Presidents’ Day is Feb. 20. To commemorate the holiday and celebrate past presidents, here are six places you can visit on Long Island with rich presidential history.
6 Long Island Historic Sites to Visit on Presidents’ Day
TEDDY ROOSEVELT HOUSE
Theodore Roosevelt, the nation’s 26th president, lived in Sagamore Hill from 1885 until his death in 1919. His Summer White House is part of a preserved 83-acre historic site where visitors can catch a glimpse of his time on the North Shore.
Tours of the home are available by appointment from Thursday through Sunday. The grounds are open daily from sunrise to sunset, so you can explore on your own on Presidents’ Day. There are also virtual tours on the museum website.
Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, 20 Sagamore Hill Rd., Oyster Bay, 516-922-4788, nps.gov/sahi
CULPER SPY RING TRAIL
Choose from a walking, bike, or kayak tour of this historic site in Setauket, where Gen. George Washington led a spy ring during the Revolutionary War. The biking tour is 15 miles, and the walking tour is about three.
Three Village Historical Society historians lead these tours, providing lots of interesting tidbits about our first president as they guide guests through the trails where the British and Patriots once roamed in the war for our independence.
Three Village Historical Society, 93 North Country Rd., Setauket, 631-751-3730, culper.com
GRAVE OF RICHARD NIXON’S DOG
The dog of Richard Nixon, the 37th president from 1969 to 1974, is buried at Bideawee Pet Memorial Park in Wantagh. Nixon’s cocker spaniel, Checkers, died in 1964. Though Nixon never lived on Long Island, he buried Checkers there out of convenience. Now, you can still visit Checkers at the pet cemetery. The staff may have a little history on hand about the grave.
Wantagh Memorial Park, 3300 Beltagh Ave., Wantagh, 866-262-8133, bideawee.org
Drive by 3 West End Rd. in East Hampton, and you’ll see the Hamptons’ most famous home, Grey Gardens. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, or Jackie O, the widow of President John F. Kennedy, visited the home frequently in her youth.
The home belonged to Jackie O’s aunt and cousin, both named Edith Beale, who are famously known as “Big Edie” and “Little Edie.” The 1975 documentary Grey Gardens is about the two eccentric personalities living on the Long Island estate.
STATUE OF GEORGE H.W. BUSH’S SERVICE DOG
In November 2020, a statue of President George H.W. Bush’s service dog, Sully, was installed at America’s VetDogs in Smithtown. The life-size statue was created by sculptor Susan Bahary and is on display for all to see.
Staff at America’s VetDogs, a nonprofit organization, trained Sully themselves and paired him with Bush in 2018. Sully offered Bush companionship and assistance with daily tasks before the 41st president died in November 2018. Sully now helps patients at Walter Reed National Medical Center in Maryland.
America’s VetDogs, 371 East Jericho Tpke., Smithtown, 631-930-9000, vetdogs.org
WILLIAM FLOYD’S ESTATE
William Floyd, the first New York delegate to sign the U.S. Declaration of Independence, was born in this Mastic Beach house in 1734. Future presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams also signed it. Floyd was one of four New Yorkers to sign the document and the only one with a house that’s still standing and open to the public.
Floyd’s great-great-granddaughter, Cornelia Floyd Nichols, and her children donated the house to the National Park Service in 1976. Though the building itself is currently closed for tours, but you can explore the grounds at this time.
Fire Island National Seashore, 120 Laurel St., Patchogue, 631-687-4750, nps.gov/fiis