Categorized | Our Town

Better and Better

Posted on 02 September 2011

By Robbie Vorhaus

Sag Harbor just keeps getting better and better.

We’re not perfect, nor do I believe in “best” monikers, yet I’m convinced there’s never been a better time to be in Sag Harbor.

Every day, especially now with crowds at their peak, I’m reminded in countless ways how Sag Harbor continues to slowly, deliberately, emerge as a prized American jewel, both for visitors and locals alike.

On a recent evening, waiting on line for take-out pizzas in a packed Conca D’oro, a Florida woman asked me if I, as a resident, was ready for the visitors to go home.

“Not at all,” I replied, sounding like an appointed ambassador, “We’re happy you’re here.”

“I feel that,” she said. “Out of all the places I visit, this is where I most want to live.”

I hear this almost every day. On the beach, walking Main Street, speaking to clients on the phone, or comments made over social media; Sag Harbor is a dream destination, an aspirational place to come and live a better life. Now, more than ever, we’ve elevated ourselves to a world-class community standard, and there’s much evidence to prove that we just keep getting better and better.

Take for example our restaurants. Where on the East End is there a greater concentration of high quality restaurants than right here in Sag Harbor? With the foresight to keep out chain stores and restaurants, Sag Harbor’s culinary community continues setting new standards for fun, innovative, and great tasting fresh meals using much of our local fare.

Several times this summer I’ve been asked to make restaurant recommendations, and after going through my long list of favorites, including Estia’s Little Kitchen, Provisions, Il Cappuccino, The Corner Bar, Conca D’oro, The Beacon, LT Burger, The Dockside, Tutto Il Giorno, B. Smith’s, The American Hotel, Sen and Bay Burger, I inevitably hear back, “Wow, we had a fabulous meal. Sag Harbor restaurants are getting better and better.”

And it’s true.

Main Street has never looked prettier, thanks in part to the wonderful work of our Ladies Village Improvement Society. And for activities, not only do we now have the wildly popular HarborFest in the fall, but if we’re lucky, HarborFrost will also continue. The Bay Street Theatre keeps getting better and better, as do our art galleries, store fronts, and even our Saturday morning farmer’s market. Sag Harbor has joined the digital age, offering free Internet access throughout town, our banks are financially sound and continue offering better and better service, and there’s so much more.

Although I’m not a harbor expert, I’ve heard all summer about how our gorgeous harbor continues getting better and better, running smoother, that the facilities and staff are more accommodating and welcoming than ever, and that among boaters, Sag Harbor is growing as a waterfront destination.

Further, it’s never easy being a cop, although both our village police officers and traffic patrol officers make the job look effortless. I don’t know for sure what makes summer drivers so aggressive, but our Sag Harbor Police officers, along with the patient and observant traffic patrol officers, seem to take great pleasure in kindly soothing these double-line-crossing, antagonistic, seemingly entitled drivers with firm yet respectful enforcement, keeping Main Street flowing smoothly.

In so many ways, Sag Harbor just seems to be working better and better.

Friends of ours, also with children in the Sag Harbor schools, mentioned that what makes Sag Harbor so special for them is our sense of community.

“God forbid something should happen to our family,” our friend said, “we know that by sun down, our porch will be filled with food, our needs looked after, and our Sag Harbor community would surround us with love and support. Our town just keeps getting better and better.”

For years I mindlessly crossed the North Haven bridge. Now, there isn’t a day when I travel across the Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter Veterans Memorial Bridge that I don’t give thanks for our fallen Sag Harbor hero, his family, the Marines and the countless others who had the foresight and willingness to name this bridge in Jordan’s honor. Even our one bridge has gotten better.

Not long ago I talked to a former Sag Harbor School Board member and asked him if he enjoyed serving on the BOE and he said, “No one enjoys serving on the school board, but there is great pleasure in serving Sag Harbor.”

I mentioned this to current school board member, Chris Tice, who told me, “There have been many times over the past year when I actually enjoyed being a board member, especially when I’ve seen the great accomplishments of our students, heard our teachers speak passionately about educating our children, and worked with the administration and fellow board members on new and exciting initiatives,” she said. “The current economic and political climate makes the job of a board member more challenging than ever, but I do enjoy participating in a role that makes a fundamental difference in children’s lives and our community.”

You see, I, too, believe our Sag Harbor schools, emergency and public services, restaurants, retail, parks, our leadership, and our overall community participation just keeps getting better and better.

So don’t bother telling me what’s wrong with Sag Harbor, I’ve got my own list. But if you’re like me, you are so grateful that right here, in our town, life in Sag Harbor just keeps getting better and better.

CNN and CNBC contributor and North Haven resident, Robbie Vorhaus, can be reached at

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