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The Ward Melville Heritage Organization

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO) celebrated their Annual Spring Appreciation Day on Saturday, April 20, drawing families together to celebrate Spring’s arrival.

Held at Stony Brook Village Center, the event offered an array of activities. Highlights included a car show presented by the Mustang and Shelby Club of Long Island, representing over 60 Mustangs to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Mustang, an antique firetruck provided by the Stony Brook Fire Department, a petting zoo for children to enjoy, live music performances, a free scavenger hunt, and educational tours of the historic Stony Brook Grist Mill.
This event was sponsored by News 12 Long Island, Long Island Speech, New York Life Insurance Company Agent Ryan D. DeCicco, RJG Consulting Group and First National Bank of LI.

Photo courtesy of WMHO

Time to shop! Black Friday returns to the Stony Brook Village Center, 111 Main Street, Stony Brook on Friday, November 24. Shop Black Friday store sales all day long throughout the village, with holiday favorites by the Celestial Holiday Carolers and a petting zoo by Rocking Horse Farm in the inner court from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Make a stop at The Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame to view their new exhibit: Billy Joel: My Life, A Piano Man’s Journey at 11 a.m. or 3 p.m. Tickets must be purchased in advance at www.limusichalloffame.org.

A full list of Black Friday sales will be available online at stonybrookvillage.com. For more information, call 631-751-2244.

Ribbon cutting for D.K. Brothers. Photo from WMHO

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO) hosted ribbon cutting ceremonies for three Stony Brook Village Center establishments — D.K. Brothers by Madison’s Niche,  Michael Macrina Architect and Village Hair Studio — on Oct. 24.

Ribbon cutting for D.K. Brothers

D.K. Brothers by Madison’s Niche is a boutique offering a curated collection of men’s apparel, lifestyle gifts, and luxury pet accessories by the owners of Madison’s Niche in Stony Brook Village Center. Guests can expect to shop popular men’s clothing brands like Tommy Bahama, UGG, Ralph Lauren, Levi’s and many more. Plus, they have a wide selection of products for a man’s best friend with a section of the store dedicated to pet products like special outfits, accessories, toys, bowls, beds, treats, and more. 

In 2012, Karen McAvoy established Madison’s Niche, drawing inspiration from and naming it after her daughter, Madison. Her daughter Madison has recently joined the business as Vice President. Alike Madison’s Niche, D.K. Brothers takes its concept and name from Karen’s sons, Daniel and Kenneth. 

D.K. Brothers is located at 97K Main Street in Stony Brook Village. They are open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 631-779-6457.

Ribbon cutting for MMA

Michael Macrina Architect (MMA) has moved their office into the heart of Stony Brook Village. MMA was previously located at the corner of 25A and Main Street for the past 11 years. Established in 2006, MMA has been in business for 17 years and handles all permits required for construction and renovation. They offer interior & exterior renovations, residential architecture, exterior facelifts, new additions, new homes and more. To learn more about Michael Macrina Architect, call 631-686-6585 or visit www.mmarchitectaia.com.

Ribbon cutting for Village Hair Studio. Photo from WMHO

Village Hair Studio is a hair salon designed to create a luxurious and relaxing atmosphere for any client. They are currently offering haircuts, hair coloring, hair smoothing treatments, make-up services and bridal services. In addition, they offer massages and facials to enhance the beauty and relaxation experience. The salon will soon provide special hair and makeup services for those experiencing hair loss from diseases like alopecia or cancer. 

The Village Hair Studio is located at 97D Main Street in Stony Brook Village. They are open Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. To make an appointment call 631-675-0987 or visit https://www.villagehairstudiony.com/.

The ribbon cuttings were attended by Michael Ardolino, Assistant Secretary, Three Village Chamber of Commerce (3VC); Carmine Inserra, Vice President, 3VC; Ed Flood, NYS Assemblyman; Robert Fonti, representing Suffolk County Executive, Steve Bellone; Madison McAvoy, Vice President of Madison’s Niche; Karen McAvoy, Proprietor of Madison’s Niche and D.K. Brothers; Ed Romaine, Town of Brookhaven Supervisor; Gloria Rocchio, President, The Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO); Dr. Richard Rugen, Chairman, WMHO; Jonathan Kornreich, Councilman, Town of Brookhaven; Alexander Piccirillo, representing Senator Anthony Palumbo; Martha Stansbury, Treasurer, 3VC; Ken Kroncke, Board Member, 3VC; Mary Van Tuyl, Trustee, WMHO; Charles Napoli, Trustee, WMHO; Emily McAvoy; Daniel McAvoy; Kenneth McAvoy; Kenneth McAvoy Jr.; Chuck Lohmann, Trustee, WMHO; Daniel J. Panico, Deputy Supervisor and Councilman, Town of Brookhaven; Charlie Lefkowitz, President, 3VC; Collette Frey-Bitzas, 2nd Vice President, 3VC; and Thomas McLaughlin, representing Senator Mario Mattera.


The Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO) hosted their 33rd Annual Halloween Festival on Oct. 31 from 2 to 5 p.m. in Stony Brook Village. The festival was a huge success and brought more families than ever to the Village Center to celebrate Halloween.

Families enjoyed music from WALK 97.5, trick-or-treating throughout Stony Brook Village Center, dancing with Monster Merlin and games for children.

Nightmare Before Christmas

WMHO announced their 33rd Annual Scarecrow Competition winners during the festival. The winners are as follows:

Category A- Professional

1st Place – #310 Nightmare Before Christmas

2nd Place – #111 Grim

Category B – Adult and Family

1st Place – #305 Mr. Margaritaville

2nd Place – #301 Edgar Allen Scare-Poe

3rd Place – #102 On Wednesdays, We Wear Pink

Category C – Children

1st Place – #206 Barbie: You Can Be Anything

2nd Place – #303 Bubblegum Witch

3rd Place – #110 Barbie

This event was sponsored by Long Island Speech, Green Towers Group, News 12 Long Island, Goldfish Swim School, Dr. Robert Quilty, Ph.D and Dr. Rocco Morelli, DDS.

The event will feature a petting zoo. Photo from WMHO

Do you have a case of spring fever? April is blooming with lots of outside events on the North Shore including The Ward Melville Heritage Organization and Stony Brook Village’s free Spring Appreciation Day which returns on Sunday, April 16 to Stony Brook Village with live music, a car show, a petting zoo and scavenger hunts with prizes from noon to 3 p.m. 

Rocking Horse Farms will be set up in front of the Rustic Loft with a variety of animals for children to pet. The Mustang and Shelby Club of Long Island car show will take place between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. in the parking lot behind the Post Office with classic Mustangs and the latest Pony cars that Ford has to offer. Automobiles from 1964 to 2022 will be on display, including some special edition Mustangs like the classic Shelby GT500, GT350 and the iconic Boss 302. 

Brenda and Burke will be performing original and cover songs in the genres of R&B, Roots, Blues and Contemporary Acoustic on the steps of the Stony Brook Post Office and The Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO)’s Youth Corps will be offering scavenger hunts around Stony Brook Village. Each person to return a completed scavenger hunt will be entered into a raffle to win Discovery Wetlands Cruise tickets. 

Lastly, the Stony Brook Grist Mill (c. 1751) 100 Harbor Road, Stony Brook will be open for tours ($4 for adults, $2 for children, cash only) of the inner mechanical workings and history of the building and shopping in the Country Store from 1 to 4 p.m.

Spring Appreciation Day is sponsored by Goldfish Swim School and Suffolk Speech. For more information, call 631-751-2244.

Look Book Luncheons are back for Spring 2023. Photo from WMHO

Spring styles have sprung! Foodies and shopaholics unite for a three-part series of luncheon fashion shows in Stony Brook Village. Each part of the series will take place from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. at a different restaurant (Mirabelle Restaurant at Three Village Inn, Luca Modern Italian Restaurant and The Country House Restaurant) and each will feature different Spring styles from Mint, Chico’s, Loft, Madison’s Niche and Ecolin Jewelers. $35 per person at each restaurant for a prix fix lunch.

As guests enjoy their lunch, models will stroll through the restaurants, sharing information about the Spring fashion and accessories they are wearing. The three-part series will take place at separate dining locations – On May 4, at Mirabelle Restaurant at the Three Village Inn, on May 11 at Luca Modern Italian Restaurant, and May 18 at the Country House Restaurant.

To make your reservation, contact the restaurants directly. Mirabelle Restaurant can be contacted at (631) 751-0555 and is located in the historic Three Village Inn, at 150 Main Street in Stony Brook Village. Luca Modern Italian Restaurant’s phone number is (631) 6750435 and is located at 93 Main Street in Stony Brook Village. The Country House Restaurant’s phone number is (631) 751-3332 and is located at 1175 North Country Road in Stony Brook.

'Eel Spearing in Setauket' by William Sidney Mount
Jennie Melville. Photo from WMHO
Dorothy Melville. Photo from WMHO

In celebration of Women’s History Month, the Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO) in Stony Brook will host a walking tour titled “Against the Grain” on Thursday, March 16 at  10:30 a.m. session and again at 2:30 p.m.

While participants stroll, their guide will share stories recognizing the women who helped shape Stony Brook Village into what it is today: the hidden roles of the Melville women; Alida Emmet and the Center for Twilight Sleep; Rachel Brewster and the women of color in famed artist William Sidney Mount’s paintings; the scandalous will of the Smiths and Edward Kane; and the role of Stony Brook’s women in forming the environmental conservation movement.

Tours will leave from the Stony Brook Grist Mill, 100 Harbor Road, Stony Brook. Rain date is Friday, March 17 at the same time.  $12 per person and includes a complimentary dessert with the purchase of an entrée at Mirabelle Restaurant & Tavern at the Three Village Inn and the Country House Restaurant. Advance reservations required by calling 631-751-2244.

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A scene from the 43rd Annual Holiday Festival presented by The Ward Melville Heritage Organization. Photo by Heidi Sutton

Stony Brook Village Center was buzzing with holiday activities on Sunday, Dec. 4. Thousands of residents from the Three Village and surrounding communities attended the 43rd Annual Holiday Festival presented by The Ward Melville Heritage Organization.

Santa was on the scene in the afternoon to take children’s requests and pose for photos in front of the Stony Brook Post Office. Attendees also strolled through the shopping center to listen to music, visit the petting zoo in front of Rustic Loft and enjoy a performance from the Roseland School of Dance students.

The holiday celebration featured the Legends & Spies Puppet Parade led by the Ward Melville High School marching band. Handlers marched through the shopping center with giant puppets depicting local famous people, including Culper spies Anna Smith Strong, Caleb Brewster and Benjamin Tallmadge as well as philanthropists Ward and Dorothy Melville.

The night was capped off with a tree lighting on The Village Green with a countdown led by Santa Claus. Following the tree lighting, Santa Claus gave a recap of the gifts children asked for that day at the WMHO Holiday Thank You Party. He said he’s always surprised that among the more modern items requested, children still ask for classic toys such as trucks, and on Sunday, he said 18 boys and girls asked for yo-yos.

He said the funniest encounter of the day was when a girl told him she wanted a toy dog, loud enough so her mother could hear. She then whispered to Santa and said, “I really want a live one, but please don’t tell my mom.”

Photo from WMHO

On Dec. 4, participants of the Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s Holiday Tree Competition will bring holiday cheer to Stony Brook Village and decorate 45 premium balsam trees that will line the open-air center’s walkways at the 43rd annual Holiday Festival. 

One tree will be selected by votes from the public between Dec. 4 and Dec. 2t to win a $150 gift certificate to Stony Brook Village and its establishments. Registration for this event is required as there are only 45 trees available.

Registration forms may be picked up at any of the shops in Stony Brook Village, or you can download it digitally from the events section of the Stony Brook Village Center website. To enter this competition, please return the completed registration form, with entry fee to the Ward Melville Heritage Organization, P.O. Box 572, Stony Brook, NY 11790. The registration form along with an entry fee of $47 is due by Nov. 23. 

The decorated trees will remain in the village for viewing until Jan. 3. Questions? Call 631-751-2244.

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Elected officials, Ward Melville Heritage Organization board members and philanthropists Harlan and Olivia Fischer announced the restoration of Stony Brook’s Hercules. Photo from WMHO;

A Long Island landmark is looking more vibrant.

The Hercules figurehead near Stony Brook Harbor. Photo by Rita J. Egan

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization debuted the restored Hercules figurehead at a press conference on Oct. 14. Recently, philanthropists Harlan and Olivia Fischer, of Head of the Harbor, noticed the figurehead needed restoration and decided to sponsor its renovation. 

WMHO board members thanked the Fischers and the work crew from ART of NYC & Long Island who restored the piece located in the Hercules Pavilion overlooking Stony Brook Harbor, across from the Village Center. The Holbrook-based company was retained for the restoration, which included cleaning, sanding and replastering before repairing, painting and varnishing the landmark.

Richard Rugen, WMHO chairman, said, “It’s a work in progress, but [the Fischers] are actually going to take care of the rest of the pavilion as well.”

Additional work will be done on the weather-beaten pavilion in the near future, including roof work and painting.

Harlan Fischer, president of Branch Financial Services, moved his offices from Smithtown to Setauket in 2020. Every day he passes through the village on his way to work and back, he said, and appreciates how lovely Stony Brook village is. He asked WMHO president Gloria Rocchio if she thought the renovation would be a worthwhile project, and she agreed.

“When we make contributions to places, we like to see the results of it,” he said. The Fischers are also donors to The Jazz Loft and sponsor a monthly concert series at the music venue and museum.

The full-color Hercules carving, located in Stony Brook since 1951, features the head and shoulders of the Greek demigod — known for his exceptional strength — draped in a lion’s skin. The bust was once the USS Ohio’s figurehead. The ship was the first to be launched from the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 1820.

Rugen said the figurehead was saved when the ship was decommissioned, destroyed and sunk in Greenport Harbor in 1884. It was bought by the Aldrich family of Aquebogue for $10 at the time, and from the late 1800s until the early 1950s it sat at the Canoe Place Inn in Hampton Bays after the owner, Miles Carpenter, purchased it for $15. Ward Melville bought it from the inn to be placed in Stony Brook.

Brenda Sinclair Berntson, president of Hampton Bays Historical Society, said when Hercules was located at the inn, it was popular for young women to kiss his forehead, believing that the person would be married within the year.

She said the figurehead wasn’t in the best condition, rotting and termite-ridden when it was brought to Stony Brook.

“We’re very glad that Ward Melville had the foresight and saved it,” she said.

Danielle Parisi, business development manager of ART of NYC & Long Island, said as someone who grew up and still lives in Stony Brook, it was an honor to work on the project. Parisi’s co-worker, art restorer Jessie Kefalas, said in walking by the figurehead in the past it was obvious something needed to be done. There was significant damage including the rotting of the chest of Hercules, which is constructed of plaster and wood.

Town of Brookhaven Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich (D-Stony Brook) was also in attendance and commented on the efforts.

“We’ve seen projects like this before, and so often it’s because of the community spirit of  ordinary residents who love where they live or business people who reinvest in their community,” he said.

State Assemblyman Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) called WMHO “one of the custodians of our heritage.”

He added that places such as the pavilion are in danger due to rising sea levels brought on by climate change, and the spot around the structure has experienced flooding after significant rain events. In the future, he said, the Hercules Pavilion could possibly be raised to protect it further, and when such a plan comes to fruition he pledged a $125,000 matching state grant to help with the costs.