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By Mark Keegan

Although we are yet to enjoy Thanksgiving, merchants are already ramping up for The Big One — the Christmas holiday season. The “shop local” campaign resonates strongly in our town leading to a bustling Purchase Street come December.

Surprisingly, the name Purchase Street is not a subtle suggestion to shoppers. One of Rye’s oldest streets dates to John Harrison’s 1695 “purchase” of a large section of Westchester from Native Americans. In doing so, Harrison disregarded Rye’s first European settlers, who laid claim to much of the same land 35 years earlier. Now known as the Town of Harrison, the road to this area from the small hamlet that was Rye was known simply as “the road to Harrison’s purchase” and, eventually, Purchase Street.

Mr. Harrison could not have contemplated the future parking issues on his little path. The scramble for a spot has begun, as anyone who has ventured into town in the afternoon lately knows full well.

The parking drill has become routine for many. Step one: a trip down Purchase Street just to see if it’s your lucky day (no spots, it isn’t). Step two: surrendering to the meters, you cycle through one of the parking lots (nothing). Step three: a gander through another lot (almost got a spot, just missed it). Step four: desperate for a spot, you now engage in “the hover,” awkward parking behavior where you circle the lots wide-eyed like a prowling hawk, even following pedestrians in the hope that they approach a vehicle. If they do, a quick blinker wards off the other cars. Then you wait an average of six minutes as the person in the car toils in oblivion (usually on their phone) before freeing up your well-earned spot.

As you wait those six minutes, below is a holiday favorite adapted to your local shopping adventures that you can sing to keep you sane. Sing proudly shoppers.

<<Purchase Street Parking>> (condensed chorus)

On the first day of Christmas

My true love sent to me:

A parking space that is actually free.

Two parking tickets,

Three fire hydrants,

Four compacts only,

Five magnet things,

Six double parkings,

Seven strollers swerving,

Eight moms a moving,

Nine white Mercedes,

Ten dads a darting,

Eleven pedestrians texting, 

Twelve distracted drivers.

Walking never looked so good. Happy holidays and good luck!

 

By Jana Seitz

Pullquote: I had come in peace, to find an entry point on the Appalachian Trail for an autumnal stroll, and left having found the Housatonic.

I realize I’m late to the party, but not having grown up around here I had no idea the Housatonic River existed. I “discovered” it quite by accident, and have not been the same since. Can’t eat, can’t sleep. What other wonders are out there waiting for me? I only just scratched the surface of New York, then BAM, Connecticut!

New York seems to avoid looking Connecticut in the eye, skirting around her and passing through only when necessary. Do I detect a tinge of competition, an innate rivalry? If yes, the seed was planted long ago and actually involved the Housatonic, which posed a natural barrier to east-west travel. The CT/NY border was hotly contested and remained in dispute until after the Revolution. At issue were significant mineral deposits, high-quality iron ore and the limestone needed to refine it, and several cuts through the Hudson Highlands to the Hudson River Valley. Colonial roadways used the shallow fords to cross. Then covered bridges were built in the 19th century, two of which still stand at Bull’s Bridge and West Cornwall.

My story begins at Bull’s Bridge. I had come in peace, to find an entry point on the Appalachian Trail for an autumnal stroll, and left having found the Housatonic, returning every day for a week to explore.

On the first day, I met a through-hiker named Twin (not his real name…Appalachian Trail hikers are given trail names by other hikers…this guy hiked so fast that other hikers thought he must have a twin). He dubbed me “trail angel,” the only angel status I’ll probably ever achieve, and all I did to deserve it was fetch him water from a pump and give him my lunch. Only 8% of through-hikers go north to south, and markers are often difficult to see as most are on the other side of the trees. I got my wings just as I heard the noon bells of Kent, bringing me back to the cold truth that I was only a mile from town.

My second Wilderness Fantasy was interrupted by the sight of two Rumsey Hall buses on an adjacent road, a friend’s son going to soccer. Then I mistook two men with leaf blowers as through-hikers. Although the Wilderness can swallow you up quickly, you’re never that far from civilization on the Connecticut and New York sections of the Trail. (I did the same thing in Scotland my first day on the John Muir Trail, letting my imagination run wild. I swear I heard bagpipes and smelled heather only to realize I was in someone’s yard…a HUGE yard, but a yard nevertheless.)

I did my due diligence before my next trips to learn more about the river, and I can’t wait to paddle it come spring.

The Housatonic flows 149 miles southward from Pittsfield, Mass., to its outfall on the Long Island Sound at Milford Point in Stratford, Conn., dropping 959 feet in elevation on its way. I’ve only dissected the 17-mile section from Kent to West Cornwall, but it’s as chock-full of surprises as Christmas morning. Its beauty has attracted settlers from all walks of life through the ages. On the west bank, it is home to the Schaghticoke Indian Reservation, established in 1736, and a strange-bedfellow neighbor, the Kent School, founded in 1906. On the east bank are Kent Falls and Housatonic State Parks boasting waterfalls, hiking, fishing, and camping.

I’d avoid the crowds on weekends and summer, but on school days it’s all yours. The Schaghticoke were a branch of the Mohicans whose word “Us-ia-die-nuk” (meaning “river of the mountain place”) became “Housatonic.” I also found a honey hole in Falls River Village, three miles up the river from West Cornwall: a 70-foot drop from the dam, built in 1913, for hydroelectricity and recreational use.

It’s a grand adventure, only 60ish miles from Rye. In the words of Thoreau, “It is pleasant to have been to a place the way a river went.”

Box

Bull’s Bridge: Take 684 North to 22 North to 55 East, right to Dog Trail Corners Road, left to intersection of Route 7 in Kent. Park in lot over bridge on right and walk back across. There’s a Canoe Portage Trail to your north, a short walk to the river above the falls. But the best is south of the road, marked by a trailhead sign. Excellent maps can be found at www.hikethehudsonvalley.com and www.berkshirehiking.com.

West Cornwall: There’s a small parking lot just before you cross the covered bridge, or cross bridge and park on the road.

Falls River Village: Located three miles north of West Cornwall on Route 7. Just after you cross the river and pass the high school, turn left on Beebe Hill to Main. Turn right on Water Street to Housatonic River Road and follow it to its end at a parking lot at the top of the Falls River Dam. There is a path to the Trail, and the stroll along the raging water is amazing.

 

 

The Housatonic River from Bull’s Bridge

Fly fishing

Covered bridge at West Cornwall

Falls River Village dam flow

The Housatonic downstream from Bull’s Bridge

 

 

Kristine Kennard MacKenzie and Andrew John Sargeantson were married May 20, 2017 at the Church of the Resurrection in Rye. Msgr. Donald M. Dwyer celebrated the wedding mass. A reception followed at Shenorock Shore Club.

The bride is the daughter of Kathy and Ron MacKenzie of Rye. She has pursued a second career and is a recent graduate of Fairfield University’s School of Nursing. She is completing a nursing residency program at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.

The groom is the son of Karen and Nicholas Sargeantson of New Canaan, Conn. He is a graduate of Bowdoin College, and currently employed in the family importing business.

The couple lives in Brooklyn and plans to honeymoon in Greece this fall.

Wainwright House held its 5th Annual Heart & Soul Awards Luncheon on a beautiful May afternoon under the tent overlooking Milton Harbor. The Rye YMCA and Hospice of Westchester were honored for their dedicated service to our community and their commitment to humankind.

Cheers to the spirited and dedicated co-chairs, Holly Galgano and Rita Schubert.

— Photos by Julieane Webb Photography

Captions

# 37 Staff and volunteers of Hospice of Westchester

# 189 The staff of the Rye YMCA

#143 Gregg Howells, Executive Director of the Rye YMCA, accepted the award from William Guyre, Wainwright Board President.

# 182  NYS Assemblyman Steve Otis presented proclamations to Mary K. Spengler, chief executive officer of Hospice of Westchester, and Gregg Howells.

#204 Co-Chairs Holly Galgano and Rita Schubert

# 46 ABC TV News anchor Diana Williams, second from left, was on hand to help present the awards.

# 124 Guests Holly Rom, Mary Iles, and Victoria Dillon enjoying a lovely lunch.

#196 Chris Donley, Sherry Hannigan, Liz Doyle, Michele Flood, and Brigitte Sarnoff

#31 A toast to two wonderful organizations and the community that came out to support them.

#48 Guests catching up on the Wainwright lawn.

By Bill Lawyer

Rye High School was among the 26 teams that participated in this spring’s Envirothon, sponsored by the Dutchess County Soil and Water Conservation District and held at the Sharpe Reservation in Fishkill.

Tenth grader Niki Francis was working on her high school science research project — monitoring the population of eels coming up Blind Brook from Milton Harbor and beyond — when she heard about the Envirothan program from Taro Ietaka, Director of Conservation and Land Stewardship at Rye Nature Center. With no time to lose, Niki quickly assembled her team: the Daniels triplets — Shoshi, Becca, and Reari, who are juniors.


With the help of Mr. Ietaka, Rye Nature staff member AJ Johnson, and RHS faculty member Amy Leahy, the team got down to work. Provided with a large number of materials to review in preparation for the daylong event, the four-member RHS team did their homework on the five required environmental topics: soils, aquatics, forestry, wildlife, and current issues.

One of the most difficult parts was learning to identify a wide range of plants and animals that are associated with forestry and wildlife. For example, they had to identify tree species without the help of leaves.

They learned how to measure the height and diameter of trees at breast height. For the wildlife component, the students were helped by the collection of taxidermy specimens.

On a practical level, each team was given the task of providing environmental guidance to a farmer who wanted to expand his agricultural output while making sure those changes would be sustainable.

The team also had to make up a Power Point series of posters to accompany their oral presentation.

When all the tests and activities were completed, the winning school was Mount Academy, with 549 points. Rye High ranked higher than 11 other teams, with 372 points. Fox Lane was the highest in Westchester, with 424 points.

In looking back over the event, the Rye High team said that while the preparation was hard work, they were pleased with how much knowledge and skill they acquired in a short period of time.

This was Rye High’s first time participating in the event, but Niki Francis said it’s definitely not their last. She is planning to field a team in 2018, perhaps two.

In the end, the hope of the Envirothon organizers is that participants will make wise choices protecting the environment in whatever field of work they pursue.

Captions

The Rye High team of Rebecca, Shoshi, and Ari Daniels, and Niki Francis

Niki Francis examining wildlife mounts for species recognition.