My recent photo ride along the Palisades in New Jersey was so much fun that I took my “good” camera — as opposed to the smartphone that I customarily use for the blog — out again last weekend to photograph an autumn bike ride in the Sag Harbor area. A 25-mile loop took me from East Hampton, through the Northwest Woods, to Sag Harbor and then to North Haven and back.
With most vistas now faded to brown, the photo ops that coaxed me off my bike were either small splashes of residual autumn color or views that hint at the restful beauty of the coming winter season. Although the wooded back roads here are familiar to me, the contrast between summer and late autumn in a resort area is always striking — and wonderful.
Examples? Bicycling in the Northwest Woods in August can mean dodging extra-wide campers bound for Cedar Point Park. In November, on the other hand, you can ride, no hands!, down the center of the road for a few miles if you feel like it.
Pace lines give way at this time of year to pairs and solo riders who are more inclined to give a neighborly nod as they pass along the quiet roads.
The marinas of Sag Harbor that bristle with yachts and smaller craft in summer are deserted now. But the sidewalks and shops of this historic former whaling village that, among Hamptons hamlets, still retrains some of its native charm, are busy with errand runners, coffee sippers and holiday shoppers. Still the store to beat: Sag Harbor Variety, the five-and-dime that has survived.