05/24/14 12:00pm
05/24/2014 12:00 PM
Spelling bee champion Sarah Bowe, center, with second-place winner Beth Motschenbacher, right and third-place winner Carol Cryzwinski. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

Spelling bee champion Sarah Bowe, center, with second-place winner Beth Motschenbacher, right and third-place winner Carol Cryzwinski. (Credit: Katharine Schroeder)

The first-ever spelling bee was held at the Jamesport Meeting House on May 23 and it was a smashing success.

Nearly two dozen people of all ages took part in the competition, which will benefit the upkeep and restoration of the historic Meeting House.

Sarah Bowe took home the trophy for first place, followed by Beth Motschenbacher in second and Carol Cryzwinski in third.

See more photos by clicking below:

04/24/14 10:03am
04/24/2014 10:03 AM
Words in next month's spelling bee at Jamesport Meeting House will range from middle-school difficulty through adult level. Above are winning words from the National Spelling Bee. (Credit: Danielle Doll)

Words in next month’s spelling bee at Jamesport Meeting House will range from middle-school difficulty through adult level. Above are winning words from the National Spelling Bee. (Credit: Danielle Doll)

Blame it on the alcohol.

Phil Cardinale, an attorney and former Riverhead Town supervisor, was eating spaghetti and drinking merlot at Grana in Jamesport two weeks ago when his friends and fellow diners, Steve and Ellen Berger, told him they were hosting a first-ever community spelling bee May 23 to benefit the upkeep and restoration of the historic Jamesport Meeting House.  (more…)

02/28/14 1:00pm
02/28/2014 1:00 PM
The Jamesport Meeting House. (Barbaraellen Koch file photo)

The Jamesport Meeting House. (Barbaraellen Koch file photo)

The Cassatt String Quartet will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 1, at the Jamesport Meeting House. The program will feature Shostakovich’s Quartet No. 8, Ravel’s String Quartet and Dvorak’s “Cypresses.”

The Manhattan-based quartet has been playing together since 1985. It has made numerous recordings and performed throughout North America, Europe and the Far East.

Tickets — $25 for adults and $10 for students — are available at jamesportmeetinghouse.org, Duffy’s Deli in Jamesport and at the door (if available).

02/16/14 12:00pm
02/16/2014 12:00 PM
From left to right: Alex DeTurk, engineer; Bill DeTurk, banjo and guitar; John Brisotti, mandolin and vocals;  Bruce Barry,  bass; Dave Thompson, guitar;  and Bill Avasse, fiddle. (Photo by Tim Gannon).

From left to right: Alex DeTurk, engineer; Bill DeTurk, banjo and guitar; John Brisotti, mandolin and vocals; Bruce Barry, bass; Dave Thompson, guitar; and Bill Avasse, fiddle. (Photo by Tim Gannon).

The Jamesport Meeting House has been a lot of things in its 275-plus years on the corner of Main Road and Manor Lane in Jamesport.  (more…)

02/16/14 12:02am
The Jamesport Meeting House. (Barbaraellen Koch file photo)

The Jamesport Meeting House. (Barbaraellen Koch file photo)

George Moravek will direct the brand-new Meeting House Chorus, which will rehearse at the Jamesport Meeting House beginning Tuesday, Feb. 25. Weekly rehearsals will be held from 6 to 7:15 p.m.; a concert, “Opening Night (A New Generation of Broadway),” is planned for May 10. (more…)

01/06/14 8:00am
01/06/2014 8:00 AM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | The Jamesport Meeting House,

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | The Jamesport Meeting House,

Leaders of the Jamesport Meeting House stated its next top priority to restore the historic Main Road building, as the organization hopes to tackle the lecture room wing, “which sorely needs rejuvenation.”

Richard Wines, president of the nonprofit overseeing the restoration, said at the end of last year that the wing on the east side of the building — added in 1898 to the original structure, which went up in 1731 — has interior work that needs to be done namely on the ceiling and floor. Falling and frayed tiles are at the top of the room, while frayed carpets are at the bottom.

“Our goal is to make this room as beautiful as the rest of the building,” he said, adding that over the past year, the yard was re-graded and re-seeded, and an irrigation system was installed.  Mike Hubbard also made a number of improvements to update an electrical system that dates to the 1920s.

Jamesport Meeting House Preservation Trust, according to its website, aims to “keep the Meeting House in community hands and once again make it available for community use.”

The Meeting House is the East End’s oldest religious structure and the oldest building in Riverhead, according to a history written by Mr. Wines, who is also the chairman of the town’s Landmarks Preservation Commission.

10/25/13 3:04pm
10/25/2013 3:04 PM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | The Jamesport Meeting House will be hosting a free concert tomorrow.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH FILE PHOTO | The Jamesport Meeting House will be hosting a free concert tomorrow.

A free concert will be held on Saturday at the Jamesport Meeting House at 8 p.m. to raise awareness about drug addiction and to honor the memory of Samantha Dittmeier, a 23-year-old Mattituck woman who died of a heroin overdose in January.

“We’re going to share music, which I think is impactful and inspiring, and at the same time try and touch someone — whether it’s someone struggling with addiction or someone who knows someone struggling with addiction,” said Stefano DiBenedetto, a Mattituck music manager organizing the event.

Saturday evening’s concert will feature performances by Long Island singer and songwriter Cass Dillon and contemporary Christian pop singer Natasha Owens. Both artists are managed by Mr. DiBenedetto. who said he has worked with the likes of Billy Joel, Joan Jett and Linkin Park.

Mr. DiBenedetto, who is friends with Ms. Dittmeier’s mother, Karen Allars, described Ms. Dittmeier as someone who “lit up” whatever room she walked in to.

“The cloud of addiction had been hanging over her head and it was something she did not have control over,” he said of Ms. Dittmeier. “We want people to know that they don’t have to hide. There is help. And if addiction is dealt with early and properly, people can live normal lives and be free.”

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12/09/12 8:00am
12/09/2012 8:00 AM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The dining room table set for the holiday dinner at Jack and Patricia Orben’s Aquebogue home.

For many, one of the greatest joys of December is getting a glimpse of other peoples’ lives and decorating styles while gathering by the hearth at holiday parties.

If you’re so inclined, take note: A select group of North Forkers is going all-out and opening their homes for two upcoming benefit holiday house tours.

This weekend’s Oysterponds Historical Society house tour, which features 14 private and public buildings, has been a tradition for decades. In addition, the Jamesport Meeting House is hosting its first-ever holiday tour of nine houses in the Jamesport and Aquebogue area.

Richard Wines and Nancy Gilbert, who run the Meeting House, decided to hold the holiday tour this year after three years of successful September house tours.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The dining room sideboard decorated with a Christmas tree.

The Jamesport tour will be held Saturday, Dec. 15, the day after the annual “Carols and Cookies” event on Dec. 14 at 6:30 p.m. at the Meeting House, Main Road and Manor Lane.

“Not all the houses are historic, but a bunch of them are,” said Ms. Gilbert. “Every house is different. Every house is being decorated by the owner and they’re all incredibly unique.

“A lot of people have collections of ornaments that have come down in their families and special things they bring out for Christmas,” she added. “One house has a 1950s theme with wonderful yard ornaments, while another house, which was built in the 1920s, has really early ornaments from that period.”

Among the tour participants are Patricia and Jack Orben of Aquebogue, who have opened their house on Peconic Bay in Aquebogue to past Jamesport Meeting House tours. Ms. Orben, who shows the flair of an interior decorator, also has a personal affection for Christmastime and, as of Nov. 30, had already been decorating for days in preparation for the event.

The Orbens were married on Dec. 17, 1960, and they display the Christmas wreaths that were hanging at their wedding, as well as stockings Ms. Orben puts out for her 10 grandchildren and decorations she’s purchased over the years from her niece’s fundraisers for the American Red Cross.

Ms. Gilbert and Mr. Wines’ Winds Way homestead, a collection of historic buildings on Peconic Bay Boulevard, is also on the tour.

“I tend to go out in the garden and cut a bunch of stuff and bring it in, but Hurricane Sandy didn’t help in that regard,” Ms. Gilbert said. “Every house has a distinct personality. Some people are quite ornate and elegant and some are simpler. People really do things in keeping with the house they’re living in. It reflects their personality.”

The Jamesport tour runs from 1 to 5 p.m. and starts at the Meeting House. Tickets are $30 in advance, available at 779-2831 or jamesportmeetinghouse.org, or $40 at the door. All proceeds go toward ongoing preservation work at the Meeting House.

The Oysterponds Holiday House Tour is also a mix of old and new, ranging from Arlene and Bob Shannon’s lovingly restored 275-year-old home, constructed by the Tuthill family, to the more contemporary home of interior decorator and renovation designer Cindy Schmidt at Pebble Beach in East Marion.

“Her house is absolutely beautiful,” Catherine Chaudhuri, who is organizing the tour for the historical society, said of Ms. Schmidt’s house. “This year, we have a lot of traditional decorations with Christmas trees, wreaths, garlands, a mixed bag of everything.”

She said homeowners with fireplaces will likely have cozy fires going and several participants plan to bake cookies for visitors.

In addition to private homes, the Oysterponds tour also includes seven public buildings, including Poquatuck Hall on Village Lane, which will be decorated by the Oysterponds School PTA, which will provide baked goods, cider and a 50/50 raffle. Other tour stops are Orient United Methodist Church; Old Point School House, where the Beach Plum Christmas Shop will be open; the Village House, which is under renovation; and Webb House, which Ms. Chaudhuri says is “always decorated beautifully by volunteer Constance Tupper.”

The self-guided tour, which runs from 1 to 4 p.m., begins at Orient Congregational Church, where people will pick up tickets, which are $20 in advance or $25 at the door. To order advance tickets, call 323-2480.

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