Although it’s counted among the opulent Gold Coast neighborhoods, the hamlet of Manhasset still retains a sense of the hometown charm that all of Long Island’s best destinations tend to possess.
Sure, there’s plenty of high-end shopping to enjoy, and there’s no shortage of sprawling mansions to gawk at, but these are only a few luxurious spangles that decorate a storied North Shore haven which largely stays true to its namesake: Island Neighborhood.
Settlers from England and the Dutch West India Company found their way to what is now Manhasset as early as the 1640s, but the town wouldn’t earn its name for another 200 years. Its early connection to Cow Neck and its proximity to the Long Island Sound meant that cattle and oyster farming made up a majority of its early economy, but proximity to a quickly overpopulating New York City would eventually lead to an economic and cultural shift as Long Island Rail Road commuters found their way to this suburban sanctuary.
Manhasset’s primary draw is its aforementioned luxury shopping experiences, particularly along its storied Miracle Mile, but there are plenty of other ways to spend your day in this lovely little hamlet. Here are just a few suggestions for the next time you’re in town.
Manhasset: More Than Just a Miracle Mile
Local Favorites and International Fare
Manhasset has something to suit any kind of palate, whether you’re looking for cozy comfort food or a fine dining experience.
For Five Coffee Roasters (292 Plandome Rd., 516-918-9488, www.forfivecoffee.com) is a café with a comfortable modern feel that brews its coffee from its own unique brand of beans. The Manhasset location is one of two on Long Island (the other is in Garden City) but the Queens-based coffee roasters have been expanding steadily and now have locations in no fewer than six states. Be sure to try one of their dangerously decadent cookies.
Named after the original Dutch title for Manhasset Bay, Schout Bay Tavern (118 Plandome Rd., 516-627-2190, www.schoutbaytavern.com) offers an ever-changing menu of modern pub food, craft beer, and creative cocktails. Executive Chef Shawn Patrick’s menu always remains brief, yet there’s still something for everyone on it.
Established in 1963, Louie’s Manhasset Restaurant (339 Plandome Rd., 516-627-0022, www.louiesmanhassetrestaurant.com) is a beloved local diner that serves warm nostalgia as much as it does hot food. It’s the kind of place where every item on the menu is comfortingly familiar and everyone seems to know one another.
La Coquille (1669 Northern Blvd., 516-365-8422, www.lacoquilleny.com) is also a local staple. They’ve been serving fine French cuisine to the Manhasset community since 1969. If you’re looking for a fine dining experience with excellent service and even better food, they’ve been offering exactly that for well over five decades.
High-End Brands and Low-Key Shops
Although there are plenty of great outlets for those seeking retail therapy on Long Island, none are quite as famed for their shopping experiences as Manhasset. The town offers perhaps the premier collection of luxury stores on the Island as well as some more offbeat and laid-back shopping options.
Manhasset’s most notable feature has to be its Miracle Mile, a short stretch of Northern Boulevard made famous by Billy Joel’s 1980 No. 1 hit “It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me.” The Mile is absolutely packed with various shops offering premium products from upscale brands, many of which can be found at Americana Manhasset (2060 Northern Blvd., 800-818-6767, www.americanamanhasset.com), a beautifully designed open-air shopping center that’s full of upscale shops from notable brands like Dior, Fendi, Louis Vuitton, Prada, Yves St. Laurent, and many more.
For those with a more beachy taste, there’s always Indi Surf (486 Plandome Rd., 516-627-9220, www.indisurf.com), which is near the Miracle Mile. They’ve got a wide selection of skate wear and surfwear from all the most well-known brands, as well as surf gear, skate gear, footwear, and various beach-friendly accessories.
SerendipiTea (73 Plandome Rd., 888-832-5433, www.serendipitea.com) offers a unique experience for lovers of tea and coffee.
“We’re not primarily a retail operation. We’re importers, manufacturers, and wholesalers of certified organic kosher specialty teas,” co-owner Chris Villano tells the Press. “However, when we are operating during the week we do open our front door and allow people to come in and purchase tea, hang out, and chat with us.”
Serving retail customers may not be its primary line of business, but that makes the experience of stopping by SerendipiTea all the more interesting. It does, of course, offer an array of different premium quality teas, but it also has a selection of tea filters, teapots, infusers, unique gifts, and more.
SerendipiTea also works with local eateries to create tea-infused foods. In their most recent collaboration, they worked with Coco Confections of Sea Cliff to create tea-infused chocolates. Find those and more at their online store.
Activities for Active Bodies and Active Minds
With the weather warming up, the time may just be right to enjoy a day in the sun at a local park. But even on a more wintery March day, there are still some family-friendly indoor activities to enjoy in Manhasset.
One of the most scenic spots in Manhasset is Whitney Pond Park (133 Valley Rd., 516-571-8300). Nestled along its namesake, Whitney Pond, the park consists of 24 acres of picturesque natural beauty with walkways for wandering and benches where you can sit and soak it all in. There are also tennis, basketball, and handball courts if you’re looking to be a bit more active.
Manhasset Valley Park (461 Maple St., 516-869-6311) lies just north of Whitney Pond Park. It offers similarly striking natural scenery with some streamside walkways and a small playground.
For some indoor fun, the Science Museum of Long Island (1526 N. Plandome Rd., 516-627-9400, www.smli.org) offers a variety of unique experiences designed to inspire a sense of wonder and curiosity about science in children of all ages. They do not offer exhibits, but rather a number of programs and family workshops that you’ll have to preregister for. March highlights include Sap to Syrup and Owl Prowl.
Where to Stay in Manhasset
Travelodge by Wyndham Manhasset (1177 Northern Blvd., 516-708-4952)
Holiday Inn Express Roslyn (1053 Northern Blvd., 516-627-2460)
The Roslyn, Tapestry Collection by Hilton (1221 Old Northern Blvd., 516-625-2700)
Arts and Entertainment
Whether you’re simply an admirer of the arts or you’re interested in getting your hands dirty and tapping into your own creative side, Manhasset has something for you.
Places like Manhasset Cinemas (430 Plandome Rd., 516-304-5930) are, unfortunately, a rarity today. This local landmark has been sharing the beauty of film with the Manhasset community since 1936 and it still retains some of the magical movie theater atmosphere that was once commonplace. The old school marquee and art deco design of its entryway will transport you back to a time when the big screen was the absolute pinnacle of everyday entertainment.
For a remarkable walk through the many parallel universes of contemporary art, stop by Salamatina Gallery (2210 Northern Blvd., 516-439-4471, www.salamatina.com). They offer exhibitions by an array of international artists working in various mediums.
The Art Guild (200 Port Washington Blvd., 516-304-5797, www.theartguild.org
offers a hands-on art experience through a variety of classes and workshops for both adults and children. Try your hand at everything from landscape painting to digital art to photography and much more.
“We’re a community visual arts center [that has] about 3,000 visitors a year,” Art Guild Executive Director Lisa Grossman tells us. “We run classes for adults, children, and teens—around 30 at a time—in all kinds of mediums from photography to oil to clay—a little bit of everything.”
The Art Guild also has a gallery that’s open to the public. Exhibits vary in theme and medium, and they display art submitted by members of the community. Visitors are welcome every weekend free of charge.
“With each exhibit, we have an opening reception,” Grossman says, “There’s food and there’s wine, and the judges speak about why they picked the pieces they picked. It’s really wonderful.”
The next opening reception will be on Sunday, March 12.
Where to Eat in Manhasset
Cipollini (2110C Northern Blvd., 516-627-7172)
Schout Bay Tavern (118 Plandome Rd., 516-627-2190, www.schoutbaytavern.com)
La Coquille (1669 Northern Blvd., 516-365-8422, www.lacoquilleny.com)
Louie’s Manhasset Restaurant (339 Plandome Rd., 516-627-0022, www.louiesmanhassetrestaurant.com)
Toku Modern Asian Cuisine (2014 Northern Blvd., 516-627-7121, www.tokumodernasian.com)
Herb&Olive (172 Plandome Rd., 516-439-5421, www.herbandolive.com)