Tuesday, July 28, 2015

7 Things To Do in Oyster Bay

Postcard Courtesy of the Oyster Bay Historical Society
C&T's Empire Insider will give you the ins and outs of what to do, what to see, and where to see it in all corners of New York state.
Originally posted in AAA's Car & Travel, July/August 2015 
By: Andrew G. Rosen

Oyster Bay is often revered as the crown jewel of the opulent North Shore. With deep historical ties, including President Theodore Roosevelt taking up residence in the region, it’s no wonder the area is consistently a must-visit for Northeasterners. The stellar water quality of Oyster Bay helps produce mouth-watering oysters, representing up to 90 percent of the oysters and up to 40 percent of the hard clams harvested in all of New York State.

Planting Fields Greenhouse
Photo by Meredith Maus
1. With over 400 acres of rolling lawns and woodland paths, Planting Fields Arboretum offers a gorgeous collection of horticulture, much of which is unique to the area. Coming soon is the new “sensory garden” where an interactive pool and sheltered outdoor room promise to deliver tranquility and beauty to all who visit.

Sailboats loading at the WFC
Photo by Meredith Maus
2. Once a hub for manufacturing WWII minesweepers for the U.S. Navy, The WaterFront Center is now an environmental education and recreation not- for-profit community center. After renting a kayak or paddleboard, be sure to check out the historic Christeen, the oldest surviving oyster sloop in North America (sunset and harbor sails are offered).

Sagamore Hill NHS
Photo by Meredith Maus

3. One visit and it’s easy to understand why Theodore Roosevelt, the only U.S. president born in New York City, made Sagamore Hill his “summer White House.” Technically in Cove Neck, east of Oyster Bay Cove, the recently rehabilitated home (as of press time, expected to re-open in mid-July) serves up a slice of history.

Flight Tasting at OBBC
Photo by Meredith Maus

4. The nautical-themed tasting room at the Oyster Bay Brewing Company is standing room only, but after a craft beer flight, who cares! Watch them brew their hoppy IPA or crisp amber ale on premises or fill up your empty growler and enjoy from the comfort of home.

Photo Courtesy Audubon New York

5. Originally designed to provide a protected environment for songbirds in the 1920s, the 12-acre Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary & Audubon Center was donated to the public by the president’s cousins in his name. Visitors leave with a greater respect for the natural world after enjoying hands-on environmental education programs.

Photo Courtesy Oyster Fest Facebook

6. We had to talk about the oysters, no? The annual Oyster Festival (Oct. 17–18, 2015) attracts over 200,000 people who partake in oysters— raw, fried and stewed. As the East Coast’s largest waterfront festival, you’ll find entertainment, rides, crafts and over 60 food options (just in case oysters aren’t your thing).

Photo by Meredith Maus

7. Rooted in the community since the early 1900s, Bonanza’s is more than your average walk-up snack window. Enjoy a chili dog (it’s boiled!), gooey cheese fries and cool off with creative homemade Italian ice flavors such as margarita, PB&J and cake batter. No wonder this place has been a community staple for generations.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Sagamore Hill National Historic Site Re-Opening!

Sagamore Hill, Photograph taken by Meredith Maus
Oyster Bay, New York - The main house at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site has been closed to visitors since December 4, 2011.  In the past four years - while the grounds, Visitor Center, and Theodore Roosevelt Museum at Old Orchard have remained open - the 26th President's former home underwent a $10 million renovation.

The pain-staking renovation may not be noticeable to returning visitors - and this is exactly the point.

All of the books, hunting trophies, and furniture were removed from the massive three-story and 28 room mansion during the renovation - which included replacing the roof, repairing the foundation, and rewiring the home's electrical system - and then replaced exactly where they had been.

Sagamore Hill National Historic Site during Renovation
Photograph by Meredith Maus

"We hope that if he walked
through the front door right
now, he would think he was
back during the presidential

- Susan Sarna
Museum Curator

The home is now slated to open its doors again to the public and a grand re-opening celebration has been organized by the staff to commemorate this momentous occasion!

Come one, Come All!
To the Re-opening Celebration & Family Festival! 

Sunday, July 12, 2015 starting at 10 am

  • Reopening address to be presented by Roosevelt family members, public officials, and an appearance by Theodore Roosevelt (portrayed by James Foote)
  • 10 AM - Tale of Two Teddies - Children's book author, Kathleen Bart will be signing books in the book store
  • 11 AM to 4 PM - Children's Activities
    • Arts & Crafts
    • Old-Fashioned Games
    • Pony Rides
    • Rough Rider Enlistment
  • 1 PM - "Rough Riders" Cavalry Demonstration
  • 2 PM - Sagamore Hill Band - Under the direction of Steve Walker
  • 11 AM to 4 PM - Other Performances Demonstrations & Services
    • Long Island Band Organ under direction of Michael Falco
    • Interactive Photobooth provided by Baltimore Photo Social
    • Historic Carriages displayed by Paumanok Driving Club
    • Antique Automobiles displayed by Long Island Sound Region: Classic Car Club
    • Food & Refreshements will be available through vendors on site

Sagamore Hill's gateway community - Oyster Bay - is also busy prepping for the event.  Trolly service will be available from the LIRR station and other parking locations in the downtown to Sagamore Hill to help cut down on congestion at the hill.  Great restaurants and businesses will be open for those interested in making it a whole day affair!