7 Long Island Towns For History Buffs

Aug 4, 2022

Discover sought-after Long Island historical sites – one town at a time.

From Revolutionary War hideouts to Gatsby-era mansions, the Long Island suburbs are packed with historic sites. In addition to excellent school systems and top-tier restaurants, these towns are home to some well-preserved notable spots just waiting to be explored.

Westbury

When you’re visiting Wesbury, don’t miss the chance to explore the Old Westbury Gardens. Take a tour of this impressive 1906 mansion which earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. Wander the landscaped grounds and imagine what it would have been like to attend a formal party in the beautiful gardens.

Westbury’s Historical Society also invites locals on select days each month to peruse their collection of historical documents and artifacts. Aviation buffs will want to snap a picture with the town’s Spirit of St. Louis Memorial.

Oyster Bay

Oyster Bay was named a Preserve America Community in 2009 and you can follow the Heritage Trail to learn more about the town’s unique past. Visit the Raynham Hall Museum to learn about its connection to one of George Washington’s Revolutionary War spies. The Planting Fields Foundation offers a glimpse of Oyster Bay during the Gold Coast era with grounds designed by the Olmsted Brothers. And, the Railroad Museum is currently being renovated but will soon help preserve the LIRR’s legacy.

But the biggest of the local Long Island historical sites is Theodore Roosevelt’s home, Sagamore Hill. Take a tour of the “Summer White House” to see where Teddy went to escape the stress of DC.

Stony Brook

Follow the Stony Brook Harbor Walk to stretch your legs and learn about the town’s past. Signs mark historic sites along the way, which include the 18th-century Stony Brook Grist Mill. If you settle in Stony Brook, consider becoming a member of The Long Island Museum. The Carriage Museum is an especially interesting exhibit where you can get an up-close look at the ways Long Islanders traveled before cars.

Huntington

Huntington traces its history back to 1653 and it was part of the earliest American colonies. About 200 years later, wealthy New Yorkers traveled via train to escape the heat and relax in the town’s waterfront resorts. The most breathtaking site in town is Oheka Castle. This Gold Coast mansion is one of the biggest private residences ever constructed in America. Take a tour to learn more about the lavish estate. 

The town’s historical society also runs an Antiques and Collectibles Shop for anyone who wants to bring a one-of-a-kind piece of history into their home.

Sands Point

This small town was incorporated in 1910 and is home to the magnificent Gold Coast estate Sands Point Preserve. Explore the historic grounds and admire the three mansions that once belonged to the Guggenheim family.  Fun fact: this area inspired “East Egg” in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby.

Check the calendar for the next guided nature walk if you want to hear about the Preserve’s flora and fauna, as well as its unique history.

Garden City

Garden City, which was developed in the late 1800s, is considered one of the oldest planned communities in the country. Alexander Turney and Cornelia Stewart built more than 50 structures, including the Cathedral of the Incarnation, that are now part of the National Register of Historic Places. The Garden City Hotel also traces its history back to Stewart. While it’s been renovated multiple times, this iconic hotel was first built in 1874. Book a room for a staycation (it’s hosted many politicians and celebrities over the years) or visit one of the top-notch eateries on site.

The Cradle of Aviation Museum also gives curious visitors a glimpse at 100 years of aviation history. Here you can see WWII-era planes, learn about women in aviation and more.

Greenport

Greenport is a bit further out but this North Fork town is great for anyone interested in maritime history. This fishing village is home to the East End Seaport Museum and Marine Foundation which also offers historic lighthouse tours and sponsors the annual Maritime Festival. Take a self-guided walking tour of the historic district to admire early 19th-century buildings or visit the Railroad Museum if you consider yourself a train buff.

From Greenport, you can hop on the ferry to Shelter Island which has its own history museum.

Whatever you’re looking for in a suburb, we’re here to help you find it. Get in touch today and we’ll start planning your town tours so you can discover the right ‘burb for you.

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