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Town Focus: Day 1 in Bellport
As part of our weeklong visit to Bellport this week, I spent today stopping in businesses along Station Road, South Country Road and Bellport Lane, and taking in the view at Mother’s Beach.
Mayor Will Veitch, who has lived in the village most his life, said upgrades to Mother’s Beach will be unveiled on July 5.
“It’s one of the few places you can go to really enjoy the Great South Bay,” he said. “It’s a beautiful beach and we all love to spend our time there in the summer.”
Veitch and I stopped at It’s Only Natural, a 35-year-old organic store on South Country Road that serves as the village’s longest operating business.
“It’s original. My wife has a lot of integrity and she only sells items she would use on herself,” said co-owner Nick DePaolo, 65.
His wife, Lillian, 65, added, “We were inspired to provide the community with healthy choices. Although it’s hard to stay open in this area, we’re determined to never leave.”
For lunch, I had a tasty steak panini at the Royal Oak Diner, located on Station Road north of Bellport Village. There, I met John Rogers, chairman of the Greater Bellport Coalition, who said gang activity and crime in the Bellport area is a huge problem, but not in the village.
“For years, the coalition have been working on a community development project with the Town of Brookhaven and Suffolk County to lower crime, unemployment, blight and economic development issues,” Rogers said. “Something still needs to be done.”
On Tuesday, I plan to meet with Anna Lou Fletcher, president of the Bellport-Brookhaven Historical Society, and its curator Steven Czarniecki.
If I’m lucky, later this week I’ll be able to spot eaglets near Little Neck Run, which has been closed due to nesting.
Stay tuned for a look into the “Bellport Summer 1900” exhibit, celebrating the seaside resort’s character in the late 19th Century. It is set to open on Friday.
Because Bellport High School Class of 1963 is having its 50-year reunion on Saturday, I’m speaking with attendees about what it’s like to be five decades out of school.
I welcome your input on the rest of my coverage this week. Tell me what you think and where I should go next.
And thank you Sabrina Callahan, Michael White, Shannon Stevens and Howie Guja for your help throughout the day.
And please send me a photo this week via Instagram (@brittanyhwait) of a favorite memory visiting or living in Bellport. I’ll repost the picture at newsday.com/bellportfocus. If you don’t have Instagram, you can also tweet or email me the picture.
I’m going to need your help finding a place to eat lunch every day. Do you have a favorite spot? I welcome your input on that and the rest of my coverage this week. Tell me what you think and where I should go next. You can reach me via email, Twitter and the comments below.