Friday, July 19, 2013

Village of Greenport on Long Island's North Fork

It's summertime summertime sum sum summertime...and the heat wave in NYC is unbearable...with temps approaching 100 degrees. Summer is our least favorite season and Lina is begging for cold weather already, with only 1 month of summer behind us. We decided to take a little break and hop on the Hampton Jitney to the North Fork of Long Island (a 2 1/2 hour ride from Midtown). Our first visit to escape the Manhattan and Brooklyn well as the stifling heat & humidity.

The Greenport Antique Carousel at Mitchell Park, on the Greenport waterfront, is a 1920s-vintage, wooden carousel...

It's rare to see a carousel these days with rings near the outer horses...and whoever grabs the brass ring gets a free ride.

It was nice to feel a breeze off of Peconic Bay and splash in the water...and go searching for pebbles and shells in the sand and other treasures.

Walking around, near the beach cottages, exploring the area...following butterflies...

Cooled off in the pool...

And after active days outside enjoying was nice to wind down in the evenings with cool air-conditioning...and have a very restful sleep each night.

It was our first time on the East End of Long Island and though we were warned about the possibility of jellyfish stings, we didn't see any jellyfish in the water. I was being eaten alive by biting flies, though (they ignored the children, thankfully, despite many adults suffering). Never experienced this before in my life and I have to was incredibly painful.

Mosquitoes have stingers that feel like tiny needles. And you can swat them away. This is much worse, believe me! For those who never heard of biting flies before (like me)'s a description I found on a University of Rhode Island Landscape Horticulture fact sheet:

"Only female horse flies and deer flies feed on blood. Both flies are vicious, painful biters which feed on the blood of cattle, horses, mules, hogs, dogs, deer and other mammals, including humans. These flies cut through the skin using razor-sharp mouthparts that are shaped like a knife or razor. The flies will then suck the blood up from the wound for several minutes...The open wound left by the fly bite also permits secondary feeding sites for other nuisance insects. Biting deer flies frequently attack humans along beaches, streams, ponds, lakes and around woods and dirt roads near large bodies of water. Some people suffer severe lesions, high fever and even general disability when bitten. Allergic reactions may occur from the saliva, which is poured into the wound to prevent clotting while the fly is feeding."
Of course, I was wearing a black swimsuit and I have black hair, so (according to the below info) it seems I was a good target. One mom, also in great pain, told me she thinks they are attracted to the smell of adult sweat. I didn't have any natural insect repellant with me (I wish I did!)...and I am against using strong products with DEET...but it seems it wouldn't have helped much.
"Traditional repellants are not effective in keeping away horse and deer flies. Repellants containing DEET (N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) do not prevent flies from landing, although they may inhibit the flies from biting. The greatest horse and deer fly activity occurs on warm, sunny days when there is little or no wind...Horse and deer flies are visual insects, locating hosts by movement. Dark, moving objects and shapes are most attractive to the flies. They are also attracted to carbon dioxide that is released from their hosts. To reduce exposure to bites, it is best to wear light-colored clothing, including a light baseball cap, especially on warm, sunny days when flies are most active."
I guess I have to have a strategy to deal with biting bugs...because we hope to be camping when Lina is a bit older and I am sure we will be exposed to all sorts of bugs we don't normally have to deal with in the city (ugh!). Luckily for her, she experienced no pain during this trip...and her only worry was using a shower stall, since they didn't have a bathtub. She experienced some nausea during travel, on the long bus ride, for the first time. Drug-free wrist motion sickness bands work well for me, so I'll bring a pair made for kids next time.

Regardless of some discomfort (no long-lasting effects), it was a wonderful trip.

[Note: I asked her on 12/5/13 what she remembers about this trip to Greenport and Lina said "I remember I saw butterflies and I remember the delicious food and I remember the fun time in the pool."]