The sun came out Sunday, making for a picture-perfect summer day.
There was not a cloud in the sky as I made my way to Easthampton to join Dan Rattiner, the founder of the iconic Dan’s Papers.
He had arranged for us to sail on a yacht out of Gardiners Bay across the street from his home.
From my home in Westhampton, it’s about an hour drive to Easthampton — with no traffic! With the top down on my convertible and the sun warming my soul, the trip through farms and forests that fill the Springs section of Easthampton was a fun one!
I drove my car right to the foot of the approximately 40-foot yacht and was greeted by Captain Charles and his wife Concierge Karen. They welcomed us on board and explained the safety precautions and the “lay of the land,” showing us where the bathrooms and interior seating were located.
I gingerly walked to the front of the boat to watch as the captain carefully navigated us into the open waters of the bay.
I relaxed as I took in the scenic views of the beautiful, sunny day and the captain pointed out the East Hampton Point Hotel and Marina that was recently acquired by Heath Freeman, the
president of Alden Global Capital, which, after acquiring Tribune Publishing, owns the New York Daily News.
The East Hampton Point Hotel and Marina is where we will launch Dan’s Papers Wine and Food Event benefiting Guild Hall on June 24. I recently had dinner there, and it looks as beautiful from the water as it does from shore.
Lois Christie, my friend from Bayside who also lives in Westhampton, joined me. As we lounged on the deck, Karen brought us drinks and hors d’oeuvres to hold us until lunch was served.
About an hour later, we gathered around a circular table for lunch and to share stories, which offered me a chance to talk with Dan and his wife Chris Wasserstein, and Audrey Fuchsberg and her husband Dr. Derek Erlander, an immunologist.
Dr. Erlander has a line of over-the-counter drugs to build the immune system and fight off disease — a perfect antidote in this post-COVID environment, where we all worry about a second strain of the virus. More information to follow!
After the lovely lunch and the three-hour cruise, we made our way back to the dock. The captain parked the yacht perfectly, with Karen’s guidance, marking the end to a magical day filled with good company, beautiful sites and luxury surroundings!
The yacht, which offers activities for kids too, is available to rent. Make your reservation through charlescharters.com or by calling 978-852-4920.
Meeting a genius
A day earlier, on Saturday morning, I had been invited to a preview of artist Alexis Rockman’s exhibition at Guild Hall in Easthampton.
As I walked on the stone sidewalk toward the renowned institution, I recalled the bittersweet memory of my late husband Stu’s cousin Arthur Fischer exhibiting, with great pride, his art at Guild Hall’s annual Clothesline Art Sale. Yes, clothesline!
Hundreds of works of art are hung there for the buying. There is an admission fee — and a long line to get in — that allows guests to view and buy the art of local artists, with half the proceeds going to Guild Hall, and the rest to the artist.
What fun it was for Arthur, who, after an engineering career, had become an artist whose avocation was painting collages. He got great joy from the fact that several of his pieces sold and we had an afterparty to celebrate his success!
But that was many years ago, and now I was back to see Alexis’ “Shipwrecks” exhibit, which featured his oil and watercolor pieces. I instantly fell in love with one particular piece, so I asked him if we could put it on the front cover of Dan’s Papers. He agreed, so it will appear on the cover the week the exhibit opens!
Alexis was born in New York City and his mom briefly worked for anthropologist Margaret Mead at the American Museum of Natural History, where Alexis would spend hours looking at the lifelike dioramas.
As Alexis spoke to the small gathering of people, he described how his fascination with shipwrecks began at an early age, as he became interested in their effect on the planet and the lives of people who traversed the sea.
But I was most struck by his painting of the sinking of the Brig Helen. He described how the shipwreck bankrupted and killed the young brilliant British scientist Alfred Russel Wallace, who is credited with originating the theory of evolution before Darwin.
He had spent four years (1848-1852) on a self-funded trip to the South American rainforest collecting hundreds of rare specimens to bring back to England. All was lost when the Brig Helen caught fire. Alexis’ work imagines the enormity of the loss.
I must admit that hearing Alexis’ explanation of his art made me feel more connected to his work. Each piece he discussed opened my eyes to details I had missed.
Visit the Alexis Rockman exhibit from June 12 to July 26 at Guild Hall in Easthampton. For more information, call 631-324-0806 and say hello to Yanni Bitis (our very own Stephanie Bitis’ son) in the Guild’s coffee shop!