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  •    So, you’ve always wanted to make your fortune replicating Aunt Sally’s rhubarb shortcake. But the board of health might not okay your kitchen, given the dogs that sleep in the corners and the cats that trespass on counters. Due to the farm-to-table movement and the culinary artisans it has bred, a clutch of kitchens have sprouted up in East Hampton Town to provide a springboard for food entrepreneurs.

  • With cookie-cutter houses sprouting up around the South Fork like invasive plant species — real estate pros call it “Farrellization”
  •    Bruce Weed didn’t start off as a computer repairman. His first calling was as a chef. Some may recall his restaurant, aptly named Bruce’s, in the Saga­ponack spot now occupied by Townline BBQ. He ran the eatery from 1978 to 1994 with his mother, and eventually his wife, Linda, who started as a sous chef there.
        “I worked 25 hours a day, and loved it. . . . There’s no bigger high than growing your own produce and cooking it.”

  •    The highlight of Quail Hill’s At the Common Table on Saturday, the 10th such benefit for the community-supported farm overseen by the Peconic Land Trust, was dinner served in the orchard at a long table for 165, set beautifully with flowers, candles, and Mason jars of pickles — dilly beans, cucumber spears, garlic scapes — preserved from the Amagansett farm’s bounty.

  • A glance at the summer’s real estate transfers as recorded in the deeds of Sag Harbor Village might suggest that the number of sales in the quaint enclave has been going down
  •    At Kara Westerman’s memoir-writing workshop at the East Hampton Library in June there was a woman working on the life story of her sister, a famous film star; a published novelist recapturing memories of her childhood as an Army brat, and a visual artist creating a “transmedia” book. A whopping 30 memoirist wannabes signed up, 22 more than the maximum allowed.

  • We may be suffering from Montauk fatigue, what with the hamlet featuring prominently in the news from club goings-on to parking mayhem, but it behooves us to note that real estate there is undergoing as much a resurgence as the hamlet’s motels and eating establishments
  • Is bigger better? Not if you’re a local official trying to restrict house sizes on the East End
  •    Last month a friend gave me, unsolicited, a copy of a book called “Wheat Belly.” What was she trying to tell me?
        It hadn’t escaped me that, having reached a certain age, my middle had begun to expand. I eat very healthfully, and exercise regularly, but still the old spare tire clung to me like an embedded tick.

  • Though clichés might suggest that neighbors are usually more at war than at peace, in a reversal of the Hatfield and McCoy paradigm, two neighbors in Montauk have joined forces to combine their properties and sell them as one

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  •      That was a question asked on Colin Ambrose’s Facebook page this week when the chef-owner of Estia’s Little Kitchen in Sag Harbor posted a picture of his hand, dressed in bandages. His right hand that is. The chef wondered aloud how he would cope in the kitchen with only his left hand.

  • When Linda Haugevik, an agent at Sotheby’s International Realty, put North Haven’s six-acre Strongheart estate on the market in July for $65 million, there were those who accused her of being on “hallucinogens,” she said.

    In other words, even though the property belonged to the actor Richard Gere and his wife, Carey Lowell (who have since filed for divorce, according to the tabloids), it was perceived by some as overpriced. Nine months later, the price has been reduced to $56 million.

  • Last week, when Stacy Ludlow was driving down Halsey Lane in Bridgehampton en route home to Mecox Bay Dairy where she and her family make cheese, she noticed that a lovely old farmhouse dating from circa 1720 was being torn apart.

  • The Arc House, a residence on Green Hollow Road in East Hampton that is a kind of glamorized Quonset hut will be featured Sunday on the Travel Channel.  Designed by Maziar Behrooz, an East Hampton architect who just opened an office in Manhattan’s Flatiron district, the nearly 5,200-square-foot structure is made of corrugated steel and held up by 14 “ribs.”

  • Move over East Hampton. That village was once voted the “most beautiful village” in America by National Geographic.

    Getting its day in the sun, Sag Harbor was ranked number 4 of America’s most romantic towns in January by readers of Travel and Leisure, behind Simons, G.A., Beaufort, N.C., and Amelia Island, FL.

    Where?

  • When Paul Rice, an architect who has designed houses throughout the South Fork with his partner, Ward Welch, for 25 years, purchased a house at 78 Meeting House Lane in Amagansett in 2008, he set to work gutting it and adding 1,200 square feet. The timing couldn’t have been worse.

    Plans were for a 4,500-square-foot, updated gambrel-roofed traditional but construction, which only extended to the exterior of the house, was stopped as the market dove south. The interior is framed, but unfinished. 

  • A nearly six-acre property with a Tudor-style 12,000-square-foot house built in 2005 for Richard Demato, who is a Sag Harbor gallery owner, and his wife, Harriet Sawyer, an artist, closed Tuesday for just over $31.7 million. Though the deal does not set a record for the most spent on a North Haven property — that honor goes to Tyndall Point, a 55-acre sub-dividable parcel with a main house built in the 1950s that sold for $36 million in 2011 – it does set a record in the hamlet for a single-family residence.

  • While we’ve all been snowbound these past weeks, some intrepid souls have made pilgrimages to BookHampton in East Hampton for diversion. Kim Lombardini, a manager at the shop, shared with us winter’s most popular reads.

    FICTION    
    “The Goldfinch,” Donna Tartt’s anxiously awaited third novel published last year about a boy who loses his mother in a terrorist attack in an art museum, takes its title from a painting of a bird the boy filches as he flees the wreckage. At a hefty 771 pages, it is selling like hotcakes.

  • The next time you grab a cup of joe or a Slim Jim at the 7-Eleven in Montauk you might want to congratulate Cecilia or Donovan behind the counter.

    The Montauk franchise, yeah the one that many locals thought would spoil the ma and pa feel of the hamlet, is the highest grossing of all 7,800 stores in the national franchise chain. With annual sales in the low millions, the Montauk store's owner, Chris Stephens of Syosset, said that he sells about $100,000 in beer and $50,000 in coffee monthly. Not to mention hundreds of brain-freezing Slurpees.

  • Not only did Bridgehampton National Bank, which displays pictures of local success stories in its branches, report total assets of $1.9 billion at the end of 2013, up $272 million (17 percent) from 2012, it has also swallowed up First National Bank of New York, a smaller bank based in Melville. This is not bad for a bank that began life in 1910 with $25,000 in capital and about $2,200 in deposits.