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Three Village Historical Society Candlelight House Tour

By Rita J. Egan

For four decades the Three Village Historical Society has been illuminating the way to the holiday season with its Candlelight House Tour, showcasing historic properties dressed in all their festive finery by a team of local decorators.

On Saturday, Dec. 1, ticket holders can take part in the society’s 40th annual Candlelight House Tour. Titled 40 Years Honoring a Sense of Place, the tour will include five homes in East Setauket, the grist mill at Frank Melville Memorial Park and the historical society’s headquarters on North Country Road.

This year’s tour is the seventh one organized by co-chairs Patty Cain, historical society vice president, and Patty Yantz, a former president. Yantz said the title of the tour is a natural fit for the society that offers various programs that educate residents about former residents and local history, which in turn gives them a sense of place.

“People can come and go, but that history still lives on and is hopefully appreciated by generations to come,” Yantz said.

One of the homes on the tour this year was featured during the first Candlelight House Tour and is owned by the same owner, Eva Glaser. Glaser was one of the first co-chairs of the event and came up with the idea to hold a candlelight tour to raise money for the refurbishment of The Setauket Neighborhood House, where the historical society was initially housed. “It’s a treat to have her home on it,” Cain said.

This year’s tour includes other homes from past tours, mostly from the event’s first decade, and even though the owners have changed, the historical aspect of the houses hasn’t, according to Yantz and Cain.

“Some of these houses are favorites of tour-goers and the community, so they do like to see them again,” Cain said.

Cain said in the past some recently built homes were included on the tour because they were situated on properties of historical significance, but this year all the houses are significant on their own merits. The co-chair said they all date back 100 years or more, and the owners have maintained the unique historical character for each.

Among the spots are one structure that belonged to a sea captain and a beach house that overlooks Conscience Bay. Cain said a Dutch Colonial home that is a familiar sight to locals will also be one of the stops giving ticket holders the opportunity to see what the new owner has done with it.

The theme of each house is different either depending on the décor or the architecture of the home, according to Yantz, and each spot highlights and honors the area.

“Not only do we get to see the houses but sometimes we get a glimmer or concept of who built the house,” she said. “We get the history. We get an idea of who came here before [us], which I think is a wonderful thing in the more of a transient world we live in. Sometimes it’s very nice to be very grounded.”

Cain said she thinks attendees will take away a lot from this year’s event.

“I hope what they get out of the tour this year is to really see a beautiful sampling of the historic homes that we have in the area and can appreciate the fact that each owner has really cherished the fact that it is a historic home, and they have maintained the bones of the house,” Cain said.

The 40th annual Candlelight House Tour will be held on Dec. 1 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (the Nov. 30 evening tour is sold out). Tickets are $50 per person, $45 members. An optional breakfast at the Old Field Club from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. is available for an additional $20. For more information or to order tickets, call 631-751-3730, email [email protected] or visit www.tvhs.org. Tickets may be picked up at the Three Village Historical Society located at 93 North Country Road, Setauket.

Photos by Rita J. Egan, 2017

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A customer checks out the variety of salsas at the Three Village Artisan and Farmers Market in East Setauket. Photo from Linda Johnson

Visitors to the farmers market on the grounds of the Three Village Historical Society every Friday afternoon will discover new things this year, including a mission to help out a good cause.

The East Setauket Farmers Market has now been named the Three Village Artisan and Farmers Market, or nicknamed Three Village Market for short. Linda Johnson, owner of Chocology Unlimited and market manager, said the new name reflects the growing participation of vendors from across the Three Village area and the artisans, musicians and other makers on hand every week. This year, the market aims to raise money with various fundraisers throughout the season for Stony Brook Cancer Center, specifically the Healthy Forks and Move to Heal Survivorship series.

Attendees at a recent Three Village Artisan and Farmers Market visit the different tents on the grounds of the Three Village Historical Society. Photo from Linda Johnson

“We want to make the market more of a gathering place and at the same time give back to the community,” Johnson said.

The business owner said it made sense to partner with the cancer center’s program.

“It’s all about nutrition and eating healthy, and how people can eat healthy but also not spend a lot of money,” she said.

Jennifer Fitzgibbon, Stony Brook Cancer Center’s oncology nutritionist and the Healthy Forks program coordinator, said she was pleased when she heard the farmers market’s fundraisers would benefit the program.

“I am a firm believer in the addition of fresh produce and what the market features, so the fact that we’re going to be working together, I’m so excited about it,” Fitzgibbon said.

The nutritionist says she takes participants in the program to grocery stores, including Trader Joe’s, to show them how to make healthier choices while eating
affordably, and she plans to take them to the Three Village Market this year.

“I love going there,” she said. “I just think it’s such a beautiful climate. You go there and everyone is so friendly, and every little spot you look at — for example, the organic herbs and the pepper hot sauce — you can really get a nutritional sense from every little piece.”

Fitzgibbon said farmers markets offer fresher, more seasonal products, which means adding a better variety of nutrients to diets. She suggests eating five to eight servings of low-glycemic plant foods a day.

“I just think it’s such a beautiful climate. You go there and everyone is so friendly, and every little spot you look at — for example the organic herbs and the pepper hot sauce — you can really get a nutritional sense from every little piece.”

— Jennifer Fitzgibbon

As she works in conjunction with physical therapist Denise Dahlgren, the funds raised at the Three Village Market will go toward exercise equipment, including yoga mats and pedometers for participants in the Healthy Forks series.

Linda Bily, director of cancer patient advocacy and community outreach at Stony Brook Medicine, said the hospital always welcomes donations from the community. She said patients have received items
including cards from Scouts and hats knitted by senior citizens. One patient who received both a hat and a card was inspired to ask her company to create bags for cancer patients that were filled with hand sanitizers, tissues, lip balm and more.

“It’s hard for someone that isn’t going through cancer treatments to understand the value of these small, comforting things that say, ‘Hey, I got your back. Someone is looking out for you,’” Bily said.

Johnson said the market almost didn’t come together this year. She decided to help manage the market and reached out to the owners of Ann Marie’s Farmstand of Port Jefferson Station. They were the first to agree to be part of the new market and other businesses quickly joined the list of vendors.

The market opened June 1, and Johnson said each week more people are stopping by. She said there is also a tent where children can make crafts and listen to authors read their books.

“People have been very happy, which is really nice to see,” she said. “They’re liking what they’re seeing and feeling.”

The Three Village Artisan and Farmers Market is open every Friday until Oct. 26 from 3 to 7 p.m. It is located at 93 N. County Road in Setauket.

The Three Village Historical Society hosted its annual Candlelight House Tours Dec. 1 and 2, Visions of East Setauket: Then and Now. The Friday night event ended with a reception at St. James R.C. Church’s parish center, which is home to a presepio, a tableau of life in Bethlehem at the time of Christ’s birth, assembled by Rev. Gerald Cestare.

This year the tour provided participants the opportunity to step inside homes that are of local historical importance or sit on property that is considered as such in East Setauket and Poquott. Each of the homes were dressed up for either Christmas or Hanukkah by local decorators and included both indoor and outdoor holiday accents.

Candlelight House Tour decorators were Allison Butera, Donna Howard, Nancy Munch, Susan Malkan, Lynn Sabatelle, North Suffolk Garden Club and Open House Country Flowers & Interiors.