For the first two hours of our visit to friends Joe and Maria's second home on the north fork of Long Island, I was having an out-of-body experience. From the moment we pulled into the gravel drive of the old ship captain's manse, I functioned only as my eyes. We meandered across the lush, shaggy front lawn and I existed solely as the lens of my iPhone camera. Met enthusiastically on the front porch by our hosts, I was only vaguely aware of the greetings and hugs, as if heard thru a tunnel. I mumbled the occasional, "so beautiful..." or "wow" but was seriously lost in visual moments which all vied for my closer exploration and ultimate respite.
The house was built in the 1860's and does not betray that century and a half that has passed when viewed from the street. But get inside and you are enthusiastically welcomed by vignettes of furnishings and art spanning the decades (with a comfortable, gorgeous emphasis on customized mid century thrift). I was in heaven. A perfect balance had been struck between respect for the bones of the house and a humorous commentary or outright rejection of it's Victorian formality.