Parking will be in the field next to the property and visitors are asked to line up at the back door for the tour, which will be ongoing from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Apple cider and donuts will be available for purchase.
Arceri’s favorite part of the day is “seeing all these different organizations coming together as a whole. It really is our Revolutionary story,” she said. “Everywhere you turn in the Three Villages you are looking at an artifact, and as the historical society believes, the community is our museum and that I would really love to put on the forefront of people’s minds.”
Admission is $25 adults, $5 children ages 6 to 12 and may be purchased in advance at the Three Village Historical Society (TVHS), 93 North Country Road, Setauket, by calling 631-751-3730 or by visiting www.tvhs.org. Veterans and children under the age of 6 are free.
Tickets may be picked up at the TVHS from Sept. 11 to 15. At that time, participants will receive a bracelet and a copy of the Culper Spy Day map with all event listings and include access to 24 Culper Spy Ring locations. If available, tickets on the day of the event may be purchased at the historical society.
The fourth annual Culper Spy Day is presented by Tri-Spy Tours, the Three Village Historical Society, the Long Island Museum and The Ward Melville Heritage Organization in collaboration with the Benjamin Tallmadge District of the Boy Scouts; Campus Bicycle; Caroline Church of Brookhaven; Country House Restaurant; Custom House; Discover Long Island; Drowned Meadow Cottage Museum; East Hampton Library, Long Island Collection; Emma S. Clark Memorial Library; Fairfield Historical Society, Fairfield Museum & History Center; Frank Melville Memorial Park; FrauncesTavern® Museum; Gallery North; History Close at Hand; Huntington Historical Society; Huntington Militia; Joseph Lloyd Manor House; Ketcham Inn Foundation; Northport Historical Society; Old Methodist Church; Paumanok Tours; Port Jefferson Chamber of Commerce; Port Jefferson Free Library;Preservation Long Island; Raynham Hall Museum; Rock Hall Museum; Setauket Elementary School; Setauket Harbor Task Force; Setauket Neighborhood House; Setauket Presbyterian Church; Sherwood-Jayne Farm; Stirring Up History; Stony Brook University Libraries, Special Collections; Stony Brookside Bed and Bike Inn; Three Village Community Trust; The Three Village Inn; Times Beacon Record News Media; and the Underhill Society of America Inc.
Do you love flowers and wish you had a garden full of many kinds? Frustrated because the peonies and roses and irises disappoint with few flowers, the phlox is floppy with powdery mildew and even the yarrow craps out? Did you plant a row of rhodies under some random trees, but they are starting to get leggy? Have you despaired because there is too much shade, and even where there isn’t the digging requires too much effort because of tree roots? You can have a garden with many beautiful flowers in light shade, but excessive shade and greedy tree roots are the most prohibitive obstacles to fulfillment for weekend gardeners.
Whenever I visit a new client, I will first evaluate which trees are beneficial assets, which should be removed, and which should be pruned to let in more light, to open up more volumes of airspace for other large shrubs and small trees or to eliminate root competition for water and nutrients.
I almost always keep oaks — red, white, black — and there are no-brainer keepers like ornamental cherries, dogwoods and magnolias of course. But most properties have trees that are far less desirable: not only native invasives like black cherry, black locust and black walnut, but also exotic invasives, most commonly the Norway maple. I value this last for its yellow fall color, and we have a very old, large one, venerable with bole, trunk and branching structure near our kitchen door. We eat al fresco all summer under the cool of its generous shade, no umbrella needed. I wouldn’t attempt to plant under it and of course the fallen leaves require a lot of blowing and raking, but they do make for a fun leaf pile for kids.
However, Norway maples typically generate hundreds of seedlings every spring. Give them a few seasons to root in and they will require effort to pull up. In a neglected side yard or corner of property these will grow into substantial trees even when still young. I often see groups of five or 10 or more of these “volunteers,” often misshapen and ugly because they are crowding each other, and often they are hosting suffocating vines like English ivy, bittersweet and grape.
Sure, these messes provide privacy from “that” neighbor or a buffer from the road, but, once removed, you will delight in views of the sky and you will enjoy the new light. I always recommend these weed trees be removed, the sooner the better, because the bigger they get the more expensive.
Sometimes one sees a truly wonderful and photogenic old black locust, gnarly in the winter landscape, or a black walnut, such as the one in front of the Sherwood-Jayne House in East Setauket, with horizontal lateral limbs the length of a schoolyard basketball court. But an old walnut will drop soggy catkins on your driveway in June and later many hundreds of green-rinded, golfball-sized nuts that need to be hand-picked off lawns. It had better be a truly awesome tree or else you will hate its nuisances.
The black cherry is especially worthy of contempt. It too becomes very large with inconspicuous white flowers. The leguminous white flowers of the black locust have underrated appeal, but their malodorous roots keep running dozens of yards from the trunk and throw up viciously thorny suckers. This is not an easy root to slice with a spade, because it, like the roots of mulberry (weed!) and wisteria (invasive but worth it), are of some kind of elastic constitution: My sharp steel-shafted spade literally bounces off the roots.
But back to flowers and gardens. Remove junk trees and you will have new opportunities, or “capabilities,” to dream and to plant. Get rid of them, with their beastly roots and unwanted shade and messy litter. You are not being anti-environment, or anti-wildlife, especially if you replace thickets of bittersweet, honeysuckle and Ailanthus from Asia with American dogwoods, or a sourwood (Oxydendrum), or Eastern redbuds, or even a grove of Japanese maples, which are in scale with smaller gardens.
In a client’s garden we have let many self-sown Japanese maples grow. Now, after a dozen years, they provide light shade and beautiful autumn tapestries of yellows and reds and oranges. It is much easier to underplant Japanese maples — or birches — with lawn or perennial ground covers than it is under mature Norway maples or to remove that suckerous tree of heaven and start planning your little sun-loving kitchen garden of quadrants of thyme and sage, tomatoes and dill, with a cute gate and brick paths.
Kyrnan Harvey is a horticulturist and garden designer residing in East Setauket. For more information, visit www.boskygarden.com.