Music to Our Ears – The Summer Concerts are BACK!

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO) proudly presents two live music summer concerts on the two-acre Stony Brook Village Green to take place this August. Performing bands include Carolyn Benson & the Anthem Band: A Tribute to America on August 15th, and the Jazz Loft Big Band featuring Grammy-nominated vocalist Nicole Zuraitis on August 29th. Both bands are scheduled to perform 7pm to 9pm with a short intermission at 7:45pm. Both concerts are FREE.

Carolyn Benson & the Anthem Band, a 5-piece band, will be performing a patriotic rock and roll salute to veterans, service members and all Americans. The Jazz Loft Big Band, a 17-piece band, will perform with Grammy-nominated vocalist and winner of the 2021 Gold Medal and Ben Tucker Jazz Award in the American Traditions Vocal Competition, Nicole Zuraitis. They will perform classic and historic big band arrangements from the 1940s through 1960s, many from their own archives.

The 2021 Summer Concerts on the Green are sponsored by Realty Connect Team Ardolino, Camco Realty/Charlie Lefkowitz, TEB North Country Car Care, Edward Jones of Stony Brook, Holiday Inn Express and Bagel Express.

     For more information about the concerts, the WMHO, other upcoming events in Stony Brook Village, please call the WMHO office at 631-751-2244

Here For You – Choose your own experiences!

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization will offer a new Master Class series, “Here for You”, which will take place each month, from January to June. “Here for You” will feature everything that Stony Brook Village has to offer to Long Islanders. Participants will be able to choose the format that is most enjoyable for them – in person or virtually. Subscriptions for the entire series is $85 per person, which includes a “taste kit” from the Crushed Olive, a “Stony Brook Village Booklet” with insider tips from experts in cooking, mindfulness exercises, floral arrangements and photography, and special “hot” deals throughout Stony Brook Village.

Participants will be a part of six content-rich experiences from Stony Brook Village that span across the arts, health, science, history and culture. The monthly series will include virtual tours of Madagascar, South America and Europe, culinary lessons, open-air guided tours of Stony Brook Village, and much more.

The first class of the series will take place on Friday, January 29th, is titled “The Power of Flowers” and features the Village Florist and Events owner, Amanda Haggquist. In this virtual workshop, participants will utilize a floral arrangement kit, learn about popular winter flowers and arrangement techniques, and discover the origins of flower arranging. This class is available without the seasonal subscription at $20 per person.

Upcoming programs include Mona Rossero, owner of the Crushed Olive, Guy Reuge, the Executive Chef of the Mirabelle Restaurant, primatologist Patricia Wright and her husband, wildlife photographer Noel Rowe, and professional meditation and spirituality guide, Michael Opisso.

To learn more about the “Here for You” series and to register, call the Ward Melville Heritage Organization office at 631-751-2244.

More than Music: The Human Spirit of Jazz and the Art of Living Joyfully

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO) is continuing the “Let’s Talk Life” Master Class series on November 18th at 1pm over Zoom with “More than Music: The Human Spirit of Jazz and the Art of Living Joyfully with Tom Manuel, DMA”. There is no cost to attend this program, but registration is required. 

Dr. Manuel will lead the meeting in an exploration of Jazz and its role not only in the American songbook, but in healing and invigorating the human spirit. A discussion of the art of living joyfully will follow, including the importance of embracing spontaneity in everyday life.

Dr. Manuel is the founder and President of the Jazz Loft in Stony Brook Village, as well as a Jazz historian, music educator and trumpet player and the recipient of an endowed Artist in Residence chair within the Jazz department at Stony Brook University. He also holds a faculty position with the Stony Brook University Young Artist Program directing their jazz program in residence at the Jazz Loft.

To learn more about the monthly Master Class “Let’s Talk Life” series and to register for individual master classes or a yearly Master Class subscription, call the Ward Melville Heritage Organization office at 631-751-2244.   


The Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO) will host a New Beginnings Online Auction to benefit the restoration and maintenance of T. Bayles Minuse Mill Pond Park in Stony Brook Village between October 19th and November 16th. The auction will include east-end getaway packages, priceless experiences and extraordinary private tours.

The New Beginnings Auction is as easy as eBay and will feature items starting at $50 to items that have a priceless value. Included in the auction are a six-hour, private six-person fishing charter, dinner for four at Duryea’s Orient Point, rare liquor, pizza every month for a year, an exclusive champagne toast and drinks for six at the Explorer’s Club with President Richard Wiese (pictured to right), and a variety of other items and experiences.

A travel package sponsored by the RJG Group includes seven (7) Resort Accommodation Certificates – each certificate’s value ranges from $2,100 – $3,800. Each Certificate provides resort accommodations for seven nights for up to two or three rooms, depending on the resort (the number of rooms is specified on each Certificate). Destinations include Antigua (pictured below), St. Lucia, Barbados, the Grenadines, and Panama.  Ron Gonzalez CEO of RJG Consulting Group says that his group, “is an information technology company located in Stony Brook Village committed to giving back to the community. RJG Group believes that the mission of the Ward Melville Heritage Organization is critical to the local community and Long Island. WMHO provides educational and cultural programming, they also preserve our local historical sites and wetlands. These sites are part of our identity as a community.  Preserving them as well as providing culturally diverse events and education are the pillars of our company’s core values at RJG Group. As a reflection of our shared vision, RJG Group is providing various Resort Accommodation Certificates in approximate total value of $24,250 to the WMHO.  As CEO, Ronald Gonzales is proud to support community organizations, especially during this difficult time”.

There is FREE ADMISSION to register to bid on the auction items, and credit cards of the highest bidders will not be charged until November 16th, when the auction closes. Participants will be notified when they have been outbid.

On November 12th, the New Beginnings Virtual Party will take place with live entertainment, interactive challenges, special guest stars and the chance to win live auction items. Tickets for the New Beginnings Virtual Party are $125 per person, and for the first 50 donors, each virtual celebration ticket includes a luxury gift bag with wine, provisions, over $500 in gift certificates and more. Patrons who register past the first 50 will be eligible for entry into the exclusive “12 Different Experiences at 12 Different Restaurants” raffle prize.

For more information on the New Beginnings Benefit events and sponsorship opportunities, please call 631-751-2244. To register for the New Beginnings Online Auction and the New Beginnings Virtual Party, please visit


The Ward Melville Heritage Organization is continuing the Secrets of Stony Brook Village Walking Tours, leaving from the Stony Brook Post Office every Wednesday through October 21st at 2:50pm. Tickets for this event are $5 per person, reservations are recommended.

Participants will learn the unheard history of Stony Brook Village. The tour includes the restoration of the village by the Melville family, Jonas Smith, Long Island’s first millionaire who called the Three Village Inn home, the Stony Brook Grist Mill and Long Island’s first vineyard, the myth of the Hercules figurehead and all of the stories in between.

The success of the Secrets of Stony Brook Village Walking Tours has resulted in the emergence of the Secrets and Spirits of Stony Brook Village Walking Tours, taking place on Wednesday, October 28th and Thursday, October 29th at 2:00pm and 4:00pm on each day. Participants will get the inside scoop on the spirits who lived, loved, died and still reside in Stony Brook Village – like Mark and Sarah, two star-crossed lovers who lived by the harbor in the early 1800s. Other spirits include famed painter William Sidney Mount and his séances, the traveling ghost of Jonas

Hawkins, the “Lady in White” at the Stony Brook Grist Mill and many more. Tickets for the Secrets and Spirits of Stony Brook Village Walking Tours are $12 per person. Reservations are recommended. Both walking tours are in part inspired by the works of Edward Lapham, Secrets of Stony Brook and the Forgotten Christmas that were published with funding from Ward Melville in the 1930s and early 1940s.

The ‘spirits’ can continue after the walking tour, as the Mirabelle Tavern at the Three Village Inn (c. 1751), and the Country House (c. 1710) will be offering Secrets and Spirits of Stony Brook Village ticket holders drink specials with the purchase of food items.

To learn more about the Secrets and Spirits of Stony Brook Village, to reserve your tickets and hear about our safety precautions, call the Ward Melville Heritage Organization at 631-751-2244.



Over 45 scarecrows of all shapes and sizes have been erected throughout Stony Brook Village Center for the Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s 30th Annual Scarecrow Competition. Winning scarecrows will win cash prizes based on the number of votes they receive from the public.

Ballots can be found in all shops in Stony Brook Village Center. Once completed, ballots should be returned to any shop to be counted in for voting. Voting is open until Monday, October 26th.

On October 30th at 3:00pm, the winners of the Scarecrow Competition will be announced in a Zoom meeting with all competition participants, as well as posted on the Stony Brook Post Office Community Board.


The sponsors of the 30th Annual Scarecrow Competition are as follows: The Main Event sponsor The Suffolk Center for Speech and Myofunctional Therapy, the Main Event sponsor, Dr. Robert Quilty, Ph.D., the Goblins and Ghouls sponsor, Dr. Samuel Taube, LCSW, BCD., the Great Pumpkin sponsor, and Carissa Millet, LCSW, Psychotherapist, the Candy Corn sponsor.

To learn more about the Scarecrow Competition or the Ward Melville Heritage Organization, call 631-751-2244.

The Return of the Scarecrows!


Announcing the Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s 30th Annual Scarecrow Competition! This October, scarecrows will once again line the sidewalks of Stony Brook Village Center!

Ward and Dorothy Melville made it their duty to provide the Three Village area with activities and to promote community connectedness during times that try the human spirit – in their case, the Great Depression. The Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO) continues their legacy of remaining positive and including the Three Village community by creating fun, creative and unique activities during times like these. The Scarecrow Competition provides exactly this to kids, adults and families in the Three Village area.  The Scarecrow Competition allows for the exploration of their imaginations to create their scarecrow masterpiece in a location where they can maintain social distancing.

Winners for each category (previous winners & professionals, adults & families and children) will be chosen by the public, and will win valuable cash prizes! Individuals, families, children, teams and even previous winners are welcome to register for this fun experience but must return their registration form by September 28th 2020.  

Between Thursday, October 1st and Monday, October 26th, whenever you visit a shop or restaurant in Stony Brook Village, make sure you vote for your favorite scarecrow creations on a ballot. Simply return your ballot to any shop to ensure that your vote will be counted in.

The winners will be announced virtually on Friday, October 30th.

The sponsors of the 30th Annual Scarecrow Competition are as follows: The Main Event sponsor – The Suffolk Center for Speech and Myofunctional Therapy, the Goblins and Ghouls sponsor – Dr. Robert Quilty, Ph.D., the Great Pumpkin sponsor – Dr. Samuel Taube, LCSW, BCD., and the Candy Corn sponsor – Carissa Millet, LCSW, Psychotherapist.

Registration for this event is required. You can pick up a registration form at any of the shops in Stony Brook Village, or you can download it digitally from the events section of the Stony Brook Village Center website. To enter this competition, please return the completed registration form to The Ward Melville Heritage Organization – P.O. Box 572, Stony Brook, NY 11790, with the entry fee of $25.

Free Summer Concerts Begin – Special Guest Performance

Stony Brook, NY – It’s show time once again in picturesque Stony Brook Village!  The Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s (WMHO) free summer concerts will kick off its season of live music on July 8 at 7 pm with Ed DeCorsia & New York’s Most Dangerous Big Band.

A highlight at the opening concert will also be a performance by the multi-talented singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and actress Ava Della Pietra (pictured) directly from Broadway.  Ava has performed in Les Miserables, White Christmas and in the original cast of School of Rock!  Only 13 years old, Ava will cut her first EP early this fall and two of her songs from that album will be debuted at the concert!

In addition, WMHO’s “Long Island’s Got Talent” semifinalists will also perform at each concert and audience members will be asked to vote for their favorite! Winners will be chosen in the fall.  The remainder of the concerts will be July 15, The Queen of Dixie Land; July 22, Six Gun Band; July 29, Left Jab Band; August 5, Sound Chaser Band, August 12, The Steel Silk Band and August 19 with Tom Manuel & The Jazz Loft Big Band.  Tom Manuel, President and Founder of The Jazz Loft says, “I am thrilled to be performing once again with The Jazz Loft Big Band at the closing performance.  Part of our Annual Harbor Jazz Festival  it will include a repertoire from luminaries such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Benny Goodman!  WMHO has served as the cornerstone of our community for decades and its an honor to partner with them throughout the year on a variety of projects.”  

Sponsored by Competition Automotive Group, Owen Brothers and Realty Three/Ridgeway Plaza,  visitors will be en tertained under the stars from 7 pm to 9 pm in front of the Stony Brook Post Office at the Village Green in Stony Brook Village Center, 111 Main Street.   Concert-goers are encouraged to bring chairs or blankets.  There are no rain dates.  For information call 631-751-2244 or visit

TAKE YOUR BEST SHOT: Unique Photo Cruises aboard “The Discovery”

Learn the importance and fragility of an ecosystem along with the beauty of a salt marsh moraine and much more during one of WMHO’s special Photography Cruises offered by Camera Concepts & Telescope Solutions (CCTS) aboard the “Discovery” Wetlands Cruise.

This is not just your ” run-of-the-mill” photo cruise! Jeff Norwood, owner of CCTS and lifelong professional photographer (pictured), will offer advice on capturing stunning shots and will give useful tips and tricks that he has learned over the years.   After the cruise guests will gather at the Stony Brook Marine Services Gazebo where Jeff will use a massive 50 inch LED high-resolution display with high-def video and crystal clear audio so participants can immediately share their best shots with razor-sharp clarity and receive feedback from their photographic guide. The first Photo Cruise of the season will be Saturday, June 30.  Lesson starts at 1 pm and cruise departs at 1:30 pm.

The Ward Melville Heritage Organization has been offering Discovery Wetlands Cruises since 1995. A naturalist is on board to guide passengers through this exceptional experience viewing waterfowl, birds and more, embracing ecology, geology and history. The cruise also includes information on how Native Americans first settled here so there is much to choose from for the photography enthusiast.

The “Discovery” 27-passenger pontoon boat takes passengers from Stony Brook Harbor through the wetlands at West Meadow Creek. Morning, mid-day and sunset cruises are available.  Cruises depart from 51 Shore Road in Stony Brook (Stony Brook Marine Services parking lot) and run now through October 14.  Morning, mid-day and sunset cruises are offered and the full schedule can be found at Individual rates are $28 for adults, $25 for students and seniors and $18 for children under 6. Photography cruises are $50 pp. Remaining photography cruise dates are July 14, August 25, and September 22.  Group discounted rates are also available. Reservations are preferred to secure your spot, but walk-ons are accepted with cash payment at the boat when space is available. For additional information or to make your reservation, call (631) 751-2244.

Discovery Photo Credit:  WMHO

Jeff Norwood Photo Credit:  CCTS

Take a Virtual Trip to South Padre Island

Stony Brook, NY – The Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO) and Burner Law Group, P.C. have launched unique programming focused on the vitality, wisdom and life experiences shared by the 55-plus generation – “The Third Age.” Through various events such as virtual travel, cyber security workshops or master classes with special guests, participants are invited to come, listen and share their own inspirational stories.

This first of its kind programming on Long Island, next in this series will be on May 23 from 1 pm – 2:30 pm with Virtual Travel to South Padre Island – Riders of the Stream at Sea Turtle, Inc., the hub for sea turtle rescue in Texas. Sea Turtle, Inc. was founded in 1977 by Ila Fox Loetscher, better known as “The Turtle Lady of South Padre Island” and guests will learn much about the rescue and rehabilitate of injured sea turtles for release back into the wild, conservation efforts, nesting, hatchling releases and much more.              

The program takes place at WMHO’s Educational & Cultural Center, 97P Main Street, Stony Brook and the cost is $15 pp. Refreshments will be served.  Call 631-689-5888 for reservations and visit for full details on all upcoming programs.

Photo Credit:  Sea Turtle, Inc.