The 2023 Season in Review



OHS’s summer schedule, jam-packed with compelling exhibitions, fun events, appealing community gatherings, and interesting happenings, was well-received and well-attended. Here are some of the highlights:



Historic House Tour

Every day we at OHS marvel at the beauty and architectural legacy of the Orient Historic District. It seemed only proper, in early June, to share the stories behind a dozen or so noteworthy Orient houses with an equally appreciative public. Preceding the House Tour, the Town of Southold Preservation Commission hosted a Historic Preservation & Discussion at Poquatuck Hall that was open to an engaged and curious public.  Then—as well as now—OHS was grateful for the generous support of our exclusive event sponsor, The Lisa Gillooly Team at Compass Real Estate, andof courseall of the homeowners who generously displayed their residences.



NY Mutuals vs. Oysterponders Vintage Baseball Game

June 17th marked the third annual vintage baseball game between the powerful visiting NY Mutuals and a ragtag-but-imposing squad of Oysterponds hard-ballers (both squads pictured above). In an ages-old tradition of good sportmanship, at the game’s conclusion the umpire cried out, “Gentlemen and ladies, for the glory of the game: Huzzah!” Thanks again go to Tom Dyja, among many others, for making it such a 21st century success!



14th Annual Heritage Day

The 14th Annual Heritage Day program started with a splendid parade down Village Lane led by the Orient Yacht Club as Grand Marshals; a patriotic bike decoration contest; a welcome and invocation at the Old Point Schoolhouse; the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance; “God Bless America” sung by Franklin Mastrangelo; the traditional reading of the Declaration of Independence; and music by the Mudflats, hot dogs, sweet treats, and kids’ games in Poquatuck Park. A big thank-you goes to Heritage Day Committee Co-chairs Catherine Craig-Chaudhuri & Sarah Olmstead, and their mighty team of volunteers.



Moby Dick Reading Half-Marathon Weekend

OHS’s first annual read-a-thon of America’s most iconic novel spanned an entire weekend and not only featured over 30 readers dramatically reciting excerpts from Melville’s epic, but also included Children’s Programming, a Whaling Talk by John Holzapfel, a sea shanties sing-a-long, and an outstanding dinner of chowder, biscuits & beverages attended by over 200 landlubbers. A special thanks to the tireless Committee Chair, EJ Camp, the legion of eager and enthusiastic volunteers, and—of course—all of the readers!



Kids’ Activities & Events

On multiple occasions throughout the summer, the hard-working Education Committee devised fun and interesting activities and field trips. Engaging programming was inspired by current exhibitions and included a stimulating birding-themed presentation by John Holtzapfel. Moby Dick Weekend events included scrimshaw craft time, led by Jimena Faerber; Colin Palmer reading a children’s version of Moby Dick and directing an improvised tableau; and the construction of an amazing white whale that was paraded down Village Lane. Huge thanks to Lindsay Pollack, Ann Hulsmann, Sarah Olmstead, Jan Rose, Linda Sabbatino, Mary Beth Stingel, Carol Tuthill, Ruth Tuthill, and Terry Werden.



The Summer Benefit

On August 5th, over 400 friends, neighbors, and family members came together in one of the East End’s most beautiful settings—Poquatuck Park, overlooking Orient Harbor at sunset—to celebrate summer and to benefit Oysterponds Historical Society. Delicious food and drink, an exciting live art auction as well as an online auction of art and experiences, and festive music was enjoyed by all. Kudos to the Event Chairs, Michael Ventura and Carl Valentino, and to the Art Committee, Catherine Chermayeff, Emily Bellos, and Katie Sonnenborn, for all their hard work! OHS is grateful for the generous support of our event sponsors: Morgan Stanley; At Your Service (AYS) Tents & Events; and Lori M. Feilen of Town & Country Real Estate.



Free Family Nights on the Schoolhouse Lawn

OHS is delighted to offer numerous free community events throughout the summer. This year, programming included Oysterponds favorites, the Mudflats, who once again got a loyal audience’s feet a-tappin’ with a solid hour and a half of traditional American music inspired by the creative melting pot of music that grew out of the southern Appalachian region.

And, for the third year in a row, The Incredible Magic of Amore mesmerized young and old alike. The sleights-of-hand were mystifying and the jokes delightfully corny and, on a beautiful summer evening in Orient, everybody assembled had a fantastic time.



Berries for Birds

On September 9th, Ellen Birenbaum gave a compelling and timely talk to a rapt audience in the Old Point Schoolhouse entitled, “Berries for Birds: A Community Effort to Provide Habitat for Birds.” She reviewed the science of co-evolution of native plants, insects and birds, the nutritional properties of berries by season, and described in detail the wide range of berry producing trees and shrubs that are native to the North Fork.


North Fork Art & Artists Exhibition & Sale

North Fork Art & Artists Exhibition & Sale celebrated local artists’ generosity to OHS over the years and of all that they give to our community. The show was held at the Old Point Schoolhouse and all works exhibited were for sale.



Halloween Celebration


Trick or treaters and their adult chaperones enjoyed fanciful jack-o-lanterns, treats, apple cider, and scary music on the Old Point Schoolhouse Lawn.




Buildings & Grounds Update


A very strong case can be made that the OHS campus—comprised of seven historic buildings and 8 1/2 acres of grounds—looks the best it has in years. This year the Buildings & Grounds Committee has directed a host of necessary repairs, both small and large, as well as much-needed landscaping, including weeding, trimmed shrubs and pruned trees all around campus, and removal of invasive shrubbery.

Buildings maintenance projects included the painting of the entire exterior of Webb House (above), as well as replacement of rotting trim and gutters; all porches and the Hallock ramp were cleaned and sealed; and the base of the Vail House chimney was stabilized and reinforced… the list goes on and on and is a lot longer than we have room for here! Many thanks to Committee Chair Jennifer Valentino and members Dick Gillooly, Tim Frost, John Holzapfel, Joyce Holzapfel, Evan Lewis, Carl Valentino, and Mike Ventura for all their effort, expertise, and time.







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