If you have a taste for America's earliest history and you yearn to live near the water, especially the bays, then you have found the right place! ... It's all about the Hamptons and a place called North Sea: A VACATION Wonderland of authentic History and beauty!
North Sea (Originally called Nord Sea) is made up of a chain of tiny bay front communities that rim the water ways of the Great Peconic Bay and Little Peconic Bay and their tributaries. Miles and miles of protected wild life preserve link the grassy wetlands and calm, slow moving canals that identify this area for the visitor. Waterfowl, wild turkeys, cormorants and Long Island ducks populate these grasslands in abundance. Small rodents and other wild life populate the wooded areas and are found in great numbers as well. Here, in the Wonderland of the Hamptons, and among some of the most fragile and beautiful land of the area, cottages were built in keeping with a life style long gone. The "fisherman's cottage" style is the dominant one. A few large houses have appeared just recently but they are rare and usually stand out obtrusively in the landscape.
In one of my last posts about the area,(Southampton Is A Throwback To Days Gone-By...And Not Just A Playground For The Rich And Famous!!!) specifically Southampton and it's very special environment, I covered the history of Southampton Village. In that post, I talked about the historical parts of Southampton and in several cases I mentioned the fact that the folks who settled this area first came ashore in 1640 in the area now known as North Sea. They came from Lynn, Massachusetts and sailed down the coast line, looking for the perfect place to fish, farm and settle down for the long term away from the rest of their fellow settlers from England. They chose this area because of it's verdant "flats" near the bays and the ocean; they knew that a long term settlement could prosper here; farming was a better than average possibility and fishing was the crowning livelyhood!
NORTH SEA FISHING COTTAGES--NOW USED AS SUMMER "GET-AWAYS"
These small, neat cottages usually have a stone fireplace; if the cottage was built before 1950, there is a tradition of heating the buildings with the fireplace. The most typical spot to find these small houses is near or on the bay beaches.
Families came from upper New York state and Connecticut to build these little places; they built them on "dots" of land; land that was literally unusable for anything else. In more recent times, these cottages were built for low cost vacation homes for the families who could not afford the village or the ocean side of the Hamptons. Many blissful summers were spent by numbers of the same family; they were then passed on down through the family. Even today you can find the names of families who have been here for almost 2 centuries, enjoying the bay way of life: fishing, swimming in the bays, hiking and treasure hunting on the beach for ancient remnants of shipwrecks and hurricanes.
Conscience Point lies about 5 miles North of Southampton Villageoff North Sea Road, and is the name of the point of a sand bar, a large one, that juts out into the great Peconic bay. It is an innocuous piece of land that can barely even be identified as an important place, except for the large sign posted at the opening of the now protected area. Then you follow a series of low wooden benches, not meant for sitting but for marking the location of the pathway, taken by the early colonists further onto the mainland....and this is it! Nothing more to indicate the importance of this area; nothing to show the struggles and the suffering that must have taken place as the group of 30 or so colonists settled in.
THE PATH ON THE RIGHT IS WHERE THE SETTLERS FIRST STEPPED ASHORE
Drive straight North and you will find even more treasures of the past...
North Sea Road goes all the way to the Great Peconic Bay and it's lovely beaches and it's even more beautiful preserved wetlands and miles of protected wild life reserve. If you are lucky enough you will find the North Sea beach Colony, right on the way to the end of the road. You can't drive through it but you can see it from the road as you head to the Great Peconic Bay Beach. Built in 1915, this private bay front community is quickly changing from the modest bungalows to larger houses; one is even reminiscent of a Georgian Manor House and sits high on the bluff. This particular bay colony is only one of many that dot the shoreline of the Great Peconic bay. Bay life is desired by many over living near the ocean...these hearty souls are usually weekend and holiday fishermen, and they dream of the way things used to be. Their lives reflect the past in many ways and they guard it carefully.
In the same vicinity and again, just off north Sea Road, is a treasure beyond anything else in the Hamptons--The Salms Estate is a private lodge on the shores of Great peconic bay and the historical "Port of Missing Men". Below is the drive-way that wanders about a half mile back to the Lodge and the famous game farm, an exclusive place for invited guests to shoot wild game. Carefully scheduled "culling" of certain wild life, like the prolific ducks that live here, allows for shooting at appropriate times. The Port was named as such by it's earliest residents.
Many a yarn has been spun about this famous early estate; one thing that is a fact is that the early families of the original settlers built the lodge over time in the early 1700's, girding it with canons on parapets and powerful stone embankments on the North side of the Lodge to protect it's privacy and to fight off possible invaders.
It was in fact, a lodge that was eventually used by wealthy men who came from accross the globe to shoot wild game on the land; a place where they would "disappear" for their long retreats from the business world..thus the mysterious name: "Port Of Missing Men"
The preserves of the North Sea area are exquisitely laced between the bays and inlets.
When you have a day to spend on a trail, lingering to enjoy the calm and peace that is found here, you must go to the Morton Wild Life Refuge.
Immediately off the familiar Noyac Road (the main road North) is a very large sign designating the Refuge; back in, along a winding pathway you can get a feeling of some very carefully planned protection for all that lives in this spot. The very way the animals react to humans is different than anywhere else. YOU MUST BE VERY QUIET...and approach this special place as if it is a cathedral in the wild. Respect for these tiny creatures peace and quiet is of the utmost importance; in return, they will give you a thrill that you are not apt to have unless you go here with the intent to NOT disturb the peace.
Be sure to take a pocketful of bird seed--not too big in size since the tiny creatures will not be able to eat it if it is not small enough--bird seed works just fine! Then wait; wait for 5 minutes or so and the wild life will come to see who you are--no fear because they are rarely threatened here. If you stand very quietly, a handful of seeds held out in the air, you will have the little birds fly right into your hand to eat. They will not bite, they are only there to enjoy the treats. It is an experience you will never forget!
COME TO THE NORTH SEA AREA. IT IS ALL PART OF THE HAMPTONS YET THIS IS NOT A PLACE OF CELEBRITY OR WEALTH; THIS IS A REAL PLACE OF UNCOMPARBLE BEAUTY AND HISTORY---DON'T MISS THIS RARE PIECE OF AMERICAN LIFE!