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Long IslandTowns

Town Focus: Day 3 in Riverhead

The triangular-shaped Georgian Revival building, constructed in 1930-1931,

The triangular-shaped Georgian Revival building, constructed in 1930-1931, the Suffolk County Historical Society building is considered historically and culturally significant as the headquarters of the historical society and a symbol of the importance of local history to Suffolk County residents. (June 16, 2012) Credit: Michael Cusanelli

As I sift through historic photos and dig up Riverhead’s past this morning, be sure to keep up with my antics on Instagram throughout the day and into the rest of the week.

My much-anticipated meeting with Riverhead’s historian Georgette Case is first, and I’ll bring back lots of photos and unique stories from the town’s past to share with you.

For all you history junkies out there, it doesn’t stop there. I’m also stopping in at the Suffolk County Historical Society just down the road to talk to its director, Kathy Curran.

I appreciate the support and suggestions I’ve received so early on. I want you all to know that I’ll do my best to check them all out, including Tweed’s Restaurant & Buffalo Bar and Star Confectionery. I might have to visit Briermere Farms and other places on Friday.

On Thursday, I’ll check out the building of the Brendan House, a group home for the disabled. Inmates with skilled labor backgrounds will be there helping to build the home. Look out for a story on that later on this week. While I’m there, I’ll be speaking with Nancy Reyer, the mother of Michael Hubbard, a 17-year-old who suffered third-degree burns over 40 percent of his body in 2011. Her son will become a resident at the Brendan House.

So far, I’ve toured downtown Riverhead, sat in on an event at the Suffolk Theater, got a behind-the scenes-tour of the Long Island Aquarium and learned more about the Vail-Leavitt Music Hall, built in 1881 to emulate Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C.

As I toured the music hall with Greg “Clutch” Reilly, production manager at the music hall, I noticed the theater’s historic beauty and how well it has been preserved.

“I’d like to see it become more of a popular destination than it is,” said Reilly, 66, of Riverhead. “It lends itself well to performances that need a small, intimate space. My dream, personally, is to have a chamber classical music series here some day”

On Tuesday, I also met with Mary Hughes, executive director of the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce, and Tracy James, president of the chamber, which by the way grew up together. Did you know that? They’ve known each other since age 8.

“No matter where you live in Riverhead, you’re at least five minutes from water,” said James, who lives close to downtown. “We have everything and yet it still maintains its village esque quality of life. This place will always be home to me.”

I want you to continue to follow me and reach out throughout the week. You can contact me via Twitter @Brittanywait, Instagram at brittanyhwait, email or the comments below.

Thank you for your support and full steam ahead.

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