Adventureland in Farmingdale is Long Island’s longest-running amusement park.

Farmingdale has long served as one of Long Island’s key “hub” destinations, first for rail and stagecoach travel, and later, for all things aviation, bringing with it a steady stream  of visitors.

Countless businesses have sprung up over the years, making the greater Farmingdale area a perennial hot spot for dining, retail and entertainment. A cruise down the Route 110 corridor — especially if you’re headed to the movies or Adventureland — is a quintessential part of the Long Island experience.

“Farmingdale has something for everyone,” says Dave Saul, a spokesman for Farmingdale village. “There’s a historic Long Island Rail Road station, a thriving Main Street with all types of dining and entertainment, and we cherish our Village Green, where during the summer you can relax and enjoy music by the Village Pops, or bring the family to enjoy a classic ‘Movie on the Green.’ We also have great outside activities, like Music on Main and Cultural Arts Day, parades down Main Street, great shopping, our own breweries and speakeasy, and we’re just minutes away from the famous Black Course at Bethpage State Park.”

The region was settled in 1687 by Thomas Powell, who acquired 15 square miles from three native tribes in 1695 in a deal known as the Bethpage Purchase. Developer Ambrose George built a general store and acquired substantial acreage in what was called Hardscabble in 1841. He renamed it Farmingdale and that moniker was then cemented in 1841 when LIRR service began at a stop named Farmingdale on the Greenport line.

The Village of Farmingdale was incorporated in 1904, the future Republic Airport was born in 1927 and Bethpage State Park opened in 1932, and Farmingdale has kept growing ever since.

These days, there’s truly no shortage of reasons to spend some quality time in Farmingdale, whether for food, fun, furniture, or higher education. Some of our favorite Farmingdale hangouts include:

A B25 Mitchell on display at the American Air Power Museum at Republic Airport in Farmingdale.

Farmingdale classics

For those that grew up on LI, Farmingdale is basically synonymous with Adventureland (2245 Broadhollow Rd., 631-694-6868, adventureland.us), the classic amusement park you can’t help but gaze at nostalgically every time you pass it on Route 110. Since 1962, Adventureland has been the go-to place for local roller coaster riders, and there’s still plenty to love about this local gem. In addition to classic favorites like the Pirate Ship, Wave Swing and Bumper Cars, this spring the park will debut its new two-story Mystery Mansion ride, replacing the 10-year-old Ghost House. Adventureland opens again for the season on March 24.

“We’re creating a happy place for generations of family fun,” says Steve Gentile, the general manager at Adventureland. “We’re creating memories.”

Another Farmingdale institution that gives the village its unique character is the historic Republic Airport, a smaller regional field now mostly used for private flights and flying schools, but also home to the American Air Power Museum (1230 New Hwy., Hangar 3, 631-293-6398, americanairpowermuseum.com), which houses numerous heritage aircraft, many of which still fly. The museum is especially noteworthy for its deep collection of World War II planes, and hosts multiple special events and airshows throughout the year. And for the truly intrepid, there are even special ride experiences, where you can see firsthand what it was like to fly in some of the museum’s legendary warbirds.

You might also find yourself visiting Farmingdale to tour Farmingdale State College (2350 Broadhollow Rd., 631-420-2000, farmingdale.edu), a.k.a. “SUNY Farmingdale,” which seems to expand by leaps and bounds each year. The tech-focused college provides weekly tours of its 380-acre campus on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3 p.m., with stops at the new student activities building, campus center and bookstore, academic buildings, residence hall, Nold Hall Athletic Complex and Greenley Hall Library. Special tours of the Aviation Center are also available.

The Farmingdale street fair is known to draw a crowd.

Fun, food & drink

A popular Farmingdale hangout for food, drinks and conversation is the Library Café (274 Main St., 516-752-7678, lessings.com), housed in the former Farmingdale Public Library Main Street Branch building. Patrons flock there for the unique ambiance, but inevitably fall for the upscale pub fare and creative mixology, featuring cocktails named for famous authors and books. And don’t worry, the village still has an actual library, too: The current Farmingdale Public Library has stood at 116 Merritts R.d since 1994 (516-249- 9090, farmingdalelibrary.org).

Some beer aficionados simply can’t get enough choices, and that’s where the venerable Farmingdale hangout Croxley’s Ale House (190 Main St., 516-293-7700, croxley.com/farmingdale) truly shines. The pub offers a dizzying array of 51 brews on tap and another 33 varieties available in bottles in cans, as well as a full menu of mouth-watering food options, from wings and mussels to burgers and sandwiches, to shepherd’s pie. They even do Sunday brunch, so start early and maybe you’ll be able to drink your way through a fraction of Croxley’s suds.

Off of Main Street, one of the few brew pubs on Long Island calls Farmingdale home. Black Forest Brew Haus (2015 New Hwy., 631-391-9500, blackforestbrewhaus.com) features an extensive menu of German delicacies of both the food and beverage varieties. They also regularly host live music, dualing pianos and host a month-long Oktoberfest party.

Farmingdale is such a hub for commerce these days, it’s even home to one of just two of the Island Stew Leonard’s locations (261 Airport Plaza, 516-962-8210, stewleonards.com). The famed New England grocery store chain — born from a small dairy business — offers the antidote to the massive supermarket experience, carrying only 2,200 items, “chosen specifically for their freshness, quality and value,” according to the company, as opposed to traditional supermarkets, which sell an average of 30,000 various products. Enjoy a fresh-made Maine lobster roll, or sample the vast cheese selection and fantastic ice cream, both made with milk from Stew’s own legion of prized cows.

The PGA Tour has made a recent stop at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale in 2016 (Photo by Kevin Kane) (1)

Active pursuits

There are also great options for working off all that food and drink. Although a good portion of it is located in Old Bethpage, the 1,477-acre Bethpage State Park (99
Quaker Meeting House Rd., 516-249-0700, parks.ny.gov/parks) is officially part of Farmingdale. It is best known for its five world-class golf courses, including the legendary Bethpage Black Course, which hosted the U.S. Open Championship in 2002 and 2009. The park is also highly popular for its picnic facilities, playing fields, tennis
courts, bridle paths and hiking, biking and cross-county skiing trails. In addition, the park offers a restaurant and catering facilities, a golf pro shop and a driving range.

But hey, if a day on the links sounds too relaxing for you (or frustrating, depending on your handicap), you can make those golf cart riders eat your dust at RPM Raceway (40 Daniel St., 631-752-7223, rpmraceway.com), an all-electric indoor go-kart track and entertainment complex guaranteed to satisfy your need for speed. Drivers of all ages and ability levels can race state-of-the-art Italian-made go-karts, including no-hassle “arrive and drive” races, group head-to-head racing (by reservation), leagues and more. There are even 1-on-1 clinics and summer camps available for future racing pros.

And finally, to really travel the Farmingdale area and beyond in style, consider joining the long list of Farmingdale-based aviators, and take a flying lesson (or many) at Academy of Aviation (7150 Republic Airport Main Terminal, Room 101, 631-777-7772, academyofaviation.com) which trains students for private pilot licenses all the way up to commercial certifications. It may cost a few bucks, but soaring in the air over the Long Island Expressway — especially during rush hour — is a sure-fire way to feel like LI royalty.

That’s how they do it in Farmingdale.

WHERE TO STAY 

Courtyard Republic Airport Long Island/Farmingdale
2 Marriott Plaza, 844-631-0595, marriott.com

TownePlace Suites Republic Airport Long Island/ Farmingdale
1 Marriott Plaza, 844-631-0595, marriott.com

Hollywood Motel
400 NY-109, 631-694-7100, hollywood-motel.com

WHERE TO DINE

Vespa Italian Kitchen & Bar
282 Main St., 516-586-8542, vespaitaliankitchen.com

Vinoco East
223 Main St., 516-927-8070, vinocoeast.com

Farmingdale Diner
17 Hempstead Tpke, 516-777- 3377

The Rolling Spring Roll Shop
189 Main Street, 516-586-6097, therollingspringroll.com

Caracara Mexican Grill
354 Main St., 516-777-2272, caracaramex.com

RPM Raceway is billed as “America’s ultimate all-electric indoor go-kart and caracaramex.com entertainment destination.”

 

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Brendan Manley is an award-winning journalist, screenwriter and content development/marketing professional. He has extensive experience in newspaper and magazine publishing, as well as digital media, covering topics including arts and entertainment, sports, lifestyle, news, technology, travel and history. He is an ongoing contributor to Military History, Hotel News Now.com and HOTELS magazine, as well as the Long Island Press, where he formerly served as Managing Editor and Lifestyle section head. He is currently developing several of his original scripts for Hollywood, and consults on various film and scripted TV projects for studios, producers and financiers. Brendan is based in upstate New York's southern Adirondacks region.