I was recently speaking with my 11-year-old granddaughter, Myla, who lives on the Island, about what would be a good subject for my next column. She said, “Pop Pop, why don’t you write about the start of summer and all the kids coming out here to visit with their grandparents?”
After all, this is a resort Island where people come to escape the heat and stale air of the cities. I am sure that many of you will have grandkid visitors who will be staying at your homes for awhile.
What’s there to do to keep everyone busy and happy here? And create some good summer memories in the process.
I should mention here that Shelter Island was not always a resort community. In the 19th century, it was a bunker fishing center. The beaches were dotted with cauldrons boiling bunker fish to extract their usable products, mainly for paints, pet food and fertilizer.
The whole Island smelled pretty bad. But that was the way it was and the stench was accepted. In the late 19th century as summer homes and hotels were built and the advantages of tourism became clear, bunker fishing declined and tourism flourished.
And so we have the resort Island of today.
The first activity to plan for those visitors is a visit to one of our many beaches. They are all over and they are beautiful. Quiet, clean and not crowded — even if some of them say they are not swimming beaches. The grandchildren will love them.
Bring a cooler with food and beverages. Bring fishing poles and seine nets. The children can swim, play in the sand, have their lunches, then drag the nets through the water and catch different kinds of baitfish.
Then grandpa or grandma can bait a hook and cast out into the water. Who knows? Someone might get lucky.
If the tide is low, show the kids how to dig a few clams. Make sure you have a permit. All of this activity will make for a full day. If your visitors are here for an extended stay, spread the beach activities out over a week or two.
Punctuate the visits to the beaches with ice cream at the Tuck Shop, gelato at Marie Eiffel’s, a slice at the pizza place, a taco at Star’s Cafe or a soda at the Shelter Island Pharmacy.
Kids are always hungry and some grandparents feel that it’s their duty to give the kids snacks that their parents usually do not let them have.
The library is always a good choice for a non-beach-weather day, as is a hike through Mashomack.
The only activity you’ll have to leave the Island for is watching a movie. The Greenport theater is now open and provides good evening entertainment.
Take advantage of these grandchildren while they are young because soon they’ll be teenagers and will want very little to do with grandpa and grandma during their precious summer vacations.
How many of us were corrected when we were young when we said, “Me and Joe are going to the beach.” Our mothers would say, “It’s ‘Joe and I are going to the beach,’” which is the correct form. “I” is a subject pronoun and is one of the subjects of the sentence. O.K.
But somewhere along the way, folks would say, “Between you and I, the movie was terrible,” trying to carry on what we learned. But not good. When a pronoun is the object of a preposition, it becomes “me,”the object pronoun. It’s always “Between you and me.”