06/16/17 9:35am
Sylvester Manor

A herd of Devon cattle explore a newly opened section of pastureland at Sylvester Manor. (Credit: Annette Hinkle)

Farming has been a way of life on the East End for more than three centuries. Although it was once common to see cows grazing in local fields, given sky-high land values and the amount of acreage required to raise them, it’s been decades since cattle have been a regular feature of the East End landscape.

But the cows have come home to Shelter Island. Since mid-May, 33 of them have been happily munching away in the pasturelands at Sylvester Manor Educational Farm. Another 10 or so are set to join them from upstate New York in the weeks ahead. (more…)

06/07/17 6:01am

The Horsford Girls ca. 1872. Clockwise from top left: Mary, Kate, Gertrude, Cornelia, Lilian Horsford, taken in Cambridge Mass. Courtesy: New York University Files Library.

The voices of women are generally those most easily lost to history. Deeds, lawsuits and business interests are the documents of men and these are what often can be found in archives when one is doing historical research.

But this weekend, Sylvester Manor Educational Farm opens an intriguing exhibition that focuses on the particularly strong matriarchal lineage that dominated the property for centuries.  (more…)

05/13/17 11:26am


At the far northwestern edge of France, as far as one can go and still technically be in continental Europe, there lies a stretch of land so removed both physically and culturally from its parent country that even its name, Brittany, evokes a land that is not quite French.

Yet it is not quite British either.

What it is, however, is the source of traditional French Canadian music which we hear on this side of the Atlantic today — albeit with some variations that only time and distance will provide.  (more…)

02/25/17 11:26am
Donnamarie Barnes at Sylvester Manor. (Credit: Charity Robey)

Donnamarie Barnes at Sylvester Manor. (Credit: Charity Robey)

Donnamarie Barnes unlocked the door of the 18th century house at Sylvester Manor Educational Farm and moved through rooms full of sheeted furniture, aged wallpaper and neat piles of very old books. She addressed the place as if she were visiting an old friend who has been shut-in.  (more…)

10/26/16 11:29am
sylvester manor hauntings

Sylvester Manor. (Credit: Annette Hinkle)

She had just started working at Sylvester Manor as a housekeeper, now almost 40 years ago, when Rose Wissemann came in touch with something one afternoon that still haunts her.

She recently recalled that unforgettable day when she had been doing some work in one of the smaller houses on the Manor grounds. As suddenly as a shadow shifts across a floor, an unsettling feeling stole over her. It was a sense that even though she was alone in the place, something — someone? — was with her. She stood still in the room. More than one presence, in some kind of terrible distress, was very near. (more…)

10/17/16 6:00am
Credit: Annette Hinkle

Sylvester Manor Gatehouse is a new pop-up store at the historic farm. Credit: Annette Hinkle

For those who enjoy indulging in a little country living with a visit to Sylvester Manor’s farm stand, there’s now a Sylvester Manor store where you can pick up a little something special for friends, family or even yourself.

The Sylvester Manor Gatehouse, a new pop-up shop, is now open weekends until November 27. Inside, expect to find farm-centric home and garden gifts, as well as food items made or grown on Shelter Island or the East End.

Last weekend, the Gatehouse began offering fresh pies for sale. (more…)

09/10/16 6:20am
Jayme Stone’s Lomax Project. (Credit: Courtesy photo)

Jayme Stone’s Lomax Project. (Credit: Courtesy photo)

Like storytelling, music is not always a static form of expression. Though subtle, movements of people and the shifting of cultures have a way of altering music over time — particularly traditional music — causing it to change, transform, merge or sometimes disappearing altogether. (more…)