Winds Way Fruits & Flowers

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Wilbur-Fanning House

Winds Way Fruits & Flowers
PO 1470
73 Winds Way
Jamesport, NY 11947
631-722-5170
richard@windswayfarm.com

Winds Way Fruits and Flowers is located off Peconic Bay Boulevard in the once-bustling seaport and farming community of Jamesport on Long Island’s North Fork. It consists of a series of historic buildings that Nancy Gilbert and Richard Wines have collected over the past decade, surrounded by numerous fruit, vegetable and ornamental gardens. The property, which has been in Richard’s family for many generations, also includes a ten-acre field still actively farmed by Richard’s brother David, as well as woodlands, wetlands and Peconic Bay shorefront.

Buildings

Soon after we bought out the interests of Richard’s two uncles in the field, we started collecting buildings for the property. The first to arrive, the one-room District #10 schoolhouse, originally stood on Sound Avenue near the corner of Northville Turnpike. When it was built in 1872, the proud citizens of Northville considered it a “modern” school, far superior to the low-ceiling, dark, undistinguished building it replaced. The school was remodeled and enlarged in 1888 and used as a school until 1911 when it was closed as part of a state effort to consolidate one-room schools into larger districts.

Subsequently the building served as housing for hired help on a family farm and still latter as hay storage. By the time we acquired it in 1992, it was badly deteriorated. Nevertheless, we were able to restore the exterior to look very much as it did in 1888, except that the bell tower added that year is long gone. Almost all of the original interior detail also survives.

Corwin-Hallock Barn

Our barn also came from Northville, where it stood on the Corwin-Hallock farm at the corner of Sound and Pier Avenues. The main part of this small structure may have been built by Jonathan Corwin who settled there about 1762. Or, it may have been built by the Hallock family in the 1830’s after Zachariah Hallock, who lived in the Hallock homestead that is now the centerpiece of Hallockville Museum, acquired a second farm further west on which he settled his oldest son Herman. The initials “ZH” can be seen carved twice on the underside of a floorboard in the left mow. We moved this building to Winds Way in 1997. Although much altered over the years, the three-bay structure still has almost all of its original hand-hewn oak timbers.

Wilbur-Fanning House

The Wilbur-Fanning house originally stood on the Main Road in Laurel, just to the west of the post office. The oldest part, the small north wing, probably dates to the last decade of the 18th century or the first decade of the 19th. It was a small Cape style house with a single room across the front, two small rooms in the back and an unfinished garret above. Most likely a member of the Fanning family that had owned the property since 1762 built this structure. The main part of the house was added about 1836 by Robert N. Wilbur, a sea captain who at times served as master of the Washington, one of two whaling ships that sailed out of Jamesport in the 1830s and 40s during the height of the whaling industry on Eastern Long Island. Wilbur, like many Long Island whaling captains, went to California in the gold rush. After he died there in 1850, his widow sold the house back to the Fanning family who occupied it until recently.

The main wing is a two-and-a-half story side-hall vernacular design common on eastern Long Island since at least the late eighteenth century. However, the main rooms and front doorway are fitted out in the latest Greek Revival style popular in the 1830s. Virtually all of the interior and exterior detail survive from that period. We moved the house to Winds Way in 1995, when it was threatened with demolition, and have restored it as closely as possible to its appearance in the 1830s, both inside and out. We added the rear wing and garage in 1998, incorporating many eighteenth and nineteenth century elements saved from the Corwin-Hallock farmhouse that once graced the corner of Pier and Sound Avenues, but was demolished that year.

The small shed next to the garage stood behind the house on its original site. From its construction details, it may be as old or older than the house itself. It is entirely framed with oversize hand hewn timbers, some larger than anything used in the house itself.

The property also includes a small bungalow on Peconic Bay and Model-T-size garage, built in 1922 by Richard mother’s parents.

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District #10 School
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Corwin-Hallock Barn

Gardens and Habitats

In the early 1980s we started gardening in a area garden behind the bungalow garage with old-fashioned peonies and a few other heirloom perennials taken from Nancy’s parent’s gardens in Wisconsin. In the ensuing years, this little garden has grown to a series of fruit, vegetable and flower gardens stretching from a salt-tolerant seaside garden in front of the bungalow to a bird-friendly planting at the edge of the woods behind the main house.

There is a cottage-style garden in front of the schoolhouse, enclosed by a picket fence copied from an artifact at Old Bethpage and featuring herbs in its center section. Nancy, the head gardener at Winds Way, has planted the surrounding borders thickly with sun-loving perennials such cone flowers, Russian sage and firecracker goldenrod . A similar picket fence in front of the main house encloses another garden laid out formally with two large squares, but planted informally with perennials in the center beds, surrounded by borders integrating ornamental shrubs and shade tolerant herbaceous plants. Over by the barn is another enclosed garden, featuring twelve varieties of hydrangeas inter-planted with viburnums, dogwoods, roses and other shrubs that maintain the red-blue color scheme.

Between the house and school is an orchard, currently featuring twenty apple varieties, mostly antique types such as the Esophus Spizenburg favored by Thomas Jefferson and the old English standby, Cox’s Orange Pippin. There are also peaches, plums, cherries, pears, blueberries and a quince. Some of the trees are espaliered on a fence surrounding the orchard, along with David Austin roses.

In front of the school is a wild-flower meadow. Next to that is the main vegetable garden and beyond that an area devoted to small fruits such as red and black currents, gooseberries, blackberries and various types of raspberries. There are also smaller gardens devoted to woodland plants, ornamental shrubs and even one devoted entirely to local “weeds.” The latter area contains several varieties of goldenrods as well as Queen Ann’s lace, butter and eggs, milk weed, butterfly weed, mullein and Jerusalem artichokes.

Many of the gardens contain heirloom plants that Richard and Nancy have collected from local sources, such as several antique roses, yellow garden loostrife and Concord type grapes. Many native plants, such as ink berry (Ilex glabra), sassafras, groundsel, bayberry, seaside goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens), beach wormwood (Artemisia stelleriana) and American holly (Ilex opaca) are also incorporated into the plantings. Wherever possible, natural areas have been preserved as wildlife habitats – especially in the woodlands and along the hedgerows. Another theme running throughout the gardens are bird and butterfly friendly plants such as budleas, winterberries, beauty berries. Chokeberries and many types of wildflowers. We intentionally leave some blueberries and currants on the bushes for the birds. Similarly, each year we plant sunflowers, teasels and amaranths in the vegetable garden specifically for the finches and other seed-eating birds.

East Hedgerow

Our east hedgerow is an historic “eleven o’clock line” that dates to 1661 when it marked the eastern boundary of the four allotments granted to John Budd by Southold Town in the first “Aquobogue Dividend.” In the nineteenth century, this hedge was the eastern boundary of Richard’s great-great-grandfather Edward Young’s farm. Some of the old split-rail fence posts, likely placed by him well over a century ago, still stand in the hedge line. Many of the oldest trees in that hedgerow probably sprouted along that fence line.

This hedge supports a large variety of flora. According to experts in England, where hedgerows have been carefully studied, the larger the number of species found, the older the hedge. We have identified native red maples, red cedars, white oaks, post oaks, sassafras, mulberry, black cherry, locust, hickory, sour “pie” cherry, hornbeam and hackberry trees – all Long Island natives – in addition to the ubiquitous Norway maples that are crowding out native species in so many local woodlands. There is a very large red cedar at the southern end of the hedge. We have also found wild apple trees and have planted Osage oranges (also know as hedge apples). Beneath the trees is an understory of brambles creating a natural habit for birds and small animals.

Farmland

Richard’s brother David Wines farms this piece in conjunction with the main part of his farm on Sound Avenue. The two fields are currently planted in hay, which David generally harvests twice a year, in July and September. Occasionally, David has also grown potatoes or wheat in these fields.

Woodland and Wetlands

We believe the woodland on the southeast corner of the property is about a century old. Before that, this area was most likely cleared and used as pasture land by Richard’s great-great-grandfather. There is a string of older trees, mostly oaks, along what was probably an old fence line dividing the upland from the salt hay in the wetlands beyond. The woods are predominantly red cedar, Norway maple and a sprinkling of hickory and oak. There are a few apple trees and hornbeams along the edge. The understory includes inkberry and native holly.

The remains of an old watering hole can also still be found on the eastern edge of the property. The extreme southeast parts of the property are salt-water wetlands edged with bayberry, salt spray roses, groundsel, beach plum, poison ivy and marsh elder

History and Preservation

Our property is the southeast corner of the four allotments granted to John Budd by the Town of Southold in the First Aquebogue Dividend of 1661. John Budd was one of the wealthiest of the original band of Puritans who had settled Southold in the 1640s. He gave his first house to one of his daughters who moved it to Cutchogue where it is now known as the “Old House” and serves as the centerpiece to the Cutchogue Village Green museum complex. Budd’s four “Aquebogue” allotments stretched westward almost to Simmons Point and extended north all the way to Long Island Sound – well over 1,000 acres altogether.

John Budd left his “Aquebogue” allotments, which ran from Long Island Sound to Peconic Bay and totaled about 1,000 acres, to another daughter, Mary, who married Christopher Young, son of John Young, the first minister and leader of the Southold settlement. Neither John Budd nor his daughter and son-in-law ever lived on this land, but two of his grandsons, Christopher and John Young settled on this property around 1700 and were among the first inhabitants in what is now Riverhead Town. Almost a century-and-a-half later, Christopher’s great-grandson, Edward Young (Richard’s great-great grandfather) inherited land in the southeast corner of the old Budd-Young property and gradually bought back additional adjacent parcels of the original allotment as his improving fortunes allowed.

Edward Young built a house on his farm about 1840. This house, which is shown in the Riverhead Bicentennial Album, was the first house on what is now Peconic Bay Boulevard. Indeed, the path originally know as the “road to Edward Young’s house” became a segment of Peconic Bay Boulevard when the present road was laid out in the 1920’s. His house, which burned down early in the 20th century, stood just to the west of our west hedgerow. Edward’s farm stretched north to the railroad tracks (where a commercial nursery now operates) and also includes all of the land along Lockett Drive -- about 100 acres altogether.

The land passed through one of Edward’s daughter’s into the Wines family early in the twentieth century. The name “Winds Way” is based on a seventeenth century variant of the Wines family name found in the Southold Town Records.

Preservation and Conservation

We are distressed with the rapid pace of destruction of Riverhead’s farmland, historic homes and natural habitats. We are committed to doing our small part to preserve our magnificent heritage here on the North Fork. Consequently, we are donating the development rights and a conservation easement on our property to the Peconic Land Trust. This will protect the entire parcel from further development in perpetuity and keep the farmland, hedgerows, woodland and shorefront from being altered or destroyed. The easement also will protect the facades of the historic buildings from inappropriate changes.

We hope that you will join us in protecting the treasures we have here on the North fork. Support organizations such as Hallockville, Inc, the East End Arts Council and the Peconic Land Trust. Support local farmers by patronizing their farmstands. Support public officials who are committed to preserving our heritage and preventing run-a-way development.

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Red Top Chives with Bunny