Boxing Day has always been our favorite day of the winter holidays. The day after Christmas, December 26th is a day when we make sure not to have any family obligations and can do what we want to do with the folks we care to share it with.
The first Christmas Gary and I spent together, in 1996, we were living in Jersey City – where Gary had several restaurants, a business catering in-house to some of the major brokerage firms in ‘Wall Street West’, a gourmet pizza manufacturing business, and a culinary school for ‘at risk’ students. I was working at the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) licensing programs to Cable TV and developing the business and programming plans for the BBC America Channel. We were a bit busy. . .
But on Boxing Day that year, we took off to the North Star Pub in the South Street Seaport in lower Manhattan – to continue a tradition that Gary had practiced with his sous chefs and drinking buddies over the years.
The North Star Pub (unfortunately no longer operating) was, at that time, known for generating the most revenue, per stool, of any tavern in America. It had a great beer list — many, at that time, unavailable anywhere else this side of the Atlantic ocean, great traditional American food, and was located across the street from the Fulton Fish Market – the major fish market in New York (which has since moved to Hunts Point in the South Bronx.) It was great fun and great history combined! The South Street Seaport is worth visiting while you are in NY for the historic museums and ships. And some shopping, too. Although the North Star is no longer there, be sure to stop for libations at The Paris Cafe. There are also several restaurants worthy of your time and appetite.
Boxing Day in the UK – originally a day when the lord of the manor let the servants go home after the Christmas Day festivities, gifts were distributed to the help, and the Church’s alms boxes were opened and distributed to the poor – is now a national Bank Holiday in England and Ireland.
Until 2004, Boxing Day hunts were a traditional part of the day, but the ban on fox hunting has put an end to this in its usual sense. Hunters will still gather, dressed resplendently in red hunting coats, to the sound of the hunting horn. But, since it is now forbidden to chase the fox with dogs, they now follow artificially laid trails.
Now horse racing and football have replaced the hunt as staples of Boxing Day. It is also a time when the British show their eccentricity by taking part in all kinds of silly activities including bizarre traditions like swimming the icy cold English Channel! And, of course, shopping!
In East Hampton, we highly recommend a walk on the ocean beach, followed by some (after the fact) holiday shopping, and a tipple at Rowdy Hall.
Maybe a movie in town or, even better, in front of your fireplace at the Mill House Inn.
Truffle, Sea Salt & Black Pepper or Cinnamon Spiced Popcorn? Call down to the front desk for your favorite holiday movie . . . Maybe some Coffee or Drinking Chocolate?
Happy Holidays from all of us at the Mill House Inn!
Maybe it will snow . . .