On Saturday August 16 and September 13, Long Island Traditions will sponsor its annual bay house tours in Freeport, NY. The tour will include conversations with local bay house owners and will be hosted by folklorist Nancy Solomon, director of LI Traditions. The trip will visit area bay houses on the 1½ hour tour on a traditional flat bottom boat.
The bay houses have a long history, dating from the mid-19th century when baymen harvested salt hay for the farmers during the winter. The bay houses provided shelter, along with storage for fishermen’s traps and duck decoys. The bay houses were originally built by fishermen and baymen and have been passed down from generation to generation within many families. In the Town of Hempstead two of the approximately 20 bay houses that either survived Superstorm Sandy or have been rebuilt during 2013-14 will be featured on this year’s annual tour.
Each tour will visit two bay houses. Participants should be prepared to enter bay houses that may be under construction. The boats will also cruise by other bay houses.
Tickets for the bay house tours are $50 for adults and children over 10 years old. No children under 10 are allowed. Space is limited. For tickets call LI Traditions at (516) 767-8803 and visit www.longislandtraditions.org for more information.
The program is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts.
Photo of the Beers Bay House provided.