During the 20 or so years when we rented our winter house in town every summer and moved to one five miles away, on Gardiner’s Bay, we had the drill down pat. Even when the kids were young — when we had a dog and a cat or two, plus assorted pets like Ginger, the goat, and Peeper, the aggressive goose — the process worked. Patterns developed about what had to be done. I knew which china to store away and which to leave for the tenants. Never mind that when we got to our summer house it was chaos; the tenants, at least, weren’t left with a mess.
East Hampton had a major development boom in the 1980s. At least in developers’ dreams: A 400-unit subdivision was planned for Montauk’s Hither Woods, 64 oceanfront house lots were to be carved from Shadmoor in Montauk, the 845-acre Grace Estate in Northwest was to become a community modeled on Hilton Head, S.C., with clustered and single-family houses and a nine-hole golf course, and Barcelona Neck, between Northwest Woods and Sag Harbor, was on the block.