I've been here for two weeks and a day, and I'm settling in. I think I may find here what I've wanted: a quiet, pleasant, orderly life, not without company.
I live in the hamlet of Crosby, New York, in the town of Barrington, which is not quite a town if you expect a town to have buildings. The nearest Post Office, and hence my mailing address, is Penn Yan. The name "Crosby" is not widely used.
It's a peaceful place. Crosby Point was a steamboat stop back when multiple steamboats plied the 20-mile length of Keuka Lake in the 19th century. From written accounts, it seems like it's all anyone ever did back then—ride the steamboats from one end of the lake to the other. It was the era of the so-called "steamboat wars," when each of several companies strove to put the others out of business. Now they are all out of business. An accountant currently occupies the old Crosby house, and the building that was the Crosby's general store, which made them the most prominent family of the tiny area that is sort of named for them, still stands nearby. The Crosby general store declined as the steamboats did, as local roads improved and the automobile arrived.
A view of the lake showing the points or "bump-outs."
I've put a red dot next to mine. Penn Yan is at the northern end of the main arm of the lake, at the very bottom of this picture.
Crosby is a point or "bump-out" on the lake. There was previously no zoning, so there is no minimum standard for the amount of lakefront each house must have, nor was there any proscription about "stacking" houses, i.e., building one in back of another. So my bumpout, which even some locals do not know is called Crosby Point, is chock full of cottages of every kind. And a church, which is across the street from me.
Oddly enough, the weather app on my iPhone does know the name of the tiny hamlet of Crosby...sometimes. It crops up as the location when I'm home. Other times it says Barrington. It's the only place besides history books and the captions of old pictures that I've encountered the name "Crosby" so far.
King and queen
My son Xander and his girlfriend Abby are visiting for the first time. They arrived after dark last night. I worked hard getting the bed assembled for them, and the mattress was delivered in the nick of time. It arrived just hours before they did. I don't have much furniture in the house yet.
The second bedroom—the house has two—is tiny, and doesn't quite fit a queen-sized bed, so the bed in the second bedroom is "full" sized. That word, full, has drifted into euphemism as the years have moseyed past. As with "full-frame" in sensor sizes, full, when it comes to beds, doesn't mean the biggest...it means one in the middle.
I am male, and I probably ought to identify more with kings than with queens. However I believe I've only slept on a king sized bed once, at the cottage my S.O. rented last month. It was impressively, excessively big. There was a hiking trail from one side of it to the other. We texted each other from opposite sides, as it was too far to shout. I suppose full size might have been the biggest size of bed back when the steamboats were running. Everything's relative. Despite the gratuitous genderizing and de facto status ranking of the names, queen sized beds are big enough for me, neither too big nor too small, which is to say, neither too kingly nor too full. Besides, I live in a democracy, and we democrats look askance at the idea of kings and queens.
My second bedroom has a balcony. I bought two little chairs for Xander and Abby to sit in. At night, if you turn off the lights in the house, you can see the Milky Way—there are very few lights in this area at night.
From what I hear, things are about to get very quiet around here. Most of the summer people decamp in the weeks after Labor Day, which is Monday. Although the weekends remain busy into October, that falls off as the days get cold.
There is currently no comfortable place in the house to sit, which, although temporary, is a shortcoming. I have dining-table chairs—no dining table yet; it's being built by the Amish—but no couches or stuffed chairs. The famous orange couch from my last new house was midcentury-modern style. It worked well in that house but would not have looked right in this one. I gave it to Xander, and it is now occupying the living room of his rented group house back in Wisconsin where he goes to college. Before winter gets here, I am probably going to need some furniture.
But there is still time. I will work on it.
Original contents copyright 2015 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Budd Riker: "I enjoyed this post as it reminded me so much of my childhood and early adult life growing up in the same area around Cayuga and Seneca Lake. Most of the time spent in the Ithaca area (the little town of Lansing) around waterfalls, gorges and forests. I didn't appreciate it until recently as I feel the pressure and congestion here in Southern California (moved here in 1976). Growing up there was too peaceful for a young person but would be perfect now. I need to get back there soon for a visit. Still have brothers and a sister there. I hope the peace and companionship you find there enriches your life in many ways!!! Congrats!!!"
Tom Burke (partial comment): "Sounds...well, sounds like it's more your sort of spot than mine, Mike. I enjoy natural beauty, but I also love bustle and crowds. How far away is your nearest grocery store/supermarket? What will it be like in winter? Do you have the means to get out?"
Mike replies: We'll see. I'll keep you posted.
William Walker: "I have just ordered some Solux lights for the gallery and print studio that I am opening in a small village an hour away from Cape Town, South Africa. I have been following your move and some of your thoughts with interest because we too have moved to a 'new life' in a quiet place.
"Anyway, the lights are coming from—according to my UPS tracking number—Henrietta, NY. I though I would see where Henrietta was and, immediately recognised the distinctive shape of Lake Keuka! It seems that Henrietta is not more than about 60 kilometers away from you. Small world! We are in a little village called Riebeek Kasteel and this life suits me just fine! I hope you will settle down nicely too!"
Mike replies: Small world indeed. And now I feel a little more connected to Riebeek Kasteel. Best wishes back to you.