The holiday season brings stress. It always has and I suppose it always will. The great joy of the season does come with a price in many ways. However there is also a peacefulness that somehow finds its way into the season eventually, too. For me it comes during late drives with Christmas lights flickering off in the distance, or just the beauty of the winter catching my eye.
Over the years I have come to the realization, there is no place like the Hamptons for the holidays. This last week I stopped in The Springs General Store for a coffee and one of those amazing cupcakes they bake there. The front porch of that historic building has had many a person sit, read, talk and munch on it over the last 170 years. This day it was decorated for the holidays. The sounds of the seasons, the feel of the country, and the smell of fresh baked goods have always been the sensations felt on that front porch. After decades in the hands of the Miller family, Kristi L. Hood, a Springs mother of two, now carries on the tradition of keeping the Springs General Store, the cornerstone of the Springs community. She was in there this day supervising her well trained and liked staff. Over the years it has been horses, horse and buggies, Model “T” Fords, and the huge cars of the 1960’s that parked in the lot in front of the store where the Prius’, BMW SUV’s and the other trucks and cars of today park.
When I drove to the East Hampton Post Office later that evening, I drove past the Hook Windmill all lit up for Christmas along with the trees around the Old North Cemetery. The Hook Windmill is another piece of history considering it was built in 1806 during the Thomas Jefferson Administration. The mill it replaced on that same location actually dated back to 1736, a good fifty years before the founding of the United States Federal Government. Think of the all the local folks who have gazed at it over the years, one being me as a child.
I was a reporter who covered the first lighting of the Montauk Lighthouse. Who can ever forget the thousands who watched the lights go on back in 2007 on that very cold night? I still love to drive by when it’s all lit up. Those who live in Montauk know how special Montauk looks driving past the festively lit village square at night. In fact, all the hamlets are decorated as if Norman Rockwell himself was in charge.
One Christmas Eve, the year when I lived in the very heart of East Hampton Village behind Sam’s Pizza in a converted barn home with a great library, I found a James Brady novel I never knew existed titled, A Hamptons Christmas. James Brady made his name writing national columns nationwide and penning a few best-selling novels. I actually read to Jim Brady the first paid article I ever composed in the Hamptons as we both sipped Pacifico beers at the Blue Parrot. He picked up the tab and wished me luck. So of course I began my appreciation of the holidays by binge reading A Hamptons Christmas! The idea of a young girl in an East Hampton home all alone for Christmas while her parents were divorcing drew me in really quick.
There I was sitting in front of a huge fire place with the only sounds coming from the hissing of the fire while I read that book cover to cover. When I finished I walked out of the second story balcony and looked out at the village with all those Christmas trees along Newtown Lane lit up. It started to snow. I remember saying, “There is no place like the Hamptons for the holidays.”