Saturday, October 11, 2008
Yesterday morning I had a breakfast meeting at the Candy Kitchen in Bridgehampton and it gave me a chance to drive the back roads early in the day. I think the southern route between East Hampton and Bridgehampton is among the most beautiful on the East End, with its lush green farm fields stretching toward the ocean and the big old farmhouses that survive, sitting majestically along the roadside.
When I was young, the drive between East Hampton and Southampton along Montauk Highway was very much like the back roads are today. Once we left the outer edges of East Hampton Village we passed farm field after farm field, an occasional house tucked in amongst them - but for the most part all open space. I remember the old State Trooper barracks which meant we were close to Bridgehampton (and civilization) again. Then once past the drive-in theater we were back in farmland, with row upon row of white-blossomed potato plants as far as the eye could see. At certain times of the year the visibility was pretty poor as the tractors worked those fields, the dust creating clouds that spread across the road.
The back roads evoke many memories for me - among them is the frustration of being stuck behind potato trucks as they slowly made their way to the big potato barn that stood where the Bridgehampton Bank is now (near the K-Mart shopping center).
I miss the simplicity of life here in the decades that followed WWII but I know that every community was different then. It was a time of great optimism and growth in this country and spirits were high. No place is the same now as it was in the 1950s, especially the East End. But...when I need a little taste of the past, a memory of simpler times, I head for the back roads - through Wainscott, past the Osborn farm and the little schoolhouse, along the wonderful winding roads of Sagaponack, past the Sag store, and eventually into Bridgehampton where the past meets the present again.
It's a nice little break.