Quogue Gratitude

Honoring a promise made to the late Quogue Village Historian and keeper of the flame Pat Shuttleworth, At Quaquanantuck is happy to share once again—even if it’s not in newsprint that can be put up on the refrigerator anymore—its annual reflection on just a few of the many things for which all of us who are lucky enough to spend time in this blessed community can be truly grateful.

On the meteorological front, we can all be extremely thankful that 2018 was another off year for hurricanes landing on the eastern seaboard, with surfers having to rely on a couple of fierce nor’easters for the kind of waves needed to generate the annual autumn adrenaline.  Still, in view of the devastation wrought down south by first Florence and then Michael, we must always honor the lessons of the past by remaining vigilant, heeding evacuation warnings, and following safety protocols when a major storm has the East End even tangentially in its sights. Hurricane Sandy dealt a horrible blow to our west that affected Long Island all the way out to the East End, and offered a small indicator of what we can expect if a major storm hits the South Fork dead on.

Village Dock
Village Dock.                                                                                            —A. Botsford Photo

We can be thankful for, and humbled by, the courage and community spirit of the members of the Quogue Volunteer Fire Department, ready to make whatever sacrifices are called for to ensure the safety and protect the property of all residents.

And we can be grateful for the fire department providing: fire safety lessons for kids, the Halloween Ghost Parade, support services for Santa’s visit to the Village Green, the Easter Egg hunt, the annual Open House, and the upcoming pancake breakfast and Chinese auction at the firehouse on Sunday, November 25, from 8 a.m. to noon to help us all regroup at the end of the long weekend of feasting and family gatherings.

Likewise we can be thankful that we are blessed with the talented teams of people who work for the Village of Quogue and serve in village government, in the Village Office, on the police force, and out on the roads and bays: their dedication and community spirit translates into a better quality of life for all of us.

We can be grateful that our beautiful Community Hall is a center for the performing arts on eastern Long Island, home to the Quogue Junior Theater Troupe and the Hampton Theatre Company as well as the Quogue Chamber Music series, all possible because of the support of the fine folks in Village Hall, donors, subscribers, volunteers and creative people dedicated to making theater of the highest quality to honor this support.

SI gateway
                                                                                                                                          —A. Botsford Photo

We can give thanks that Quogue has one of the best schools on the East End—and in all of New York State—courtesy of the caring and committed teachers, administrators, support staff and the Parent Teacher Association all working together to create a truly superlative and nurturing educational experience.

Quogue is blessed, too, with a fantastic library that serves as the cultural beating heart of the village. Give credit for that to an enthusiastic and thoroughly engaged board of directors and an accomplished and helpful staff. And in recognition of the vital role the library has in binding our community together, across generations, different viewpoints and disciplines, the library board has won the support of all in the village for a renovation and expansion that will allow it to continue as the vibrant core of life in Quogue.

We can be very grateful that the library board, the staff and the Quogue Fire Department have worked to ensure that library services will still be available at the Midland Street temporary facility and public programs can continue in the friendly confines of the firehouse.

Another jewel of our village is the Quogue Historical Society, managing and curating the artifacts and accounts of Quogue’s storied history dating back to the 17th century, for the benefit of young and old today and for generations to come.

SI Rough Passage
Rough passage.                                                                                                          —A. Botsford Photo

On the northern border of our village sits another reason to be thankful: the Quogue Wildlife Refuge, where—thanks to the Southampton Town Wildfowl Association, the village, the town, and thousands of supporters since 1934—all of us are welcome to wander and experience and learn about the unspoiled natural beauty of this area, the flora and fauna and hundreds of direct links to the spirit of Quogue’s past. 

Although the Westhampton Garden Club doesn’t have our village name in its title, Quogue is clearly ever-present in the hearts and minds of its members. The WGC established and maintains all the public gardens in Quogue, including the flowers and greenery at the Village Green; the historic garden at the Quogue Library; and the Butterfly Garden at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge, calling attention to “The Pollinators” and threats to the monarch butterfly and bee populations, among others.

Need more? How about the Quogue Association? Nothing inspires gratitude like the efforts of a group of people who get together to inform, educate, and do good works based on a shared love for the place where they live. 

The beautiful, tree-lined “business district” of our village, on Jessup Avenue and out to Montauk Highway, has never been more vibrant, with a wondrous makeover of the Quogue Country Market, shops offering a range of goods to delight all ages and tastes, and even the beautiful private Quogue Gallery, where an opening reception is scheduled this weekend, on Saturday, November 24, from 5 to 7 p.m. for a new exhibition featuring the work of Quogue painters Ellen Ball, Margo Carr and Holland Cunningham and photographer Veronique Louis.

Nor east manes
Wind manes.                                                                                                                   —A. Botsford Photo

Continue with the checklist: The Post Office, the Board of Election volunteers, the Village Dock and boat launching ramps, the expanded Village Beach facility and the drawbridge that provides access to it, the Quogue Cemetery Association: all of these places and institutions and the people who work for them and who make them work so well: all of  these contribute essential and cultural services, texture and color to make Quogue truly beautiful, and unique.

At Quaquanantuck is aware that these are the most obvious elements of life in our village that prompt our gratitude. For a more nuanced view, it is hoped that readers will send in their thoughts about—and/or photos of—things about living in Quogue they are thankful for. Please send to AtQuaq@gmail.com, for possible publication in next week’s column.  

With so much misfortune, so many forced to flee their homes in countries around the globe and so many challenges facing so much of the world today, may we all be ever mindful of all the natural beauty and the many blessings we share in this village as we celebrate this holiday of gratitude. Happy Thanksgiving!

Sentinel Gull
Sentinel gull.                                                                                                           —Patricia Prentis Photo

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