Albert’s Landing Beach – Shells and Bygone Days

Alberts Landing Beach Amagansett

Looking at this view of Albert’s Landing Beach on a rainy day you may not think of the days of The Great Gatsby. The Roaring Twenties. Parties at mansion estates in Long Island.

Soon children will be playing and swimming on this bay beach in Amagansett. A family-friendly beach on Gardiner’s Bay where the water is shallow and quiet on sunny days.

Broadview Bell dock, Amagansett

But yesterday late afternoon we headed the other way. A break in the rain to beachcomb amongst the Old Bell’s piers on the north side of Albert’s Landing.

In 1916 Dr Dennistoun Bell built a mansion estate set in over 500 acres above this bluff.

One of the grandest of the old estates in the Hamptons. With guest cottages, outbuildings, a garage for two Rolls-Royces, seven maids, 2 laundresses, 17 maintenance men, a tutor for his two children and a one mile long driveway.

Broadview estate dock in backgroundBroadview dock and fishing nets

In exchange for land given as a nature reserve to the town, Bell secured the beach below his 21 room mansion. In 1931 he built a dock for his 70 foot yacht.

In bygone days when the waters were deeper and a cogged wheel furnicular brought guests up and down the bluff.

Walking Old Bells Pier AmagansettAlberts Landing beach HamptonsRunning among wood posts Alberts Landing AmagansettAlberts Landing beach Hamptons pier

Later it was owned by Reginald Bell, the first African-American to build a billion dollar company. But in 1991, three years after his family moved in, Broadview mansion burnt down.

Since then the land has been parceled off to developers. Now the area above the bluff is known as the Broadview Bell estate filled with multi-million dollar homes.

wide shot Alberts Landing piers

As my children wandered along the shell covered beach and wood posts, we came upon a fallen tree covered in shells. Maybe placed on the tree by some other beachcomber. Or caught on its branches in a storm?

Alberts Landing beach Hamptons shell tree

Luce picking shells on treeLuce decided she wanted all the knobbed whelk shells, even though they were broken.

luce carrying shells

I thought it was seaweed she was holding too. After a recent beach field trip at school, Luce showed me that it was actually a string of whelk egg capsules. Each round capsule has 20 to 100 eggs inside.

string of whelk capsule

Later at home she opened one of the capsules up and showed me the miniature whelks inside.whelk string egg capsulewhelk babies
Theo tried to dig up an iron peg from the 1930s. Iron peg from Old Bells PierTheo and pier

He climbed the eroding bottom edge of the bluff. Bluff edge, Albert's Landing

But I stopped him climbing an old staircase leading up to the Bell estate and its long gone Broadview mansion.

stairs on bluff Albert's Landing Amagansett

Among the debris in the sand on Albert’s Landing beach we found spider crab shells, jingle shells, Quahogs and an assortment of other multi-coloured shells and stones.

Beachcombing Alberts Landing

And I thought of the days in the past when members of the estate had walked on these sands. When the posts were part of firm piers.

posts in water

Now an area with silent echoes from the past. Until the families flock in for the summer season.

Theo taking photos

Just as we drove away from Albert’s Landing beach, I stopped the car by some rushes on the edge of the road. Once Dr Bell’s property and now a nature reserve. We opened the car windows and listened to a chorus of birds singing in it as dusk approached.

Dennistoun Bell Park, Amagansett

Albert’s Landing Beach, Amagansett

Also known as Big Albert’s Landing Beach, this Amagansett bay beach is popular with families during the summer season and includes areas with BBQ grilles, picnic tables, and even a ‘comfort station.’  Lifeguards are only on duty during the summer season. There’s a large car park at the end of Albert’s Landing Road in Amagansett but resident parking permits from East Hampton township are needed for parking when the beach opens for the summer season. It opens weekends only from Memorial Day weekend and then full time from June 18th (2014) through Labour Day weekend.

Parking is allowed without permits anytime during the off-season. Albert’s Landing Beach and the Old Bell’s pier area are great to take kids beachcombing any time of the year.

28 thoughts on “Albert’s Landing Beach – Shells and Bygone Days”

  1. Wow what an interesting history this beach has! And so much treasure to be found, I would loveee to have a nature hunt somewhere like this… our beaches tend to have pebbles, bits of seaweed and a few tiny shells – never found anything else! That tree with all the shells is so cool – I can’t decide if I want the shells to be left there by the wind or left by an excited little adventurer… 🙂

    1. My daughter insisted on taking ALL the shells no matter what their state. We now are getting rather a huge collection of shells at home!

  2. Wow, great story, and can’t believe the variety of shells. We just don’t seem to find much on British beaches we’ve been to. I’d never have known about the whelk eggs either – amazing what they learn at school from field trips – shows what value they have.

  3. It does look nice! I can see people in their old style clothes having a grand time in there. Looks gloomy but there is something nice about that gloomy weather. It made evrything so romantic =) #countrykids

    1. It’s fun thinking of people in their twenties swimming costumes and outfits in the same place in its Great Gatsby style days.

  4. I love beach combing. Haven’t done it recently, my daughter and husband love rock-pooling that’s why we never stray far from the rocks instead of combing the beach. One of these days, I’ll do just that! 🙂 Love the words and photos as always. #CountryKids.

  5. It looks like you were the only ones there! Out of season is often the best time to explore and this beach has so much historic features and wonderful stories. Thanks for linking up and sharing with Country Kids.

  6. Oh wow Kriss what a post! It sounds and looks absolutely amazing there, a fascinating story. What great finds too. I love that photo of Luce with all the shells athough they’re all wonderful 🙂

  7. What an amazing place with great history and stories, so wonderful for the kids to see it too from a different perspective. Some great finds too, those tiny welks are so small and perfect

  8. Hellie's Corner

    I bet that beach looked very different back then, with people from the Grand Estate dressed in all their finery!! I love beaches and beach combing, we have some nearby, but they don’t have shells as exotic as those your daughter has found, on them.

  9. That’s such a fascinating story! It’s a different experience altogether to visit a place which has so much history. I love that photo of the pier posts, it looks fantastic!

  10. It is always delightful to see how you make memories with you sweet babies. As always your pictures are stunning. I enjoyed the stroll on the beach with you, and learning more about your area, thank you.

  11. Great times of my 1970’s childhood here. Don’t think I’ll ever get back, so thanks for the memories, terrific photos!

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