Great News for Refuge

Like many other lovers of the Quogue Wildlife Refuge, At Quaquanantuck has lamented many times over the last five years that the boardwalk through the charmingly named Fairy Dell section of the Refuge property has been closed to the public. The horrifying question that too often sprang to mind was whether or not it would ever be open again. And, if not, what a terrible waste it would be of the hard work and materials that went into building it in the first place.

Fairy Dell broken
The dilapidated condition of the boardwalk and viewing stations at Fairy Dell necessitated closing the area to the public five years ago. –Photos courtesy QWR

It is therefore a great joy to report that a grant of $142,778 to the Quogue Wildlife Refuge from the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation announced this week will cover the cost of restoring and rebuilding the QWR’s Fairy Dell Boardwalk at the headwaters of Quantuck Creek.

The boardwalk, originally constructed as a catwalk through the beautiful tidal wetlands of the Refuge, has been closed due to dilapidation and decaying wood. view from Fairy Dell boardwalkIt was first built over the winter of 1983-84, after the Refuge became the beneficiary of the first “Return A Gift to Wildlife” grant, drawn from a fund established by New York State from donations by NYS income tax payers on their tax forms.  The 1,500 foot long boardwalk overlooks Quantuck Creek at three terminal platforms. The Fairy Dell—which sounds like something out of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”—is the local name for the headwaters of Quantuck Creek, visible from the boardwalk platforms.

Over the decades since it was originally built, summer ecology camp kids, guided groups, visitors and birders have enjoyed exploring on the Fairy Dell Boardwalk. A wonderful teaching spot, it is a beautiful area to observe wildlife, encompassing a very different habitat from the main sanctuary property.

Ladies Fairy Dell 1910
Quogue ladies at Fairy Dell circa 1910

The generous grant from the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation will not only allow the QWR to rebuild this much missed boardwalk, but will also allow for the placement of educational signage about the local history of the area and flora and fauna along the walk. This project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2018.

The Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation, established in 1987, primarily supports the study of New York State history. The late Robert David Lion Gardiner, who died in August of 2004, was the 16th Lord of the Manor of Gardiner’s Island, which lies between Montauk and Orient in Gardiner’s Bay. Since 1639 the Gardiner family and their descendants have owned the island, obtained as part of a royal grant from King Charles I of England. The Foundation was inspired by Robert David Lion Gardiner’s personal passion for New York history. For more information, visit

Winter Botany Walk Scheduled at Refuge on Sunday, January 28

A “Winter Botany Walk” at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge has been scheduled for this weekend, on Sunday, January 28, starting at 9:30 a.m.

skunk cabbage
Symplocarpus foetidus, or skunk cabbage.

The approximately 90-minute wintertime botany walk around the Refuge—a free program for adults and families—will concentrate on trees, shrubs and other plant species. Bark, buds and seeds observed will be used to identify plants. Hikers will also be on the lookout for early blooming skunk cabbage, a sign that spring is not too far away. The walk will be led by Park Ranger MaryLaura Lamont of William Floyd Estate Fire Island National Seashore.

Call 631-653-4771 to register or to ascertain what to do in the event of inclement weather.

Five More Performances of “Venus in Fur” at Quogue Community Hall

Critics and audience members have been raving about the Hampton Theatre Company production of “Venus in Fur,” the David Ives comedy playing for five more performances this week at the Quogue Community Hall.

Here’s a sample:

“Tina Jones gives an electric performance as Vanda.” —Barbara Schuler (Newsday)

“As Thomas, Vaughan does a brilliant job of attempting to maintain the upper hand of professionalism in the face of Vanda’s prowess. Tina Jones is a true tour-de-force as Vanda. This is not a simplistic role, yet her ability to step in and out of the character of Wanda von Dunayev while pressing Thomas on the deeper, intellectual motives behind his own play is mesmerizing.” —Annette Hinkle (Sag Harbor Express)

Venus in Fur 4
Tina Jones and Tristan Vaughan. –Tom Kochie Photo

“What a fantastic performance!  These two actors were enthralling. Thank you for bringing so much sparkle into our bleak winter.” —Lorraine Simone

The cast of “Venus in Fur” features Tristan Vaughan playing Thomas Novachek and Tina Jones in the role of Vanda. HTC Artistic Director Diana Marbury directs. Set design is by Sean Marbury; lighting design by Sebastian Paczynski; and costumes by Teresa Lebrun.

The final five shows of “Venus in Fur” will be on Thursday and Friday at 7, Saturday at 2:30 and 8 and Sunday at 2:30. There will once again be a special lunch and theater package available for the Saturday matinee at 2:30 p.m. on January 27, offered by HTC in association with the Quogue Club at the Hallock House.

To reserve tickets, visit, or call OvationTix at 1-866-811-4111. For information on the Quogue Club matinee package, visit the HTC website or call 631-653-8955.

Silent Film Screening at Library Features Charlie Chase Collection

The Silent Film Saturday screening at the Quogue Library this weekend will feature a collection of films featuring Charlie Chase, known as “the master of the comedy of embarrassment.”

The free screening begins at 2 p.m. on Saturday, January 27, at the library, and the collection includes several of the best films out of 45 that Chase made with the director Leo McCarey. To register, call the library at 631-653-4224, ext. 101.  

Final Weekend of Harvey Herman Exhibition at Library

This is the final weekend for the January exhibit of works by Harvey Herman at the Quogue Library. The exhibition features paintings of some of Mr. Herman’s favorite subjects, including images of his koi pond, indigenous wildlife, local waterfront landscapes and winter scenes.

Art Gallery Committee members Carroll Highet, Cristina Kepner and Maya Ryvicker are chairs of this show, which will be on exhibit from January 3 to 29.

International Dinners Return to the Inn Spot

The Inn Spot on the Bay down by the Ponquogue Bridge is once again offering international dinners on Friday and Saturday evenings. The three-course prix fixe is $39; reservations are recommended.

This weekend, the Inn Spot will feature a plant based menu. Such is the appeal of such a menu that the restaurant is already fully booked for Saturday night. For more information or reservations for Friday night, call 631-728-1200 or visit

At Quaquanantuck encourages readers to send in news and notes and photos of interest to Quogue residents, even if the items are being sent from winter addresses or other parts of the country. Friends and family who enjoy all things Quogue are encouraged to email and ask to be put on the mailing list, or just to visit and feel free to follow.

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