“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
I was told that I needed to travel to “The Hamptons.” It was a journey of many miles and required travel over several large water courses. The Hamptons are on the Long Island of New York State.
Its nature is one of sand dunes, pines, and junipers. In the fall it’s spotted with large colonies of Montauk Daisies. It is a summer retreat for wealthy city dwellers. They look to the cooling ocean breezes and the proximity to salt water to remind them of comfort and ease against the stress of Manhattan.
There are many mansions. One that we visited was called Old Westbury. It was grander in scope and dimension than any of the finest residences in Philadelphia.
The dining room alone would encompass my entire house of Kingsessing.
But the turn in the gardens was worth the ransom of a King. They were magnificent. The borders were developed and planted along the English model. The grand sweep of lawns would have graced any Duke or Baron’s estate designed by Lancelot Capability Brown.
On the West Porch of the mansion there is an ancient Beech (Fagus sylvatica) This large specimen was transplanted into its position many years ago while it was already a gigantic caliper tree. The effort is greatly appreciated because its situation is perfectly scaled to the garden room at that end of the house.
I was invited to speak at the garden club of Westhampton Beach. We met in the mansion-house of a sequestered golf course. The room was crowded but lit through large expanses of clerestory windows.
High cream tea was served in the dining room. Ann and I were treated well with all of the trimmings associated with leisure and royal breeding. I felt like I had been transported to London in the time of my great correspondent, Peter Collinson.
At the end of the day, it was pleasant to think that we could relax in Old Westbury’s gazebo as the sun sank in the west. West Hampton.