Around the Island

Shelter Island culture, old and new, to tour online or on foot trails

The organizations that diligently preserve and present much of the Island’s history continue to find ways to engage Islanders, isolated at home though they may be.

Sylvester Manor is offering a virtual tour, full of fascinating details, to be enjoyed from the comfort of home. Go to to subscribe to their e-newsletter if you haven’t already.

Each week will provide a virtual tour of a different part of the Manor.

The tour begins this week with the Morning Parlor, where portraits of members of the Sylvester family are displayed.

An important detail highlighted in the tour is a red coral necklace worn by Mary Catherine L’Hommedieu in a portrait painted when she was a little girl, by a local artist, Abraham Tuthill, around 1808. The necklace was brought from Barbados by Nathaniel Sylvester and has been passed down through the family ever since.

The Sylvester Manor walking trails are open, with social distancing advised. Dogs are permitted. Restrooms are closed.

The varied trails at Mashomack Preserve offer a great opportunity for exercise as well as getting up close with nature.

The preserve has become more popular than ever, so walkers need to take care to keep safe distancing. Also, ticks are in evidence, so proper clothing and tick repellent are important.

At the Shelter Island Public Library website, try learning a new language. “Pronunciator” is a fun and free way to learn any of 163 languages with personalized courses, movies, music and more.

It now includes a new COVID-19 language course in 101 languages.

Among other features available at the site, Ancestry’s Library Edition delivers billions of records in census data, vital records, directories, photos and more, from more than 7,000 available databases.

At the Shelter Island Historical Society, exhibits and events that had been put on hold have now been canceled or further postponed. The May 2 Helena Hernmarck Adult Tapestry Workshop has been canceled.

The May 16 Karl Grossman presentation on Gardiners Island has been postponed and will be rescheduled at a later date. Decisions have not yet been made on events and programs further out in the spring and summer. It’s helpful to follow the Society on Facebook and subscribe to their newsletter by emailing [email protected] in order to receive updates.