History surrounds East Hampton this time of year as the weather gets colder and children start counting down to Christmas, and the village spends a lot of effort in bringing the past to life.
"We bombard people. We make them aware of what a historic place we live in," said Hugh King, who -- as the officially appointed town crier -- regularly goes to town and village board meetings to talk about the town's past, and can sometimes be seen in his cloak and top hat, ringing a bell and leading tours in the village.
"We had to cut our last tour off at 37 [people]. We probably could do double that," King said. His upcoming Dec. 13 lantern tour -- the last one of the year -- should attract 25 to 30 people willing to walk in the cold and dark "unless the night is really awful," he said.
The Clinton Academy Museum at 151 Main St. is having a free display of antique dolls and toys -- plain stuffed bears and rabbits that do not dance or laugh or talk back to you -- every Saturday and Sunday from now through Dec. 29. Pull toys and puppets and other relics in the museum operated by the East Hampton Historical Society are also on display.
There will also be a special free reading of Victorian holiday stories at the academy on Dec. 14 at 4 p.m.
Visitors who want to get a free look at a half-dozen historic structures -- all built between 1680 and 1784 -- can walk around on a candlelight tour of decorated historic houses on Dec. 15. Or, they can buy tickets for $15 and take a 90-minute walk around the village with King and historical society director Richard Barons.
Settled in 1648, East Hampton is one of the oldest towns on Long Island, and some colonial-style buildings look the same as when the early settlers built them.
Information on the historical society programs is available on their website -- easthamptonhistory.org -- or by calling 631-324-6850.