Long Island’s North Fork is home to the only astronomical observatory on the island – The Custer Institute and Observatory.
With the first building going up in 1939, The Custer Institute has been Long Island’s gateway to the stars for almost 80 years. From the first day, they drew public interest – and why not? Those stars up there are not just beautiful but mysterious!
The Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center is, as the name implies, two great family attractions in one!
First is the full-scale aquarium, themed around the “Lost City of Atlantis” and blending natural science with fanciful legend for an entertaining and educational experience for all ages.
The Long Island Aquarium features, among other things, one of the biggest, live coral reef displays in the western hemisphere. There’s also a 120,000-gallon shark tank that, if you’re feeling gutsy, you can enter … in a shark-proof cage, of course!
This is the last post of our Tour the Long Island Gold Coast Mansions. There are some more of the amazing mansions on the Gold Coast of Nassau County that are open to the public. We continue the list in this week’s blog post. Chelsea Mansion: This is ‘modest’ home has 40 rooms and was built in 1924. It is an excellent example of the leading architectural styles en vogue at the time. Not-to-be-missed: the moat! Mill Neck Manor: This property continues to serve a purpose as a primary facility run by the Lutheran Friends of the Deaf.
It has a state-of-the-art Deaf Education Center, Early Childhood Center, community audiology center and facility as well as administrative offices where work is done to serve those who are deaf all over the world. This 86-acre estate also includes the historic Sefton Manor House and formal sunken gardens. Cedarmere: This charming property is dwarfed by its neighbors and is slightly older. Originally the home of American poet William Cullen Bryant, he lived here for over 30 years, until his death in 1878. The property was bequeathed by his family to Nassau County as memorial to Bryant. Enjoy a Gothic-style mill and adorable stone bridge over a small pond. Planting Fields Arboretum State Park: This was the home of Standard Oil heiress Mai Rodgers Coe. Enjoy the Camellia House, which contains the largest collection of flowering camellia bushes in the Northeast. The de Seversky Center: This Georgian neo-calssical mansion was commissioned in 1816 by the inventor and philanthropist Alfred I. DuPont. Its name come from the famous Russian aviator Alexander P. de Seversky.
Lodging for your Travels on Long Island
Our Bed and Breakfast is located in the heart of beautiful and scenic Long Island wine country. In our semi-rural locale, you can walk to the beach, partake in the local farmer’s market and avoid the crowds. Escape from overpriced and pretentious areas of the island – you won’t regret it!
When visiting New York, tour the Gold Coast Mansions in Long Island. The homes of the Gold Coast will transport you to the opulent palaces of Europe. Grand entrances, even grander staircases, tinkling chandeliers and ballrooms fit for Gatsby-esque parties are what you will find in these mansions. Today, these lavish mansions’ gates are open to the public, allowing we commoners to tour the interiors, stroll in the gardens and step back into another era in the American story.
Nassau County Gold Coast History
The Gold Coast was coined during the Gilded Age. Estates with ornate designs and gardens were the weekend and summer homes of the wealthy East Coast elite. Some of their owners included Morgan, Woolworth, Chrysler, Vanderbilt, and Phipps. Their lifestyles and parties are legendary.
Indeed, F. Scott Fitzgerald captured the spirit of the Gilded Age in his classic American novel, “The Great Gatsby,” which fictionalized Kings Point and Sands Point as West Egg and East Egg.
Tour the Gold Coast Mansions in Long Island Open to the Public
Sagamore Hill National Historic Site: From 1902 to 1908 Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th president of the United States and this was the “Summer White House.” He lived there until his death in 1919 and the interior remains exactly the same as it was during his lifetime. Old Westbury Gardens: Tour the Charles II style mansion where the family of John S and Margarita Phipps lived for 50 years. The property is 160 acres and includes renowned gardens, lawns, woods, ponds, lakes and over 100 species of trees. Sands Point Park and Preserve: This park includes three castle-like mansions: Hempstead House, Castle Gould and Falaise. Falaise was built by Harry S. Guggenheim and it a unique structure with think walls, steeply pitched roofs and a round tower that reminds one of where Rapunzel was kept.
Come back later in the month for additional Gold Coast villas to explore!
Lodging for Your Long Island Adventure
Our bed and breakfast is perfectly situated for day tripping all over Long Island. Located in the scenic North Fork Wine Region, we hope you will come and explore the island and its history!
If you are planning a summer vacation to New York City, make sure you save a couple days for Long Island and the Hamptons. This fabled region of luxury and elite residences is also a destination for those a little closer to the median income. Let me explain how you can have an amazing two-day vacation in the Hamptons, without spending like a pop star.
There’s lots of buzz in right now in Montauk, the most Eastern point on Long Island.
A beautiful drive around the Great Peconic Bay from our Bed and Breakfast near Greenport, shabby motels and down-home restaurants are being remodeled into “boho-chic” establishments.
In East Hampton, a gaggle of luxurious boutiques and restaurants have opened. Older hotels and beloved barrooms have been renovated. This is a great place to window shop, grab delicious bites and learn more about what’s happening in the Hamptons.
What’s Going on in the Hamptons While I’m Visiting?
Want to get a jump on what’s going on in the Hamptons during your visit? Grab the free glossy magazines — Social Life, Hampton Life, Hamptons, Hampton Sheet, Dan’s Papers — for the scoop on charity events, screenings and other happenings. You can find them at the doorways of many boutiques in East Hampton.
Speaking of a Scoop…East Hampton Bites
If you have a sweet tooth or need a cold treat during a hot afternoon, the new spot is Scoop du Jour, (35 Newtown Lane, East Hampton) an ice cream parlor where waffle cones are stacked high and flavors like Monster Mint Oreo and Toasted Coconut tempt even the supermodels. You can also get Dreesen’s doughnuts here, a Hamptons institution since the 1950s.
For dinner – two East Hampton restaurants are on the radar: Serafinas (104 North Main St.), a pizza oven and Italian seafood restaurant. Dinner for two runs around $100. If American cuisine and a more moderate price is your preference, check out Bostwick’s Chowder House (277 Pantigo Rd.).
Come back next week for more insider tips on a great trip to the East End of Long Island!
Manhattan may be an island, but it certainly doesn’t have much in the way of beaches. Sure, there’s always Coney Island, but maybe you want something a bit more serene?
If you are visiting New York, we strongly recommend you take a couple days to get out of the city and explore a different face of New York state.
One of the easiest ways to do this is by taking a trip to Long Island. Less than a two hour drive from downtown Manahttan and also accessible via the Long Island Rail Road, we invite you to come and enjoy some fresh air and wide open waterfront during your NYC vacation.
North Fork Beaches
Inlet Pond County Park – One of the beaches closest to our Greenport area B&B is Inlet Pond County Park. Inlet Pond County Park is an undeveloped nature preserve with almost 33 acres suitable for nature walks and surf fishing, a large freshwater pond and beachfront on Long Island Sound with views of the Connecticut shoreline. Gull Pond Beach – Facilities include a playground and rest room. The beach is supervised by lifeguards and attendants. Parking and boat launching by Southold Town permit only. Orient Point County Park/ Orient Beach State Park -This is the very tip of Long Island. Nature trails in woods and along the Long Island Sound and the Peconic Bay give you the best of both shores. At the same time, the view of the Orient Point Lighthouse from the tip is as close as you can get without taking a boat. Meanwhile, Orient Beach State Park is a preserved slice of sandy beach and cedar forest on Gardiner’s Bay. It’s a great area for kayaking. There is also a playground and concession stand. Truman’s Beach – Also very close to our North Fork Inn, this stretch of shore is flanked by huge tidal wetlands.
Come back to the blog next week to see the rest of our list!
There is still time to catch up with all the fun of Long Island Winterfest! The first three weekends in March are a celebration of the beginning of spring on the island and the quality live music continues at wineries all over the Long Island wine country.
So plan to take a day or two have a Long Island escape at the Arbor View House during Jazz on the Vine!
Along with jazz at all the North Fork wineries, there are other cultural events taking place during the festival. Here are some non-jazz performances and two food specials that may interest you: The Cowboy Junkies at Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center. Sunday, March 3 at 8 p.m. $35-$55
In celebration of their fourth and final album in The Nomad Series, called The Wildreness (Volume 4), this band of siblings returns with their signature blend of folk, blues, country and rock.
David Bromberg Quartet at Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center. Saturday March 2 at 8 p.m. $30-$60
He’s paid his dues as “guitar man of the stars.” Now this musical luminary shines as he brings his smooth guitar prowess and perfect bluesman’s voice to Long Island! A master practitioner of folk, blues, bluegrass, and more, this Grammy Award-nominee can play any style. Guest Chef Christopher Augusta at aMano Restaurant. Sunday March 10.
Chef Christopher, from The Harvest Inn returns as a guest chef at aMano. He is creating a special menu for the day. Enjoy some jazz, and then head to aMano for lunch or dinner. Call (631) 298-4800 for reservations. aMano is in Peconic, only 11 minutes away in from our North Fork Inn. Free Wine at Noah’s in Greenport during Jazz on the Vine! Noah’s is located in the adorable village of Greenport at 136 Front Street. Bring in your ticket stub from Winterfest and they will provide you will a free glass of local wine. Noah’s is conveniently located about five minutes away from our Bed and Breakfast in East Marion.
Spend an evening absorbing some art and culture at the galleries on the North Fork of Long Island. Here are some upcoming shows and events that may appeal to the artist in you. ‘Diversity’ Show at the East End Arts Gallery: Artist Frank Wimberley acts as guest Juror at the all media show. The show will be on display from January 18 – March 8. The reception takes place on Friday, February 1 5-7 p.m. The gallery is located at 133 East Main St. in Riverhead. Barbara Pascal at the Riverhead Town Hall Gallery: Enjoy the whimsical artwork of painter Barbara Pascal on display at 200 Howell Ave. in Riverhead, until March 10. Art Haiti: Located in nearby Greenport, Art Haiti gives you a chance to explore and take home the diverse and colorful works made by Haitian artists, most of them still living on the island of Haiti. Located at 402 Main St. in Greenport.
While the beaches of Long Island are certainly busier during the summer months, much activity still takes place along our coastline during the winter. Here are some fascinating activities taking place along the water’s edge this January:
The Storm Beach on Fire Island
On Saturday January 12th, at 1 p.m. learn about how recent Hurricane Sandy affected Fire Island. Sandy significantly transformed the landscape of Fire Island. Join this short outdoor program to compare the new landscape to what you may remember. Learn how the island has changed & how the park is responding to the challenges of a dynamic landscape. Dress for the weather & walking on sand. Rain/Snow Date: Sunday, January 13th.
Long Island’s oldest astronomical observatory is open every Saturday from dusk until midnight. Free and open to the public, enjoy a guided tour of the sky offered by observatory staff. The powerful telescopes will give you a view of the sky you rarely get to see and it’s wonderful to have an informed guide to answer your questions.
Instead of looking up at the sky and wondering, “Which star is that?”…now you’ll know!
The Customer Observatory also has a museum and library with informative exhibits and reference materials for the avid stargazer.
Stargazing Programs at the Custer Institute and Observatory
Custer Observatory hosts a variety of fun and educational events. The next one at the observatory is the weekend of October 19-21. The observatory will have it’s 34th Annual Astronomy Jamoree which coincides very nicely with the upcoming Orionid Meteor Shower. The download a PDF for the full event program and registration details.
Located at 1115 Main Bayview Road, there is bound to be a gathering of cosmophiles there for almost any celestial event. Visit the website, www.custerobservatory.org, for celestial events dates and a daily a clear sky forecast so you can look ahead to your Long Island vacation and know which nights will be your best bet for a clear view of the stars.
Planning a Long Island Romantic Getaway?
Try something a little different from the usual dinner and a movie. The Custer Institute and Observatory is a place to put a sense of wonder into your hearts as you look up at the big sky and it’s uncountable stars…
The Custer Institute is a 12 minute drive from the Arbor View House, a premier Long Island bed and breakfast and spa. We have 13 years of experience as one of the best bed and breakfasts in Long Island. Along with a stunning location, we offer three course gourmet breakfasts and great concierge services, all included with the cost of your stay.