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Ward Melville Heritage Organization

Stony Brook Grist Mill. Image from WMHO

Join the Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO) in a walking tour experience, Unwind & Uncork History: The Story of Wine & the Stony Brook Grist Mill on Tuesday, Sept. 26 at 3 p.m. and again on Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 3 p.m. 

Image from WMHO

In this walking tour experience, tour-goers will “uncork” the stories of the Stony Brook Grist Mill (c. 1751), the sight of Long Island’s very first vineyard. This will include a tour of the Stony Brook Grist Mill, the scandalous story of Edward Kane, his Lakeside Wine Company, and a brief lesson on wine. 

The tour will begin at Tranquility Park (also known as T. Bayles Minuse Mill Pond Park) across from the Stony Brook Grist Mill, and will end at Lake Side Emotions Wine Boutique at the Stony Brook Village Center, which gained its name from Kane’s Lakeside Wine Company.

Fee for the tour  is $25 per person and includes a bottle of authentic Catawba wine from Lake Side Emotions Wine Boutique. All participants must be 21 or older. Advance registration is required by calling 631-751-2244. For more information, visit www.wmho.org.

This year's event will raise funds for the ongoing restoration of the Stony Brook Grist Mill. Photo courtesy of WMHO

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization has announced a new self-guided stroll, the Stony Brook Grist Mill Audio Experience.  

The Stony Brook Grist Mill Audio Experience is $3 and can be accessed at anytime, anywhere. To start your tour, scan QR codes outside of the mill, or visit audio.stonybrookvillage.com.   

Immersing themselves in the story of the most fully operational mill on Long Island, participants will learn about the 320+ year-old Stony Brook Grist Mill from its construction to today. Discovering the mill’s history, tour-goers will learn of the structure’s construction, owners, operators, its surprising role as one of Long Island’s “firsts” and more. 

Located at 100 Harbor Road in Stony Brook Village, the grist mill is listed on the National and New York State Register of Historic Places.

 The Stony Brook Grist Mill Audio Experience is the second audio tour offered by Stony Brook Village. Currently, the FREE Stony Brook Audio Experience has 14 stops, and covers the history and the quirky stories from the Three Village Inn’s original residents to the entire development of Stony Brook Village Center. It is recommended that participants of the experience begin at the recently restored Hercules Pavilion. 

Additional stories will be added soon, including the T. Bayles Minuse Mill Pond Park, and the Country House Restaurant (c.1710). To start a tour, scan QR codes throughout the village, or visit audio.stonybrookvillage.com.

 To learn more about events and activities in Stony Brook Village Center, please visit stonybrookvillage.com or call 631-751-2244.

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO) kicked off the season with their annual Summer Soirée fundraiser at the Three Village Inn on June 22. The event honored outstanding members of the community including Olivia and Harlan Fischer, Katharine Griffiths, Sally Lynch, Nicole Sarno, and awarded posthumously, philanthropist Judi Betts and featured a live auction.

The primary purpose of the fundraising efforts was to support the restoration of the 20’ wooden eagle that is affixed to the pediment above the Stony Brook Post Office. This beloved local and national treasure has flapped its wings every hour on the hour for over 80 years. 

All photos courtesy of the WMHO

Pop Up Saturdays in Stony Brook. Photo from WMHO

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO) has announced the return of Pop-Up Saturdays in Stony Brook Village. This seven-part series family-friendly event will take place on Saturdays July 8 to August 19 from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and is filled with animals, music, art and even magic!

Pop-Up Saturdays are free to the public and will take place in Stony Brook Village’s Inner Court (by Crazy Beans and/or the Waterfall Garden). 2023 Pop-Up Saturdays Lineup includes Uncle Tony’s Reptile Shack: an interactive, fun and educational presentation where the public will meet snakes, lizards, tortoises, and more on July 8;  live R&B, Roots, Blues and Contemporary Acoustic music from Brenda & Burke, as well as Caricatures by Marty on July 15; Magic of Amore and Last Chance Animal Rescue on July 22; July 29 attraction TBA;  Radical Reptile Entertainment: a fun and educational interaction with reptiles on Aug. 5; the Silly Magician and Caricatures by Marty on Aug. 12; and Brenda & Burke will close the series on Aug. 19.

The 2023 Pop-Up Saturday are generously sponsored by Armor Pest Control and Dr. Rocco Morelli, DDS. For. more information, call 631-751-2244 or visit www.wmho.org.

It is said that all good things come in threes and the The Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO)’s  event on June 13 was no exception as it hosted ribbon cuttings for Stony Brook Village Center establishments Robinson’s Tea Room, Camera Concepts & Telescope Solutions, and Schnitzels.

The celebratory events were attended by Town of Brookhaven Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich; Town of Brookhaven Deputy Supervisor and Councilman Dan Panico; NYS Assemblyman Ed Flood; Kim Bryant, Legislative Aid for Suffolk County Leg. Kara Hahn; WMHO President Gloria Rocchio; WMHO Chairman Dr. Richard Rugen; WMHO trustees; and members of the Three Village Chamber of Commerce.

Robinson’s Tea Room is under new ownership by Donna and Michael Aliperti. The eatery continues to serve English high teas, light bites and more. Robinson’s Tea Room is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Reservations can be made by calling 631-751-1232. They are located in Inner Court at 97E Main Street in Stony Brook Village.

Camera Concepts & Telescope Solutions owned by Jeff Norwood suffered a fire in February. After four months, the shop and showroom are reopen. One of the only shops in the state of New York that specializes in astronomy, photography and more, Camera Concepts and Telescope Solutions also offer a variety of cameras, telescopes, binoculars and children’s educational toys and activities. They are open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. The shop is located in Market Square at 85 Main Street in Stony Brook Village. For more information, call 631-475-1118.

Schnitzels is the newest eatery in Stony Brook Village, occupying the former Grist Mill Eatery. A collaborative concept between Crazy Beans & Brew Cheese, the restaurant will offer an all-day menu that will feature German bratwurst and pretzels, different variations of schnitzel with other fun dishes. They will be serving eggs for breakfast, lunch sandwiches, dinner appetizers with share plates, and entrees, all available for take-out. They will have a beer and wine list that will include German style beers and local craft beer on tap. 

Schnitzels will be open seven days a week. Their soft opening will begin Tuesday, June 27 and their hours until grand opening will be Monday through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. The eatery is located in Market Square at 77 Main Street in Stony Brook Village. For more information, call 631-675-1478.

The community gathers for free outdoor concerts at the Stony Brook Village Center every summer.

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMOH) has announced the long awaited return of the Summer Concert Series on the Village Green. These free concerts will take place in front the Stony Brook Post Office at 7 p.m. on Sundays from July 9 to August 20.

Performances include: Just Sixties, the longest running sixties tribute band in the United States, on July 9; Country Rhythms, a country music line dance instruction group, on July 16; Gene Casey and the Lone Sharks, the premier barroom troubadour and house band, on July 23; The Rustlers, a high energy group performing southern rock songs on July 30; The Bob and Tony Band, Covering your favorite hits of the 50s, 60s, 70s & beyond on August 6.; The Equity Brass Band, a six piece ensemble performing in the tradition of the New Orleans Brass Bands on August 13; and the Long Island Sound Symphony, an orchestra comprising of about 50 pieces, will perform a combination of light classical songs, movie themes and Broadway tunes on August 20. In the case of rain, the concerts will be cancelled.

The 2023 Summer Concerts Series on the Village Green is made possible by the following sponsors: Tantillo Auto Group, Camco Services of NY, Inc., Realty Three LLC., and Michael Ardolino – Realty Connect USA.

For more information, call 631-751-2244 or visit www.wmho.org.

From left, Dr. Richard Rugen, Chairman, WMHO; Gloria Rocchio, President, WMHO; Chris Richey, Trustee, WMHO; Dr. Taylor Evans, Stony Brook University School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences; Kathleen Mich, Trustee, WMHO; Deborah Boudreau, Education Director, WMHO; Charles Napoli, Trustee, WMHO. In attendance virtually: Jamie Parker, The Fullwood Foundation; Nicole Sarno, Business Manager Director, Business Banking, Webster Bank; Jon Dilley, President, Mill River Wetland Committee. Not pictured: The Frey Family Foundation. Photo from WMHO

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO) hosted its third Long  Island Sound Connections Summit last week. This virtual, hands-on collaborative learning program connects  students across Long Island Sound and allows them to conduct their own research to better understand the water  systems in their environment.  

Long Island Sound Connections is the first program to connect both shores with students from New York and  Connecticut — with virtual class check-ins, “summits” where students present their findings, an ongoing collection of  data, and an analysis on that information. The Long Island Sound Connections program was designed to help  students learn about the Long Island Sound and to inspire them to become ‘citizen scientists’ and protect their  environment. The program is offered via distance learning from the WMHO’s Erwin J. Ernst Marine Conservation  Center (EMCC), where students have front row seats to one of the most pristine natural resources in New York  State.  

Dr. Taylor Evans and WMHO Education Director Deborah Boudreau sharing information with classes about different species (such as horse shoe crabs) that have survived in the Long Island Sound, some for over 445 million years. Photo from WMHO.

WMHO collaborated with Stony Brook University’s Ecology and Evolution Distinguished Professor Jeffrey  Levinton, and Dr. Taylor Evans of Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences to  develop a system of data collection parameters for monitoring and analyzing West Meadow Creek’s water quality  and species counts. 

Professor Levinton and Dr. Evans will continue to support WMHO in developing this  multipronged project that seeks to educate the public by providing data representing the creek’s health over time to  the public and researchers. They will also assist participating classes to in continuing to learn about the Long Island  Sound environment on an ongoing basis.  

The third “summit” of classes in this program was between Ms. Michelle Miller and Ms. Doreen Barry’s 6th grade  Science class from Selden Middle School and Ms. Jess Castoro’s 6th grade Science class from Achievement First  Bridgeport Academy Middle School, who worked in collaboration with Mill River Wetland Committee. 

The 2023  “summit” participants have been researching the Sound for six months, and with assistance from professionals in the  field, have learned the environmental impact of industrialization, recent achievements on mitigating the effects, and  how to utilize their data in the future by monitoring the Sound. 

Each class created specialized newscasts to showcase  their findings on the relationships between water quality, animal and plant species, and even with human impact. In  this cross sectional study of the Sound, students compared and contrasted their two environments (suburban and  urban) and presented it to their partner class. 

In addition, the study is longitudinal and seeks to track changes over  time. Data will be added into the WMHOs software to create a data map and timeline to assist environmental  researchers of all ages to understand and appreciate similarities and differences across the Long Island Sound.  

With grants provided by the Fullwood Foundation, the Frey Family Foundation and Webster Bank, this program  was offered to participating classes free of charge. All costs associated with the program were sponsored by these  organizations.  

For more information about the WMHO, on the Long Island Sound Connection program, other historic,  environmental and scientific programs that the WMHO offers, please call 631-751-2244 or visit wmho.org. 

The Stony Brook Post Office by Dino Rinaldi

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization has announced the in-person return of its annual fundraiser, the Summer Soirée. The event will be held on Thursday, June 22 at the newly renovated Three Village Inn in Stony Brook, “where it all began.”

The event will raise funds to support the restoration of the 20’ wooden eagle that is affixed to the pediment above the Stony Brook Post Office. This beloved local and national treasure has flapped its wings every hour on the hour for over 80 years.

Funds raised will also support two new engines for the Discovery Pontoon boat, digitizing Ward Melville’s archives, repairs to the roof at the Brewster House (c.1665), a new exhibit at the Thompson House (c.1709), as well as education programs. 

The benefit will honor community members Katharine Griffiths, Director of Avalon Park and Preserve; Olivia and Harlan Fischer; Sally Lynch, President of Old Field Farm Ltd.; Nicole Sarno, Business Managing Director, Business Banking, Webster Bank; and awarded posthumously, philanthropist Judi Betts. 

One of the highlights of the event will be a live auction where one of the many wonderful items will be a painting of the Stony Brook Post Office by Setauket artist Dino Rinaldi who has been working on creating this beautiful work of art on the Village Green over the last few weeks. 

The WMHO will take phone call bids for the painting from the public until 5 p.m. on June 21. Valued at $1,200, bids for the painting will begin at $400. The successful bidder of the painting will be announced on June 22 and will receive a phone call or email the following day. 

For further information, please call 631-751-2244.

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO) will host a walking tour, “Anchors Away!,” on Tuesday June 13 at 4 p.m. and on Wednesday,  June 14 at 10 a.m.

Explore the nautical side of Stony Brook Village’s history with brand new stories during this hour long tour. Investigate the  suspicious death of Commander Charles C. Hall, learn about the Polaris Expedition disaster, hear the tales of the Hercules figurehead’s world-wide journeys, get the full scoop on the Smiths of Stony Brook and more.

Tours leave from the Stony Brook Grist Mill, 100 Harbor Road, Stony Brook. Rain date is June 20. $15 per person. To reserve your spot, call 631-751-2244.  

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO) recently announced the creation of the WMHO West Meadow Field Guide and GCIS Survey. Working hand-in-hand, these creations will allow the public to identify and record environmental and ecological data.

Using the field guide to identify plants and animal species within the preserve, the public can store species and water quality data on the GCIS Survey webpage. The survey will be available soon on the WMHO website (WMHO.org). During preliminary testing, Ms. Megan Frey of the Frey Family Foundation found and recorded calanoid, a microscopic arthropod, within her first sample of wetlands water.

The announcement at the WMHO’s Earth Day event —Wetlands Legacies — at the Dr. Erwin Ernst Marine Conservation Center at West Meadow Creek Preserve on April 22. 

The event included guest speakers Megan Frey and Distinguished Professor of Ecology and Evolution Dr. Jeffrey Levinton, as well as a specially created drone video of the wetlands habitats by Nathan Levinton. The WMHO Youth Corps led exhibits that educated the public on water quality testing, the species of the area, the expeditions and life of world-renowned naturalist and ornithologist Dr. Robert Cushman Murphy, as well as the environmental challenges of WMHO’s pristine 88-acre wetlands preserve. Murphy, along with Dr. Erwin Ernst and Ward Melville, worked together in 1960 to create the West Meadow Creek Preserve.

Elected officials in attendance included former New York State Assemblyman, Steve Englebright,  Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine and Town of Brookhaven Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich, who spoke about the various aspects of Long Island’s ecology and environments, as well as Dr. Murphy’s role in protecting them.