Editor’s note: All week long, Erin Geismar is interviewing people around Orient, from community leaders to residents she bumps into around town. Ellen Cone Busch, 40, of Orient, is director of the Oysterponds Historical Society. Cone Busch moved to Orient about four years ago to take the job with the historical society.
Where did you live prior to coming to Orient?
I lived in Oyster Bay, In Locust Valley, and I was working at Planting Fields Arboretum.
I grew up in Merrick.
Had you ever been to Orient before you started looking into the job?
Like many people, I came through to take the ferry. My husband's family lives in Southeast Connecticut. We would pass through Orient on our way to the ferry, and finally we stopped at one point and realized what a lovely place it is. And then when I came here to work and to the historical society, I realized what an amazing collection they had.
What has it been like to move to such a small community?
It's a very welcoming place. It's very much [like] New England. Coming from Southwest Nassau, it's a different culture. It's a great blend of sophistication and down to earth.
What stands out about the place?
I think it's that small-town feel. Everybody really is one community and everybody knows each other and cares.
Can you give me any examples?
I can't walk to the post office without seeing at least a half dozen people I know. I have committee meetings in the dairy aisle at the IGA. I can catch up with half of my neighbors there.
What are the winters like?
It's quiet. You can find a parking space. I think it's more like a family. It's like at Christmas when you have a house full of guests and then the guests go home and the family stays. It's a nice core. There is a center core of people that this is home to, and it's like a family.
What challenges does the community face?
In striking a balance between accepting the new and keeping the old. The younger generation can't afford to stay here. That is a problem when the new generation can't buy a house here.
Define the character of the community.
Lovely. Rare. Sophisticated. Down to earth.