No one knows exactly where he came from—perhaps a sailor taking shore leave, or maybe a wayfarer exploring the colonies—but locals think they know what he's waiting for. In the 1720s, two travelers checked into The White Horse Tavern—still functioning today since 1673. One murdered the other, fleeing into the night, never to be heard from again. Ever since, visitors have seen the ghost of the slain traveler, saying that he appears to be waiting the day for his companion returns and he may take his revenge.
This is just one of the tales shared by the guides of Ghost Tours of Newport. Cloaked in flowing black dresses, billowy capes, and top hats, they lead each tour by lantern light through Newport's historic colonial district, one of the oldest neighborhoods in the United States with buildings dating back to the late 1600s. Leading guests down easily overlooked alleyways still defaced by H.P. Lovecraft's tagging phase, the guides arrive at haunted locations, such as a wrought-iron-gated colonial cemetery neighboring a church constructed in 1726. The stories behind some sightings and locations even intersect with historical figures, such as George Washington and Lizzy Borden. Guides encourage picture taking and receive submissions each week of possible spectral figures caught during a tour, which they post to Ghost Tours of Newport's Facebook albums. These images range from the impression of faces in windows to orbs, believed to represent a spirit with a fondness for bowling.
The crew at Reel Mania Charters customizes fishing trips for anglers of all abilities. As tunes blast from iPods and drinks emerge from coolers, groups cast out lines and reel in fish that range from flounder and porgy to striped bass and sea bass. After a full day of fishing and watching the sun glisten off rolling waves, coolers transport fish home for eating, trophy mounting, or displaying to neighbors to prove that the ocean exists.
East Hampton lies on the far eastern coast of New York's Long Island, which boasts white sands and lush green spaces. The idyllic natural surroundings have long drawn notable out-of-towners. In 1945, husband-and-wife painters Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner bought a wood-frame house here. Pollock used the barn as his studio. Both buildings are still standing and have been added to the National Register of Historic Places. Other historical structures of note include some holdovers from the colonial era and a handful of wooden windmills. Along Montauk's rocky coast, popular pursuits include fishing and treks to observe seals as they come ashore in colder months to warm up over hot toddies.
Although its name does hint at the long, sharp-scented ranks of Christmas trees, Mark's Tree Farm acts as a gateway to many more of nature's marvels. In tribute to the powers of Mother Earth, Mark grows the trees without the use of any chemicals. The expert stargazer also invites groups to follow his laser pointer and the aim of his telescope during astronomy tours on the farm's enclosed viewing space.
Among the whispering leaves, the sharp tang of evergreen boughs mixes with the aromas of hickory and apple wood in the cooling air. Mark lubricates all of his cutting tools, which slice chips and chunks for smoking meats with canola oil, rather than petroleum-based lubricants that can carry carcinogens. He also packages firewood in custom lengths to fit in different stoves and underwhelming time capsules.
Soft breezes skip off the shores of Amos Lake, rustling through trees and across the grassy acreage that surrounds Dalice Elizabeth Winery, where second-, third-, and fourth-generation Italian Americans share the secrets of their polished craft. Having dispersed its all-natural specialty foods and wines internationally, the winery's founding family continually impresses the palates of casual indulgers and contest judges alike, churning out grape-to-bottle chardonnays, merlots, and sauvignons that cannot be found on the shelves of local stores. In addition to tastings, the winery hosts winemaking and cooking classes, during which glasses clink between aspiring chefs and vintners as they learn to entertain houseguests or polite burglars with style and ease.