With its close proximity to the city, Great Neck makes a fantastic day trip from New York. Just hop on the train at Penn Station and you’re there in no time!
Great Neck, part of the Gold Coast, is of course known for its opulence and obscene wealth made immortal in The Great Gatsby. There are many mansions here which claim to be the mansion from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous book, but we’ll never know which one it really was for sure. However, many of them are open to the public and you’re free to visit and speculate.
The Nassau County Art Museum is one such mansion and it is also one of the nation’s largest suburban art museums. Sitting on the 145 acre former Frick Estate, it boasts one of the largest sculpture gardens that in Northeast that is accessible to the public with upwards of 40 sculptures. The museum also has a beautiful formal garden of some historical importance. Walk through the garden on some of the guided nature trails.
The Vanderbilt Mansion Museum and Planetarium is another estate worth visiting. Tour the mansion, built from 1910 to 1936, see the museum which includes a marine museum, and several natural history habitats or see a show in the planetarium.
Sands Point Preserve was once a grand estate but in the 1940s it was turned over to the U.S Navy when extensive changes were made to the house to bring it up to military code. Most of those changes have since been removed and the house is now operated by Nassau County Department of Parks, Recreation and Museums. Though it is not furnished, it takes little imagination to see how grand the house must have been in its heyday. It is surrounded by 216 acres of forests, meadows and beaches. Follow along on one of the 6 nature trails.
The Planting Fields Arboretum State Park is the former estate of William Roberston Coe and Mai Rogers Coe. It sits on its original 409 acres, and retains its formal gardens and original buildings. Coe Hall, a Tudor Revival mansion, now displays many items which formerly belonged to the Coe family.
Kings Point Park is a 175 acre park in the heart of Great Neck. With 5 miles of paths, it’s a great place to go for a walk or a run. It’s also a fantastic place to go for a picnic, with over 25 picnic areas complete with tables and grills.
If you have an interested in local history, pay a visit to the Cow Neck Peninsula Historical Society in Port Washington. See local artifacts from toys, clothes, and tools used in the daily lives of people who lived in Port Washington in the past and learn about what life used to be like. They operate the Sands-Willets House, built circa 1735, which is a typical 18th century Long Island farm house and is one of the few buildings of its kind still intact on the island. They also operate the Dodge Homstead, which may be the oldest house in the Port Washington area and dates back to the early 18th century.Tags: Feature