Brendan Manley

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 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.

Cold Spring Harbor: From Whaling Hub to Science Legend

Public pier overlooking Cold Spring Harbor's eponymous waterfront. (Photo by Joe Mabel)

Named for the natural cold-water springs running through the area, the quaint hamlet of Cold Spring Harbor in the Town of Huntington has a long aquatic past that reached an apex in the mid-19th century, when the local whaling business reached its zenith. As the number of whaleboats declined in the ensuing decades, the area was reborn as a center for science, with the founding of the world-famous Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in 1890.

In the century-plus since then, Cold Spring Harbor’s namesake lab has contributed numerous scientific advancements, particularly in the field of genetics, while the hamlet proper evolved into a charming bedroom community with a surprising amount of local attractions, considering its relatively small 3.9-square-mile footprint. For visitors, there are several can’t-miss spots devoted to the area’s history and natural features, as well as highly recommended outdoor activities.

“Cold Spring Harbor is a quaint, historic waterfront community, home to great restaurants, parks and recreational attractions, and it is just a few short minutes from the amenities and entertainment downtown Huntington village offers,” says Huntington Town Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci.

For a firsthand glimpse at Cold Spring Harbor’s picturesque landscapes and fascinating legacy, spend some time absorbing the following:


The place that put CSH on the map in modern times is Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (1 Bungtown Rd., 516-367-8800,, an active, working lab which has played a vital role in biomedical research and education, specializing in cancer, neuroscience, plant biology and quantitative biology, and boasting eight Nobel Prize winners. The private not-for-profit lab’s grounds and architecture are stunning and provide a delightful setting for a scenic walk, followed by a guided tour of the laboratory campus (call in advance to book). Summer programs are offered to students, and a variety of special tours, events, lectures and concerts are held throughout the year. Don’t miss the lab’s current “Ötzi the Iceman Museum Tour” at its companion DNA Learning Center (334 Main Street, 516-367-5170,, featuring a 3D replica of the famous Ötzi mummy.


Prior to its rebirth as a center for science, Cold Spring Harbor was a hub for whaling, and the premier stop in town for learning more about this maritime history is The Whaling Museum & Education Center (279 Main St., 631-367-3418,, featuring a collection of some 6,000 artifacts and archived materials. Highlights include the only fully equipped whaleboat with original gear on display in the state, as well as one of the Northeast’s most important collections of decorative scrimshaw carved on whale ivory and whalebone. There are also displays of whaling implements, ships’ gear, navigational aids, ship models and maritime art, plus a library and archival collection of 2,800 materials. Try to catch the museum’s special exhibition, “Heroines at the Helm,” which runs through Labor Day 2019.

The Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum recounts the region’s rich maritime past. Getty Images.

All that maritime history may inspire a longing for some oceangoing adventures of your own, so if you’re feeling the urge, head over to JK Kayak & SUP (130 Harbor Rd., 800-489-0398,, one of the island’s leading guided mobile kayak and stand-up-paddleboard (SUP) touring providers. JK offers 1-, 2- and 3-hour guided kayak tours of Cold Spring Harbor, as well as 90-minute SUP and SUP yoga lessons, run by American Canoe Association-certified instructors. The 2019 season begins at the end of May and runs through October. Memberships are available for repeat guests, and JK also sells used craft and equipment for those making a more permanent commitment.


As locals know, nature is another integral component of what makes Cold Spring Harbor great. Don’t let LI’s typically flat landscape fool you. Hikers can experience a real up-and-down challenge on the trails at Cold Spring Harbor State Park (95 Harbor Rd., 631-423-1770, encompassing 40 acres of hilly terrain that provides excellent views of the harbor. Stroll (or snowshoe, in season) among its impressive large oak trees, which measure as much as three feet in diameter, as well as thickets of wild mountain laurel. The park is a key spot for observing spring and fall songbird migrations and is home to great horned owls and red-tailed hawks. It is also the northern trailhead of the Nassau Suffolk Greenbelt Trail, extending to Bethpage State Park and Nassau County’s South Shore. Pets are permitted but must be kept on a leash.

A less strenuous yet similarly rewarding nature experience can be enjoyed at Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery & Aquarium (1660 NY 25A, 516-692-6768,, a public aquarium and fish hatchery founded in 1883. It features a wide variety of native fish and reptiles, including trout, carp and bowfin among 30 fish species showcased in its aquariums and numerous fish ponds, as well as the largest living collection of native amphibians in the Northeast and a large outdoor turtle pond. Visitors can purchase food to feed the fish, and there is a gift shop and discovery area for the kids. Fishing for trout is also permitted, for a $5 fee plus an additional fee for each fish caught (you must keep your catch). Anglers are permitted to either use their own gear or rent equipment at the hatchery.

While on that note, a trip to the Uplands Farm Sanctuary (250 Lawrence Hill Rd, 631-367-3225,, is another welcome diversion. The former dairy farm, still containing a silo and the remnants of cattle pastures, is now the 97-acre headquarters for The Nature Conservancy’s Long Island Chapter. Take the sanctuary’s double-loop trail through bird and butterfly meadows, deciduous forests and a ravine shaded by white pine, keeping an eye out for wildlife such as bobolinks, meadowlarks, red-tailed hawks and migratory warblers.


Cold Spring Harbor also boasts a proud firefighting history, which you can explore at the Cold Spring Harbor Fire House Museum (84 Main St., 631-367-0400, Displays include an 1852 Phenix Hand Tub, the department’s first piece of equipment; a 1920s Ford Model TT Chemical Truck and 1919 Ford Model TT Delivery Truck; fire hats, clothing and gear; historic ledgers and photos; a restored cupola from the fire house; “fire grenades” used to stop fires in the 1800s; a memorial to those who were killed at the World Trade Center in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks; and much more.


Regardless of your spiritual leaning, another recommended stopping point is St. John’s Episcopal Church (1670 Route 25A, 516-692-6368,, founded in its current location in 1835. Walking the church’s lakeside grounds is pure bliss, as is time spent inside the building, viewing its dazzling stained-glass windows, including panels crafted by Louis Comfort Tiffany, who built Laurelton Hall, his 84-room, 600-acre country estate, nearby in Laurel Hollow. Many of the church’s famous windows have undergone recent restoration and provide a breathtaking backdrop for Sunday service.

Finally, witness the rebirth of another Cold Spring Harbor place of worship — the former Methodist Episcopal Church — as home base for Preservation Long Island (161 Main St., 631-692-4664,, featuring exhibits celebrating LI’s cultural heritage. Past exhibits have spotlighted LI decorative arts, landmarks, maps, antiques and photography; this season’s upcoming new exhibit (details TBA) opens Memorial Day and runs through fall 2019.


Cold Spring Plaza Delicatessen
15 Harbor Rd., 631-367-3533

The Gourmet Whaler
111 Main St., 631-659-2977,

134 Main St., 631-367-6060,

Harbor Mist Restaurant
105 Harbor Rd., 631-659-3888,

55 Main St., 631-498-6188,

Sweetie Pies on Main
181 Main St., Ste. A, 631-367-9500,

Ralph Macchio: Still Kicking Cobra Kai

After a 30-year absence, Ralph Macchio has reprised his role as The Karate Kid's Daniel LaRusso in the trending YouTube series Cobra Kai. Photo by Art Streiber.

Arguably one of the most iconic young actors of the ’80s, Ralph Macchio piled up a list of hit films within a decade-plus output that included three Karate Kid movies, Francis Ford Coppola’s unforgettable Outsiders adaptation, the blues-guitar cult classic Crossroads and a supporting role alongside Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny. He’s remained an active, working actor ever since, grateful for his enduring Karate Kid fame, yet content to leave the past where it lies. That is, until 2018, when Macchio, 57, donned LaRusso’s karate gi again, for the first time in 30 years.

Macchio now co-stars alongside Bill Zabka (Johnny Lawrence), his old on-screen rival, in Cobra Kai, a YouTube original series that revisits LaRusso and Lawrence as middle-aged men, decades after the Karate Kid films. The series is a well-deserved smash, expertly bringing the franchise into a new age, yet honoring the nuances of what came before it.

With season two of Cobra Kai set for an April 24 debut, I recently chatted with Macchio about the show, his legacy, and his life on Long Island, as well as what to expect this season at Daniel LaRusso’s new dojo.

Cobra Kai is such a great show, especially if you love The Karate Kid films. How did the series happen? Our three creators [Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg of the Harold and Kumar franchise and Hot Tub Time Machine writer Josh Heald] were superfans of The Karate Kid. They were just Jersey guys who connected to the movie. I’ve been pitched many Karate Kid reboot ideas that just didn’t appeal to me, but they had an angle in the story that was fresh and relevant for today, yet embraced all the nostalgia. I trusted their vision, which was difficult to do, because I still walk with this character; I walk in his skin on the street, to the public, and the fans, so if it missed, that was a bit of a risk. But I felt if there was ever a time, this was it.

How does it feel for you to be playing Daniel LaRusso again after all these years? I approached him as an adult in the same way I approached him as a teenager, which was just a piece of my own East Coast sensibility of a grounded, good-hearted person who maybe is a little more knee-jerk than Ralph, maybe has a little more of a temper than Ralph. The only difference with how I approached it now is the wisdom, the parenting, the life that I, Ralph, have led to this point. I brought that to the table, just like how I brought my adolescence to the table back in 1983 when we made the first movie. I’ve raised two kids who are in their 20s … so I brought the experiences of a husband, father and successful business person … We’re very different, but there’s a piece of yourself in every role.

In season two of Cobra Kai, Daniel LaRusso (right) will train students Robby Keene (left) and Amanda LaRusso (center) at the new Miyagi-Do.

Fatherhood is definitely a consistent theme throughout Cobra Kai. Yes it is. It very much is. Leading into season two, it becomes even more so, as Johnny Lawrence is trying to connect with his son and LaRusso’s still navigating raising his own kid, balancing his family and business, and now that martial arts is back in his life, he puts that on the front burner. Family is the base of things, and those lessons that Mr. Miyagi taught him over the years that maybe he’s lost a little track of, and has to re-find.

Daniel and Johnny Lawrence (Bill Zabka) are a classic rivalry. How do you and he get along in real life? It’s not Daniel and Johnny. We do get along. He and I have a friendly rivalry with each other, no matter what we do. We have fun ribbing each other…. It’s nothing but respect, and he has certainly delivered in performance. I enjoy watching his side of the story. When we get together, it just has a heightened level of intensity that you can feel when you watch the show.

The Karate Kid was a very black-and-white story, good over evil, but with Cobra Kai, there are gray areas with both characters. There’s moral ambiguity, and it’s a little more realistic about what it’s like to balance life. Not taking anything away from The Karate Kid — that movie gives back over and over again for all the right reasons — but there’s a difference there.

Did you plan for more than one season of Cobra Kai? There are always questions about subsequent seasons, where would it go, and what would happen to Johnny Lawrence in the future. All characters from the original films could potentially make an appearance, if it organically works in the story. I think the goal is several seasons. I’d love it to go on as long as it makes sense and we could keep the quality up there. Season two is very exciting.

What else can you tell us about season two? Martin Kove (sensei John Kreese) is certainly an integral part of season two. There’s also the opening of Miyagi-Do, so there are these dueling dojos, and all that comes with recalibrating your life to now be a martial arts teacher. LaRusso is an interesting journey this season, and the speed bumps and hiccups and hurdles that come his way, as well as Johnny, and all the kids. It’s a karate soap opera [laughs]. It escalates in intensity in season two. Also, the ’47 Ford — the “wax-on, wax-off” car in the original movie — I’ve had that car, and it’s making an appearance, among other surprises.

The Karate Kid (1984) rocketed Long Island native Macchio to widespread fame and an enduring pop culture legacy.

Will Elisabeth Shue eventually return as Ali? That’s the question we get asked the most … As far as Elisabeth Shue or anyone else from the original films, everyone has been talked about. When it fits into the story organically, and if they can get the actor, we will entertain it. Last year we had Randee Heller (Lucille LaRusso) for an episode, so we’d like to keep that going with more additions in seasons to come.

Is it bittersweet, doing the show without Pat Morita [who passed in 2005]? He and I had some soulful magic on and off screen — one of those things that doesn’t come around too often — and I don’t take it for granted. He would have loved this show … My relationship with Pat was wonderful. We both knew that we had something special there that touched so many people. For the set of Miyagi-Do in season two, they rebuilt Mr. Miyagi’s house, with the backyard and the old cars in front. The first day of shooting was very emotional for me … It reminded me that’s where all the magic happened. I wouldn’t be doing Cobra Kai today if it wasn’t for Pat Morita and his performance. There’s no way.

You grew up on Long Island. Where? I grew up in the Huntington area and graduated from Half Hollow Hills High School West. When The Karate Kid opened, and The Outsiders, I drove from my house and went to watch the movie and went home. Long Island has always been a home base. My wife’s family is here, my parents are still here, and outside of the traffic and cold weather, it’s perfect.

Do you have favorite places or things to do on Long Island? I used to go to the Nassau Coliseum all the time to cheer on my beloved New York Islanders. I like going to Montauk. Port Jefferson is a fun town I enjoy. Mainly when I do stuff here, it’s restaurants. I used to spend a lot of time on the South Shore, and now I spend a little more time on the North Shore, and I’m always in the City.

Another of your classic films was Crossroads. Do you really play guitar? How did you appear so convincing? I worked really hard. I didn’t play guitar before then. I had a couple of guitar coaches….I learned how to play basics, and then learned classical acoustic guitar, slide guitar, acoustic slide and bottleneck electric. I had that [Fender] Telecaster [guitar], which I still have to this day. That yellow Telecaster is the coolest.

Do you have a favorite role? Johnny in The Outsiders holds a special place for me. I read that book on Long Island in my seventh-grade English class, and I got to be in a movie directed by Francis Ford Coppola and play a role that was one of the best roles I ever had. What’s wonderful about that is middle-school classes still read that book all the time, so The Outsiders never goes out of style. It’s great to be part of that.

Massapequa: Much More Than A Mall

Photo by John Wisniewski

Those who grew up in central Long Island on the South Shore during the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s likely spent an inordinate amount of time shuttling back and forth on Sunrise Highway to Massapequa, a long-standing area hub for retail, restaurants, and more retail. Between the venerable Sunrise Mall and the flea-market charm of Busy Bee Mall nearby, Massapequa was the essential place you went to shop and people-watch, and for dietarily adventurousness, maybe even grab some White Castle.

Today, Busy Bee is long gone, and the Sunrise Mall — while still standing — has since been renovated and turned into Westfield Sunrise, but Massapequa’s importance as a regional center for commerce, dining, and recreation remains. The hamlet and neighboring Village of Massapequa Park, part of the larger Town of Oyster Bay, also offers an often overlooked bounty of parks, beaches, nature preserves and other public resources, making it one of the most diverse neighborhoods around.

When visiting Massapequa, start by cruising Sunrise Highway and Merrick Road, stopping off upon finding the perfect spot for that pair of jeans or sneakers. After the shopping is done, here are some of the other fine attractions and excursions Massapequa has to offer:

Massapequa Preserve (Rashed Mian/Long Island Press)


Considering the Massapequa census-designated place (CDP) encompasses only 4 square miles, the hamlet offers an excellent array of public spaces. Once summer rolls around, Massapequans and enlightened visitors flock to Tobay Beach (Ocean Pkwy., 516-679-3900,, a private beach for Town of Oyster Bay residents that also welcomes nonresidents during weekdays, for a $50 daily fee. Why so pricey, you ask? Tobay offers both bay and ocean fronts, as well as a Spray Park and playground for the kids, a miniature golf course, and several restaurants. There are also live music events held there at various times during peak season.

While at Tobay, check out the adjacent John F. Kennedy Memorial Wildlife Sanctuary (Ocean Pkwy., 516-679-3900,, featuring 550 acres of protected wetlands that are accessible by a trail. It is free to both Town of Oyster Bay residents and nonresidents; however a permit (free) must be obtained through the town’s Beach Division, either in person or by mail. It is open year-round, but with limited hours during summer months.

And hey, nonresidents who don’t want to drop the $50 to visit Tobay Beach can always head over to the Philip B. Healey Beach at Florence Avenue (30 Florence Ave.) instead. This little-known local favorite is small in size but large in relaxation, with ample parking and a playground for kids. It’s a quiet spot that’s popular with families, so please, behave.

Amid all of Massapequa’s retail and restaurant bustle, there are also still some open, green natural spaces where you can find peace and solace, like the Peter J. Schmitt Massapequa Preserve (Merrick Rd. and Ocean Ave., 516-572-0200,, featuring 423 acres of remarkably diverse wild habitat, including freshwater swamps, marshes, streams, lakes and sandy bogs. It is a favorite of local walkers and joggers, and fishing is permitted in several of the lakes and streams (license required). You can also access the Nassau-Suffolk Greenbelt Trail there, which runs the length of the preserve, continuing onward to its termination at Cold Spring Harbor.

Next to the Massapequa Preserve is Brady Park (Lake Shore Dr. and Front St.), a well-trafficked location for baseball and basketball players, also offering bocce courts, shaded picnic facilities and a concert stage used for community events and live performances. There is also a senior community center located on the grounds and a top-notch playground that was just built in recent years, including eight swings, a rock climb, bar pull and a geo-dome climber.

Another gem among Massapequa’s outdoor offerings is Marjorie R. Post Community Park (Unqua Rd.), boasting a wide assortment of diversions, including a pool/aquatic center, ice skating rink, roller hockey court, playgrounds, picnic areas, barbecue pits, handball courts, tennis courts, walking trails and gazebos for special events. With so much to do in one neighborhood space, the park is an essential spot for residents, as well as guests who only wish their hometown had a space this great.

Downtown Massapequa Park’s offerings include the must-visit independent coffee shop Massapequa Perk.


Even though it is great visiting Massapequa, visitors still may want to spend some of that time trying to escape from it. Or more specifically, they could end up trying to think up ways out of captivity at Just Escape (529 Broadway, 516-809-8980,, where six different 60-minute escape-room challenges await. Choose from the Carnival Conundrum, Sweet Revenge, Underworld, The Illusionist, Pirates of the Dark Sea, and Prey, all with varying levels of difficulty and scare factor. Bring your wits, because you’ll need them!

After the escape room proves how intellectually unprepared many were for the challenge, consider unwinding and rethinking the failed exit strategies over a few drinks with friends. On top of all its many other assets, Massapequa also boasts a vibrant bar scene, catering to a range of tastes. For craft beer lovers, it’s mandatory that you stop at Ziggy’s Corner Pub (1 Central Ave., 516-541-5400,, which offers 10 rotating tap options and 40 different bottled options each day, and also hosts live music, comedy and karaoke (check the online events calendar).

Or, those those who prefer nightlife with a Gaelic twist, hunker down for a spell at Paddy’s Loft (1286 Hicksville Rd., 516-798-7660,, where you can bank on obtaining a properly poured Guinness and peruse a mouthwatering menu that features an eclectic mix of gourmet creations alongside Celtic-themed edibles like Irish spring rolls, chicken Killarney, bangers and mash, corned beef and cabbage, and of course, shepherds pie. There is live music on Tuesday nights, as well as other special events throughout the year.

No trip to the area would be complete without a walk through Park Boulevard, home of the Village of Massapequa Park’s quaint downtown. Besides the array of shops is one must-visit English-style pub, The Good Life (1039 Park Blvd., 516-798-4663,, a popular watering hole known for drawing craft beer lovers from miles around.

And before the journey through Massapequa comes to a close, do not even consider leaving town without a detour to All American Hamburger Drive-In (4286 Merrick Rd., 516-798-9574,, an iconic Long Island burger joint that has been the stuff of legend since 1963. The prices can’t be beat, the menu is delightfully simple and the house-made potato products — namely the french fries and knishes — are second to none. Get a sack of All American’s salty, greasy goodness to fully know the definition of bliss. As much as Massapequa has changed over the decades, fortunately some things remain the same.

Live Crawfish Boil
Live Crawfish Boil at Big Daddy’s Restaurant in Massapequa (Photo courtesy of Big Daddy’s Restaurant)


All American Hamburger Drive-In
4286 Merrick Rd., 516-798-9574,

American Beauty Bistro
24 Central Ave., 516-590-7477,

Big Daddy’s
1 Park Ln., 516-799-8877,

45 Carmans Rd., 516-882-9688,

Giovanni’s of Massapequa
5612 Merrick Rd., 516-799-7326,

Hudson’s Mill
5599 Merrick Rd., 516-799-5394,

Krisch’s Restaurant & Ice Cream Parlour
11 Central Ave, Massapequa, 516-797-3149

Salumi Tapas and Wine Bar
5600 Merrick Rd., 516-620-0057,

Saverio’s Authentic Pizza Napoletana
929 N. Broadway (A&S Pork Store), 516-799-0091,

Taco Joe’s
4267 Merrick Rd., 516-308-3311

Tai Show Hibachi & Sushi Restaurants
4318 & 4320 Merrick Rd., 516-798-3958/516-798-1119,

Northport: From Cows To Ships To Kerouac

A trip back in time, trolley tracks from the now defunct Northport Traction Company serve as a reminder of yesteryear. Pictured are existing rail lines across from Cow Harbor Park along Main Street in Northport Village. Photo by Jennifer Uihlein

With the vast bustle of Huntington village to its west and the suburban sprawl of Smithtown to the east, the Village of Northport has long offered a lower-key, more insular vibe than some of its larger neighbors on the North Shore waterfront.

Even now, it’s easy to see why legendary beat poet Jack Kerouac made Northport his home from 1958 to 1964. It’s a timeless, understated place that’s somewhat difficult to get to, and even harder to leave.

English colonists acquired the land that is now Northport from the Matinecock Indians in 1656, essentially transforming the area into a massive cattle pasture, earning it the original name Great Cow Harbour. That all changed in the 1830s, when shipbuilding became its prime industry, and by 1837 the village was renamed Northport. The village’s shipbuilding boom lasted for roughly 50 years, until the end of the 19th century, when steel-hulled boats began replacing the wooden vessels produced in the village. But fortunately, some of the character of that era still endures.

“Northport has one of the finest harbors on Long Island and has been the port in the storm for sailors for many years,” said Northport Deputy Mayor Tom Kehoe. “Today we still have reasonably priced transit docking that attracts boaters from New York City, Connecticut and elsewhere. Our Village Board has also worked to remove impediments to our local businesses; we realized that a thriving local business district was an attraction to tourists and a positive anchor to our community. We now have 20-plus restaurants with permits for outdoor seating, and that has changed our village. Additionally, the opening of the Engeman Theater has also helped to make us a destination.”

Today, when you spend time walking the village streets, taking note of the old trolley rails on Main Street and perhaps grabbing a quiet drink at one of Northport’s unassuming pubs, you can almost hear the sounds of the shipwrights working, and of Kerouac’s typewriter. Soak it in. Some essential Northport diversions include:


Start your Northport excursion at the heart of the village: Northport Village Park (1 Bayview Ave.), a treasured stretch of green grass and shade trees running along the harborfront, occupying much of the area where the Victorian shipyards once stood. These days there are two playgrounds, a gazebo, basketball court and dock, as well as free parking, and in fair weather the park hosts events ranging from live concerts to farmer’s markets and craft fairs. This is where both residents and visitors alike come to relax and enjoy the village’s quaint charm.

While taking in all the seaside splendor, you may feel the spirits of Northport’s long-gone mariners, inspiring you to leave land behind entirely. Should that occur, nearby Kismet Cruising (Northport Harbor, 631-897-4517, can scratch your oceanic itch, offering a range of cruise options — including afternoon, sunset, dinner and local history cruises — guided by veteran captain Brian Baldauf on his 42-foot sailboat. Baldauf is a fountain of local information, so count on a lively waterborne chat.


It doesn’t take long to see how Northport’s sweeping scenery and small-village allure make for the ideal artist’s hideaway, most famously for Kerouac, but also producing homegrown talents like Edie Falco, Patti LuPone, Chris Messina, rapper Aesop Rock and members of the band Wheatus. For anyone with literary longings, taking a deeper dive into that heritage requires a mandatory stop at Kerouac’s favorite Northport watering hole, Gunther’s Tap Room (84 Main St., 631-754-4156,, newly reopened in 2018 after the historic pub was ravaged by a 2017 fire. It’s the quintessential Northport watering hole, steeped in lore right down to its men’s room, where Kerouac would infamously sneak off to sip whiskey he’d hidden in a valise. We recommend you purchase yours from the bartender, instead.

Also on Main Street is another vital strand of Northport’s creative DNA, The John W. Engeman Theater (250 Main St., 631-261-2900,, occupying the old Northport Theater, first opened in 1932 and reopened in its current form in 2007. Today it is named in honor of Army Chief Warrant Officer Four John William Engeman, brother of co-owner Patti O’Neill, who was killed in Iraq on May 14, 2006. It’s now a year-round professional theater, casting actors from the Broadway talent pool, and features stadium seating, deluxe lighting and sound, The Green Room Piano Bar and Lounge, and even in-seat beverage service. Current and upcoming performances include The Buddy Holly Story, Seussical The Musical, A Gentleman’s Guide To Love and Murder and Madagascar – A Musical Adventure.

And for fans of the visual arts, be sure to also add a stop at LaMantia Gallery (127 Main St., 631-754-8414, to your Northport itinerary, even if you can’t really afford to take home one of the expertly curated works there on display. For some 30 years owner James LaMantia has been bringing a worldly, metropolitan aesthetic to Northport’s art marketplace through his esteemed gallery, which hosts more than 10 exhibitions annually, featuring the work of internationally known artists, masterworks and creations by promising new artists. A conversation with LaMantia or one of the gallery’s other art experts is sure to be enlightening.


Although Northport has retained a healthy dose of its bygone flavor, the village has also changed substantially over the centuries, which is why a visit to the Northport Historical Society (215 Main St., 631-757-9859, is another highly recommended excursion. Housed in a former Carnegie Library chartered in 1914, the Society maintains a museum with various exhibits on Northport’s past, as well as a well-stocked shop offering eclectic oddities, silver, china, jewelry, linens, ephemera and books. There’s also a research library and a photo collection with more than 4,000 images, many of which have been digitized and catalogued.


We know, it’s hard to drag oneself away from Northport’s picturesque Main Street and waterfront, but it’s worth it in order to devote a few hours to also exploring the village’s rich agricultural offerings. Ever since its early days when it was known as Cow Harbor, Northport has been fertile farm territory, still visible now at places like Richters Orchard (1318 Pulaski Rd., 631-261-1980, Richters has been selling lovingly grown apples and fresh-pressed apple cider for the last century, along with pies, jams and jellies, and a host of other edible delights. Stock up and go home happy.

Finally, you might not want to exit “Great Cow Harbour” without seeing an actual cow, so if you’re so inclined, Lewis Oliver Farm Animal Sanctuary (Burt Ave., 631-261-6320, has you covered. A historic landmark dating to the mid-1800s, the farm comprises three acres that are home to numerous rescued farm animals, including Annabelle the cow, goats, sheep, alpacas, chickens, ducks, peafowl, and turkeys. There are also original barns, botanical and vegetable gardens, a collection of native wildlife, a country store, and an education center. Just like the village’s human residents, the livestock here are quite happy to call Northport home.

Where To Dine In Northport

Aunt Chilada’s Mexican Grill
729 Fort Salonga Rd., 631-757-8226,

Bistro 44
44 Main St., 631-262-9744,

Main Street Cafe
47 Main St., 631-754-5533

18 Woodbine Ave., 631-757-4500,

Nina’s Pizza
487 Main St., 631-261-6822,

Robke’s Country Inn
427 Fort Salonga Rd., 631-754-9663,

Rockin’ Fish
155 Main St.., 631-651-5200,

Seven Quarts Tavern
688 Fort Salonga Rd., 631-757-2000,

Shipwreck Diner
46 Main St., 631-754-1797,

Tokyo Japanese Restaurant
192 Laurel Rd., 631-754-8411,

Great Neck: Gatsby’s Gold Coast Grandeur

Downtown Great Neck Village Plaza is the heart of the Gold Coast (Long Island Press photo)

The Long Island community of Great Neck is perhaps best known as the setting for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic work The Great Gatsby, in which the book’s location was thinly disguised with the fictionalized name “West Egg.” Fitzgerald chose this pseudonym to directly oppose Great Neck’s posh Gold Coast neighbor, Sands Point, which was known as “East Egg.”

But it wasn’t always of Gatsby’s ilk. Like many LI neighborhoods, the advent of the railroad in the late 19th century brought major changes to Great Neck, with its status as the railhead of the New-York and Flushing Railroad sparking its evolution from a humble farming village into a New York City commuter community. By the time of the Roaring ’20s, Great Neck was a decadent playground for Manhattan elites, and served as home to celebrities like Eddie Cantor, Sid Caesar and the Marx Brothers during the ensuing decades. It retains much of its picturesque scenery and Gold Coast opulence today.

“Great Neck is truly a warm and neighborly place to live, with premier schools, beautiful parks and an excellent library system,” says North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth. “It’s a community with a rich historic past that is headed for an exciting future. Whether you’re looking to go shopping in in any of the villages’ vibrant business districts, take in our beautiful waterfront views, or attend a concert in one of our many parks, Great Neck has something for everyone and is one of our many jewels in the Town of North Hempstead.”

These days, Great Neck boasts a dizzying array of choices for fine dining, shopping and nightlife, as well a multitude of active pursuits for sports, nature and art lovers. Some recommended Great Neck diversions include:

The Andrew Stergiopoulos Ice Rink is a family-friendly way to spend a winter day.


To fully appreciate Great Neck’s prime location on the Long Island Sound, take a stroll through the waterfront Great Neck Steppingstone Park (38 Stepping Stone Ln., 516-487-9228,, which is outfitted with a marina, great lawn, concert stage and an ever-popular playground. Only Great Neck residents (or their guests) with a pass are permitted to enjoy the park, however, so be sure to hit up your local friends in advance of your arrival.

When the weather is right, you can also turn your trip to Steppingstone Park into a full-blown aquatic venture, courtesy of Watersports NYC (38 Stepping Stone Ln., 917-714-7707,, which provides water jetpack and jetblade rental experiences, supervised by fully licensed and insured instructors. Getting a chance to soar above the LI Sound, courtesy of your jetpack, is truly one of those bucket-list moments.

Or, perhaps your idea of ocean adventure is more about what happens under the sea’s surface. Great Neck has you covered there, too, with Big Blue Scuba (975 Northern Blvd., 516-869-1888, being the go-to spot for enthusiasts. In addition to its well-stocked dive shop, Big Blue offers bilingual teaching in English and Chinese and provides diving training, adventure tours, equipment retail and team-building events. So the next time you consider orchestrating a “trust fall” to build co-worker camaraderie, consider strapping on a wetsuit and scuba tanks, instead.

Another good park choice (especially for nonresidents) is Village Green Park (640 Middle Neck Rd., 516-487-4360), which contains an assortment of playground features to captivate the kiddies, as well as a picnic area and bandstand. Don’t miss taking a gander at the stunning tree carvings on display there, handcrafted by artist Ken Packie, using dead stumps from trees that were damaged during storms in 2010.


Facilities devoted to keeping active and staying fit are a huge part of the Great Neck community, whether you’re a tot with too much energy, a teen training for competitive play, or a senior looking to remain limber. But for kids who love to bounce, the default stomping ground is Dreamnastics (24A Great Neck Rd., 516-918-9060,, which offers classes, birthday parties and special open gym sessions. The little ones love the gym’s slide, bars, trampolines and zip-line swing; parents love the safe, supervised environment.

Another haven for bounce addicts is Pump It Up (225 Community Dr., 516-466-7867,, which is popular for the birthday parties it hosts but is also open to the general public for various “open jump” sessions throughout the week (check the online calendar). There are also special events and group activities, like its new six-week Occupational Therapy Sensory Jump Program and its summer kids camp.

Great Neck is also tops for tennis, thanks to the New York Tennis Academy at Great Neck (12 Shore Dr., 516-233-2790,, the area’s premier tennis center for players of all ages and skill levels. The academy offers a range of programs for juniors, including sessions for recreational, high school and tournament players, as well as high-energy cardio tennis, express tennis, leagues, Drill & Play and group clinics for adults.

And last, but definitely not least, for those who prefer a “court” featuring a sheet of ice, there’s the Andrew Stergiopoulos Ice Rink (65 Arrandale Ave., 516-487-2975,, part of the Great Neck Parkwood Sports Complex. The full-sized rink offers public skating sessions, skate school, travel hockey, intramural hockey, freestyle sessions, synchronized skating and competitive figure skating lessons and events. You can even plan a party there and bask in the glory that comes with having full run (or skate) of the ice.


Art and antique lovers have plenty to keep them busy in Great Neck, especially if you want to add some stunning new pieces to your collection (or at least, take a moment to admire some). Regardless of whatever your particular aesthetic tastes may be, be sure to check out SUS Gallery (42 Middle Neck Rd., 347-395-1948,, launched in 2014 by designer Sharon Khazzam and her daughter, Alexandra Ainatchi. SUS (The Spot Under Spot gallery) features predominantly young, unique artists like D.D. Prince, Alex Rudin, Joanna Miller, Andrew Tess, Bonnie Siracusa and more, and holds special events throughout the year.

Admiring all that dazzling art may leave you feeling inspired, and you may want to see how a paintbrush feels in your own hand. If history is any indicator, art and alcohol tend to go together; so in that spirit, spend some time channeling your inner van Gogh at Muse Paintbar (34 Middle Neck Rd., 516-252-0515,, which fuses painting instruction with a restaurant and bar, open seven days a week. Enjoy a menu of dips, finger foods and desserts — as well as 20 different beers and wines — as you create your own masterpiece. And heck, even if your creation turns out less than masterful, you really won’t mind until the morning after.

Where To Dine In Great Neck

Peter Luger Steak House
255 Northern Blvd., 516-487-8800,

113A Middle Neck Rd., 516-466-5666,

Ponte Mollo
96 Northern Blvd., 516-829-0005,

75 N. Station Plaza, 516-466-8181,

Moonstone Modern Asian Cuisine & Bar
14 Northern Blvd., 516-500-1000,

Morton’s The Steakhouse
777 Northern Blvd., 516-498-2950,

Pearl East
1191 Northern Blvd., 516-365-9898,

Brasserie Americana Bar, Lounge & Restaurant
30 Cutter Mill Rd., 516-773-2000,

Where To Stay In Great Neck

Inn at Great Neck
30 Cutter Mill Rd., 516-773-2000,

The Andrew Hotel
75 N. Station Plaza, 866-843-2637,

Stony Brook: History, Nature Thrive in Ward Melville’s ‘New England’ Haven

Stony Brook Village Center

Stony Brook, as well as the broader area known as the Three Villages — Stony Brook, Setauket and Old Field — is a Long Island region deeply entrenched in local history with a commitment to preservation, boasting a rich array of cultural attractions, parks and event spaces, in a picturesque setting that retains much of its old-world colonial charm. Whether your idea of a rewarding travel excursion entails perusing museum exhibits, enjoying the outdoors or experiencing a great meal, Stony Brook consistently delivers on all fronts, while seemingly whisking you away from the LI hustle and bustle.

First settled in the late 17th century, Stony Brook and the Three Villages have a long history associated with LI agriculture and oceangoing life, later playing a notable role in the American Revolution, with spies from George Washington’s Culper Ring based in the area. Centuries later, local business magnate Ward Melville began transforming the Stony Brook hamlet into his idea of an idyllic New England community, starting in 1939 with the creation of his Stony Brook Community Fund, which established the white clapboard buildings and quaint shops that still give downtown much of its charm today.

“Stony Brook is one of the loveliest and most historic communities in Brookhaven Town,” Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine said. “Fronting on Long Island Sound, it is home to the first shopping center on Long Island built by Ward Melville in the colonial style that defines the community. It is also home to the State University and its 25,000-plus students. It has numerous museums, shops and restaurants.”

For a fantastic trip into the Island’s past, paired with vibrant and dynamic modern-day offerings, here are some must-do Stony Brook area suggestions:

The Jazz Loft is one of only a few venues dedicated to the genre on LI.
Start your journey into Stony Brook’s rich cultural and historical offerings with a trip to The Long Island Museum (1200 Route 25A, 631-751-0066,, home of a vast collection of American art, historical relics and LI wildfowl decoy hunting memorabilia, plus an unmatched trove of antique carriages in its 40,000-square-foot Carriage Museum. Just walking around the museum’s sprawling 9-acre campus—beginning with the Visitors Center/History Museum located on the former site of the 19th century Bayles Lumber Mill—will transport you back in time. There are three modern exhibition halls and five historic buildings to explore, including a one-room schoolhouse and a blacksmith shop.
For more Stony Brook area history, continue on to the Three Village Historical Society (93 N. Country Rd., Setauket, 631-751-3730,, which presents a range of public exhibits at the society’s headquarters, including displays pertaining to the American Revolution and the Three Villages’ special role in Washington’s Culper Ring. Don’t miss the current exhibition on nearby Chicken Hill, a 19th century community of Native Americans, African Americans and European immigrants who worked in the piano and rubber factories on the hill. From the headquarters you can also depart on some of the numerous popular historical walking tours run by the society.
Ward Melville’s impact on Stony Brook’s cultural landscape can also be appreciated at the WMHO Educational and Cultural Center (97 Main St., Suite P, 631-689-5888,, an 8,800-square-foot multiuser facility run by the Ward Melville Heritage Organization that offers a wide variety of events, exhibits and workshops throughout the year. Annual summer exhibits include “Celebrating Coney Island, America’s First Amusement Park,” “Celebrating P. T. Barnum…the Man,” and “Motorcycles & the Open Road,” with memorabilia, artwork, sculptures, displays and guest speakers. The center also offers its LEGO Building Block Contest & Exhibit, and hosts the longest-running luncheon musical theatre series on LI; it is currently presenting its Holiday Tribute to Diana Ross living history production through January 10.
From there continue your Stony Brook cultural expedition to the Reboli Center for Art and History (64 Main St., 631-751-7707,, housed in the historic 1911 Bank of Suffolk County building. The center is dedicated to preserving and promoting the legacy of Stony Brook-based artist Joseph Reboli, best known for his oil paintings of local landscapes and subjects from the Three Village area and LI’s East End, and contains a massive collection of Reboli’s work. The Reboli Center also presents works by other contemporary artists and craftsmen, as well as LI historical exhibits, and promotes the study of classical painting and drawing through workshops and special events.
Music history and appreciation are alive and well in Stony Brook, too, especially for jazz hounds, who will find nirvana at The Jazz Loft (275 Christian Ave., 631-751-1895,, which now occupies Ward Melville’s former Suffolk Museum building. Opened in 2016, The Jazz Loft features 6,000 square feet of original jazz memorabilia displays spanning 100 years, a 1940s period second-floor performance space, and a deep list of education programs. A wide range of local, national and international artists perform at the Loft, which also hosts regular Swing Dance Long Island events. It’s one of only two jazz venues on LI.
The vintage New England village charm of Stony Brook is further enhanced by the breathtaking natural beauty of the area, from its beaches and harbor-front vistas to the shady groves and rolling green meadows of its parks and open spaces. The first essential stop as you take in all this stunning scenery is Avalon Park & Preserve (200 Harbor Rd., 631-689-0619,, encompassing 140 acres of protected land that has been manicured to re-create the natural environment that greeted the area’s first indigenous peoples. The 8-acre park proper is accessible by a series of trails and hiking paths, and also contains a labyrinth and observatories used for astronomy programs.
Stony Brook is also home to one of Long Island’s most flawless, yet relatively unknown, stretches of beachfront: West Meadow Beach, which can be enjoyed from Joel L. Lefkowitz Park (Trustees Rd., 631-751-3193). From here you can walk a pristine length of beach that was once dotted with numerous private bungalows that have all been torn down in recent times, returning the land back to nature. It’s also a legendary spot for striped bass, bluefish and snapper fishing and an ideal location for snapping some gorgeous pics of the unforgettable scenery.

There are enduring traces of the area’s agricultural traditions, too. Just outside Stony Brook Village is Benner’s Farm (56 Gnarled Hollow Rd., East Setauket, 631-689-8172,, a private 15-acre family homestead first farmed in the 1700s, which operates much in the same way as it did under the watch of prior generations. The farm delights visitors with numerous seasonal activities like pumpkin and strawberry picking, maple sugaring and haunted hayrides, as well as educational workshops and courses throughout the year. Benner’s Farm also boasts the largest swing on LI, hung from what is reputedly the largest and oldest white oak in the Three Villages.

The Three Village Inn is a must-visit.

As you wrap up your time visiting Stony Brook, remember that no visit to a destination is complete without some special souvenirs, and in the Stony Brook area the St. James General Store (516 Moriches Rd., St. James, 631-854-3740,, built in 1857 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is the undisputed spot to find all those delightful bring-back goodies. In keeping with its history, the store preserves the experience of shopping in an 1800s general store, upgraded to offer modern patrons an expertly curated selection of fine gifts, books, toys, food and confections. Don’t leave the store—or Stony Brook—without stopping at its ever-popular penny candy counter, where you can stock up on old-timey treats for the trip home.

Robinson’s Tea Room is the place to go for high tea and light bites.
Where To Dine
Ssambap Korean BBQ
2350 Nesconset Hwy., 631-675-6402,
2548 Nesconset Hwy., 631-689-8585,
Pentimento Restaurant
93 Main St., 631-689-7755,
Country House
1175 N. Country Rd., 631-751-3332,
Where To Stay
The Three Village Inn
150 Main St., 631-751-0555,
Hilton Garden Inn Stony Brook
1 Circle Rd., 631-941-2980,
Holiday Inn Express Stony Brook
3131 Nesconset Hwy., Centereach, 631-471-8000,
The Stony Brookside Bed & Bike Inn
48 Main St., 631-675-0393,
Bayles Estate Bed and Breakfast
1249 N. Country Rd., 631-689-5865,

Sayville: An Iconic Bayside Hamlet

Sayville takes the holidays seriously, with winter festivals, parades and carolers.

Like many of its neighboring South Shore communities, Sayville has always had an indelible connection with the water, and its prime location on the Great South Bay continues to inspire both visitors and residents to converge upon the venerable Long Island hamlet. Once prized for timber and oysters, today Sayville delights with quaint downtown charm, fabulous dining and a host of historic, outdoor and recreational pursuits.

Although settled in 1761 by John Edwards, Sayville — once known as simply “over south” — didn’t earn a proper name until 1838, after its first post office had opened the year prior. As the story goes, one resident had suggested the name “Seaville,” but the moniker later became “Sayville,” when the town clerk referred to an old Bible, which spelled the word “sea” as “say.” Thus “Sayville” was the spelling the clerk sent to Washington, D.C., for registration, and although the community later protested, the name stuck. The alternative spelling hasn’t seemed to hinder Sayville’s prosperity over the ensuing centuries.

“Like many hamlets in the Town of Islip, Sayville is a lovely community,”  says Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter. “It offers a sense of place for families, young professionals and many seniors. Shopping and dining experiences from casual to fine dining, as well as gift shops and specialty boutiques, are available within walking distance. Our pleasant community parks and Town beaches are easily accessible, and a short ferry ride brings passengers to the world-class, white-sand ocean beaches of Fire Island.” 

Like nearby Patchogue, Sayville is widely known as a key hub for ferries to Fire Island, just across the bay. In a tradition dating to 1894, the Sayville Ferry Service (41 River Rd., 631-589-0810, makes regular trips to the Fire Island communities of Cherry Grove, Sailors Haven, Fire Island Pines and Water Island. Check the website for the latest departure and arrival schedules.

But if you’re not headed over to the barrier beach, fret not: Sayville has a lot more to offer than just its ferry terminal. Don’t miss some of these essential Sayville hot spots.


Start your journey by soaking up Sayville’s rich seafaring history, at the Long Island Maritime Museum (88 West Ave., West Sayville, 631-854-4974,, set on 14 beautiful waterfront acres from the former Meadowedge estate, once the home of Mr. and Mrs. Anson Wales Hard. It features a large collection of small vessels built or used around Long Island, including multiple sailboats constructed in Patchogue by iconic LI shipbuilder Gil Smith. There’s also an interactive lifesaving exhibit, a circa-1908 oyster house, an 1890 bayman’s cottage and the 1888 Oyster Sloop Priscilla, a National Historic Landmark. For the kids, the museum also offers winter and spring break programs, as well as summer camps.

Then, immerse yourself in 19th century South Shore architecture at Islip Grange Park (10 Broadway Ave., 631-472-7016,, boasting a collected “village” of restored authentic early buildings that have been moved to the 12-acre park from their original locations. Structures like the Bicentennial Cottage, Dutch Reformed Church, Estate Managers Cottage, Ockers Barn and The Mill provide a striking portrait of the lifestyle and aesthetics in a pre-Civil War Long Island hamlet.

History buffs can also experience Sayville’s early 20th century Gold Coast era at the Meadow Croft estate (299 Middle Rd., 631-472-4625,, formerly the summer home of John E. Roosevelt and family. Now owned by Suffolk County, Meadow Croft is composed of a restored 19th century farmhouse (including an 1891 addition designed by Sayville’s Isaac H. Green Jr.) as well as a carriage house, an auto house, a caretaker’s cottage and a swimming pool. The main house features some impressive original Roosevelt family items, including a grand piano and the original dining room set, where in 1903 the family hosted a lunch with former President Theodore Roosevelt, who was John’s cousin.

Downtown Sayville is a Long Island shopping mecca.


As integral as Sayville’s historical attractions may be, no seaside vacation (or daylong excursion) is complete without a little mini golf, as well. In Sayville, the putting frenzy goes down at Sayville Falls Mini Golf (30 Hanson Pl., 631-256-5632,, which is known for its attractive, well-manicured course. There are numerous water features, including waterfalls, streams and pools, so putt with caution, or prepare to go fishing for your ball. The course is also a popular destination for special events, parties, and camp group visits.

Sayville’s spherical fun doesn’t stop there, either. Bowlers regularly flock to Bowlero Sayville (5660 Sunrise Hwy., 631-567-8900, to get their fix; the recently revamped 50,000-square-foot bowling alley now features 60 lanes of black-light bowling, plush lane-side lounge seats, high-definition video walls and an extensive snack bar menu. There’s also a retro-themed cocktail lounge, video arcade and popular party games, like cornhole and beer pong. If you spend more time racking up gutter balls than rolling strikes, you can always blame the booze.

A dramatic sunset at a Sayville marina. (Shutterstock)


Be sure, though, not to spend your entire trip to Sayville just bowling and playing beer pong. Get outside and enjoy nature too, especially at Sans Souci County Park (Broadway Ave., 631-854-4949,, named for the French phrase “without worry.” Living up to its billing, a stroll through this 316-acre nature preserve — once a cranberry farm — will literally make your worries melt away. Three different nature trails originate at the preserve’s parking lot.

Another favorite Sayville spot for a stroll is The Common Ground at Rotary Park (located between Gillette and Candee Aves., 631-459-6603,, a reflective garden created by community members in memory of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The Common Ground features lush gardens, walkways lined with personalized stones, memorial benches, the Peace Labyrinth and the Pamela Raymond Performance Pavilion, where outdoor concerts are regularly held (often as part of the Wednesdays in the Park weekly event). Other special events there include Family Fridays, Yoga in the Park, and special labyrinth walks.

And if the salt air is what you crave, head over to the Sayville Marina Park (400 Foster Ave., 631-854-4949,, offering a lengthy pier where you can relax on benches, do some fishing in the bay and enjoy classic Long Island waterfront scenery. The park — former site of the massive Tidewater Inn, which was built in 1916; the inn became known as the Shoreham in 1937 and burned down in 1973 — also includes a playground, picnic tables, tennis courts, boat docks and a small beach.


Perhaps the most surprising Sayville attraction is Loughlin Vineyard (253 S Main St., 631-589-0027,, which saves many wine lovers from having to make a trip to the East End, where the majority of LI’s vineyards historically reside. A family business for the last 34 years, the vineyard is located on the grounds of John E. Roosevelt’s former Meadow Croft estate, where it typically produces five wines per year from its 7-acre crop. Spend an afternoon tasting Loughlin’s popular red, white, and blush wines, then enjoy a picnic lunch (bring your own) among the grapes.

After you’ve purchased that perfect bottle of wine (or 10) at Loughlin, head over to the Crushed Olive (31A Main St., 631-256-5777,, which is part of a local chain of stores that now have six LI locations. Sample the selection of extra virgin and infused olive oils, aged balsamic vinegars, and various other gourmet oils, then watch them fresh-bottle and cork your selection(s). Recommended varieties to try include the espresso balsamic and dark chocolate balsamic vinegars, which pair well with ice cream or fresh fruit, as well as the lemon-infused olive oil. Online shopping is available on the Crushed Olive website, in case you run out before your next Sayville visit.

There is no shortage of shops in downtown Sayville.


100 S. Main St., 631-563-0805,

Bistro 25
45 Foster Ave., 631-589-7775,

Off The Block
501 Montauk Hwy., 631-573-6655,

Café Joelle on Main Street
25 Main St., 631-589-4600,

Cull House
75 Terry St., 631-563-1546,

98 Main St., 631-567-6345,

Aegean Café
35 Main St., 631-589-5529,

Downtown Burger at Five Points Café
1 Main St., 631-567-5655,


Land’s End Motel & Marina
70 Browns River Rd., 631-589-2040,

Sayville Motor Lodge
5494 Sunrise Hwy., 631-589-7000

Oyster Bay: More Than Just Shellfish

Oyster Bay's annual Oyster Festival is held on the waterfront.

The hamlet of Oyster Bay, part of the greater Nassau County Town of Oyster Bay, is perhaps best known as the home of former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, whose regal Sagamore Hill estate still wows onlookers today. It’s a community steeped in colonial heritage and Gold Coast opulence, providing both tourists and locals alike with some of the finest waterfront access on the North Shore, along with a host of other natural, historic and manmade attractions.

Once Matinecock Indian land, English settlers first began purchasing parcels in Oyster Bay from the Matinecock in 1653, receiving an official charter from the crown for the township in 1667. Oyster Bay figured prominently in LI’s involvement in the American Revolution and like much of LI, blossomed in the 1800s once connected to the Long Island Rail Road (Oyster Bay welcomed its first LIRR train on June 21, 1889). Around this time, in 1880, Roosevelt had purchased 155 acres in Cove Neck, where his home was completed in 1885, when he was still a New York State Assemblyman.

“Filled with tree-lined streets, steeped in history from Colonial times straight through the Presidency of Teddy Roosevelt, as well as numerous amenities including parks, beaches, and facilities nationally recognized for their excellence, Oyster Bay has been consistently recognized as one of the best places to live in the nation by numerous publications,” said Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino. “I encourage visitors to come and visit the town, as there is no place quite like it!”

These days, Oyster Bay is also famous for its annual Oyster Festival (, one of the largest waterfront festivals on the East Coast, which draws some 200,000 attendees to the hamlet each year. The 35th installment of the festival happens this year on October 13 and 14 in Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park and Beach (see below). Highlights include live entertainment, boats, artisans, pirate shows, rides and its famous oyster-eating and -shucking contest. There’s also a delectable food court, where scores of tempting oyster, clam and other seafood concoctions and traditional festival fare are served to hungry patrons.

But don’t let the Oyster Festival be the only reason you visit. Some recommended year-round Oyster Bay diversions include:

Long Island's Teddy Roosevelt
Long Island’s Teddy Roosevelt


One of the most iconic destinations in Oyster Bay, as well as the whole of Long Island, is Sagamore Hill National Historic Site (20 Sagamore Hill Rd., 516-922-4788,, home of former President Theodore Roosevelt from 1885 until his death in 1919. Dubbed the “Summer White House,” this stunning 23-room Victorian mansion — preserved and still containing its T.R.-period contents — sits on an 80-acre estate that also contains a 37-acre National Environmental Study Area with forest, tidal salt marsh and bay beach areas. The site also holds the Theodore Roosevelt Museum, chronicling the life and career of the president, within the 1938 “Old Orchard” house used by Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt Jr. (T.R.’s oldest son) and his family.

Another historic Oyster Bay Gold Coast estate that now delights the general public is Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park (1395 Planting Fields Rd., 516-922-9200,, once the home of the W.R. Coe family, who enlisted the Olmsted Brothers to create a 400-acre arboretum renowned for its divine camellias, rhododendrons and azaleas. Attractions include the Main Greenhouse, which holds an extensive collection of hibiscus, orchids, succulents and seasonal displays as well as the impressive Coe Hall, formerly the Tudor Revival residence of the Coe family, which is open for guided tours from April to September, and features dazzling collections of furnishings, paintings, stained glass and decorative arts.

And to delve even further back into Oyster Bay history, stop in at the Raynham Hall Museum (20 West Main St., 516-922-6808,, ancestral home of the Townsend family, including Robert, who was a spy in George Washington’s Culper Ring during the American Revolution. The home was purchased by Robert’s father Samuel around 1740 and expanded, later being named Raynham Hall by Samuel’s grandson, Solomon, during a mid-19th century renovation. In the 1940s the front of the house was restored to its colonial appearance; today it boasts an exceptional collection of archives and artifacts of interest, including 5,000 items of furniture, works of art, household accessories, tableware, cookware, textiles, costumes, toys and games.

Street corner on the main drag in Oyster Bay. (Photo by MDLR MediaShutterstock)


In Oyster Bay, manmade creations of steel and machinery are revered alongside the hamlet’s historical and architectural leanings. Singer/pianist Billy Joel, a longtime Long Island resident and Oyster Bay denizen, transformed his phenomenal personal motorcycle collection into the museum 20th Century Cycles (101 Audrey Ave.,, where visitors can view 75-plus vintage bikes — some quite rare — all owned by Joel. The space is also used for the ongoing restoration and customization of some of the motorcycles. Who knows, you might even bump into the Piano Man himself.

Or, if four wheels are more your speed, there’s the Collector Car Showcase (85 Pine Hollow Rd., 516-802-5297,, an automotive museum and sales showroom that specializes in more than 70 years of Porsche history. The museum also has a vintage BMW 507, Mercedes Benz 300SL, VW Bus and other rare non-Porsche vehicles also on display. There is also a complete car-care center located onsite, so you can get your oil changed or car detailed while you browse the free exhibits.

Train fans aren’t forgotten in Oyster Bay, either. For a comprehensive look at the history and importance of locomotive technology, and its impact on life on Long Island, spend some time at the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum (102 Audrey Ave., 516-558-7036,, located near the historic Oyster Bay Railroad Station and Turntable, where a permanent museum will be opened in the future. The current interim center offers selected displays from the museum’s collection, exhibits outlining plans for the future museum, and a gift shop stocked with rail-themed goodies.

Coe Hall Historic house at the Planting Fields Arboretum (Photo by Joe TrentacostiShutterstock)


With all those historic and motorized spots to visit, don’t forget to also amply enjoy Oyster Bay’s best natural feature: its waterfront. A great starting point in that spirit is The Waterfront Center (1 West End Ave., 516-922-7245,, which offers kayak, sailboat and stand-up paddle board rentals, pleasure cruises and a wide range of educational and junior programs, including sailing lessons for various levels of expertise.

You can also stroll along the Oyster Bay waterfront and maybe even catch a special event in Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park and Beach (25 West End Ave., 516-624-6202), which is also the annual site of the Oyster Festival. The former marsh, once used as a dump and riddled with dilapidated shacks, was transformed into a popular public space in the late 1920s and donated to the town in 1942. It features walking paths, a marina, picnic areas, tennis courts, a softball field, children’s play area, and the Theodore Roosevelt Monument Assemblage, with 24 stones and a plaque that each tell a “chapter” in Roosevelt’s life story.

T.R.’s name also graces another of Oyster Bay’s natural treasures: the 15-acre Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary and Audubon Center (134 Cove Rd., 516-922-3200,, which started out as the first Audubon songbird sanctuary in the nation. Today it offers a wide variety of activities, including environmental and conservation education, wildlife research, and more, while serving as home to 15 raptors, such as hawks, owls, falcons and a vulture, as well as reptiles and amphibians from around the globe. Explore the nature center and hiking trails, the latter of which are popular for birdwatching. An avid outdoorsman, T.R. would’ve likely given the sanctuary — and the greater Oyster Bay of today — an emphatic “bully.”

Oyster Fest is one of the biggest annual events on Long Island.


Wild Honey
1 E. Main St., 516-922-4690,

Canterbury’s Oyster Bar & Grill
46 Audrey Ave., 516-922-3614,

Coach Grill & Tavern
22 Pine Hollow Rd., 516-624-0900,

Taby’s Burger House
28 Audrey Ave., 516-624-7781,

25 Shore Ave., 516-922-7796,

2 Spring
2 Spring St., 516-624-2411,

Sweet Tomato
91 Audrey Ave., 516-802-5353,

124 South St., 516-922-2212,

The Homestead
107 South St., 516-922-9293,

Pietro’s Brick Oven Pizza
342 Lexington Ave., 516-922-2023,

Glen Cove: A Gold Coast Playground For All

Glen Cove residents and visitors celebrate Bimmerstock, an annual June car show in downtown Glen Cove that benefits the Diabetes Research Foundation.

Thanks in part to an ideal location on the Long Island Sound, the community once called Musketa Cove that eventually became the City of Glen Cove was a haven for English colonists from the late 1600s onward, and before that hosted numerous Native American tribes. It was the city’s turn-of-the-century Gold Coast era, however, that would define the character of this opulent seaside playground, with multiple industrial tycoons building massive estates on Glen Cove’s majestic shoreline from the late 1800s through the 1920s.

Today, many of those Gold Coast estates are public property, freely enjoyed by all. From the rolling lawns and prime oceanfront of Morgan Memorial Park (once the grounds of the J.P. Morgan estate) to the wooded splendor of the Welwyn Preserve (the Harold Pratt estate) to the scenic trails and fascinating museum at Garvies Point, former home of the Garvie family, the Glen Cove of today is both in touch with its past and with its present and future. Few locations on Long Island offer such a rich combination of natural beauty, cultural heritage and manmade artistry.

“Glen Cove has such a rich history and has so much to offer to its residents and visitors,” says Lauren Wasserfall, chairperson of the Glen Cove 350 Anniversary Heritage Garden program, as part of the city’s 350th birthday celebration. “There’s the Holocaust Museum, Garvies Point, Webb Institute, Welwyn Preserve, the Glen Cove Mansion, our Garvies Point microbrewery and so much more. The downtown area has some really wonderful restaurants and places to shop, with the convenience of a large free municipal parking lot. If you’re looking to have a fun day on the North Shore of Long Island, then Glen Cove is the place to put on your list of ‘must dos.’”    

Glen Cove is in the midst of celebrations (, honoring its formal founding in 1668 as Musketa Cove Plantation, adopting the word “Musketa,” meaning “place of rushes,” from the native Lenape language. Already an active port, in 1668 it became an independent hamlet led by five plantation owners, who’d purchased 2,000 acres from the Matinecock tribe. From 1680 onward, the community was run by the Town of Oyster Bay, until 1917, when it became a city. Along the way, in 1834, residents changed the name to Glen Cove, purportedly due to the negative association between “Musketa” and “mosquito,” and by 1850 the village was already a thriving resort destination for city dwellers.

Centuries later, Glen Cove remains an ideal spot for a getaway, whether you’re from out of state, or just a different exit on the parkway. Some recommended diversions include:

The City of Glen Cove recently celebrated its 350th anniversary.


Today, you can retrace some of the city’s earliest roots at the Garvies Point Museum and Preserve (50 Barry Dr, 516-571-8010,, on the grounds of the former Garvie family estate, dating to the early 1800s. This captivating oasis is now a center for research on Long Island geology and Native American archaeology, set in a lush 62-acre waterfront preserve covered by forests, thickets and meadows, with some five miles of marked nature trails. The museum features multiple permanent and temporary exhibits (including a model archaeological dig) and conducts numerous educational programs for both kids and adults.

Another essential historic Glen Cove destination is the Holocaust Memorial & Tolerance Center of Nassau County (100 Crescent Beach Rd, Welwyn Preserve, 516-571-8040,—located within the Welwyn Preserve—offering multimedia exhibits, artifacts, archival footage and testimony from local Holocaust survivors. There is also a gallery that hosts temporary exhibits, and a timely gallery that connects the past to modern-day problems of intolerance, bullying and genocide. The center is also home to the Louis Posner Memorial Library, a lending repository of more than 7,000 relevant works, including memoirs, diaries, journals, maps, artwork, DVDs, CDs and artifacts.

You can also immerse yourself in the region’s rich history by paying a visit to the North Shore Historical Museum (140 Glen St, 516-801-1191,, housed in the city’s original 1907 Justices Courthouse, listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places. The museum spans the history of the North Shore, particularly the Gold Coast, offering exhibitions, lectures and programs, including its latest exhibit: “The North Shore Worships: A Historical Overview With Local Cemeteries & Burial Grounds.”

One of the free summer concerts regularly held at Morgan Park.


Glen Cove is also a place where old and new combine and morph into something entirely unique. One of the city’s most vibrant cultural offerings is the First City Project (149 Glen St, 516-759-1327,, located in the historic J.H. Coles Homestead, formerly home to one of the city’s five founding families, with parts of the home dating as far back as 1690. Inside you will find the walls of the once-neglected 9,000-square-foot house now covered with dazzling creations by more than 150 urban street artists from around the globe. In the future the organizers intend to host live events, mural projects, art classes, food events and more. It is currently open by appointment only.

It’s tough to admire all that incredible artwork at First City Project and not get inspired to create your own masterpiece. Or better yet, perhaps your little ones are feeling the artistic pull? Either way, spending some time at ClayNation (38 Forest Ave, Rear Building, 516-671-8788, is in order, where walk-in artists are always welcome. The studio offers paint-your-own pottery, mosaic crafting, canvas painting and glass fusion, with all materials included. There are art programs for kids, toddlers and adults, summer camps, paint-and-sip parties and more. Check their online calendar for special weekly events.

Prybil Beach in Glen Cove is a popular Long Island Sound swimming spot.


Don’t visit Glen Cove without taking some time to enjoy its stunning waterfront. One perennial favorite for aquatic fans is Pryibil Beach and Fishing Pier (East Beach Road), a typically quiet, rocky stretch of North Shore beach complete with public restrooms, a concession stand, lifeguards and a picnic area. Try your luck fishing in the Sound from the pier, or just kick back and relax. You’ll soon see why the locals keep returning.

Another Glen Cove waterfront staple is Morgan Memorial Park (Germaine Street), former grounds of the J.P. Morgan estate, featuring picturesque lawns and paths rolling downhill to the beach, where you can take in stunning views of the LI Sound from Hempstead Harbor to Connecticut. There are also BBQ/picnic areas on the great lawn, a playground and a boat launch. The park hosts popular outdoor concerts in summer and is a sledding haven in winter. Note: Parking in the main lot is restricted to local residents with a pass from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

While visiting the Holocaust Memorial (see above) set aside some extra time to tour its grounds: the Welwyn Preserve County Park (100 Crescent Beach Rd, 516-572-0200,, a 204-acre public park occupying the former estate of industrialist Harold I. Pratt. The preserve includes a butterfly garden, extensive mature woodland, a salt marsh and a tidal inlet, accessible by four nature trails. Keep an eye out for the more than 100 species of birds, and the variety of small mammals, reptiles and amphibians that call the preserve home.

And if all that gorgeous shoreline gets you in the mood to venture away from shore, check out Shore Thing Rentals (128 Shore Rd, Brewer’s Yacht Yard, 516-801-2201,, where you can rent kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, bikes and even fishing poles. They’re open daily from 10 am to sunset from late June through Labor Day, then open on weekends from April through June. So, if you’re visiting in winter, you’ll definitely need to plan to come back again to Glen Cove in the summer.

Sunset on rocky pier at Morgan Park in Glen Cove


The Mansion At Glen Cove
200 Dosoris Ln, 877-782-9426,


American Cafe
5 School St, 516-656-0003,

Cedar Creek
75 Cedar Swamp Rd, 516-656-5656,

LaBussola Restaurant
40 School St, 516-671-2100,

Meritage Wine Bar
90 School St., Glen Cove, 516–801-0055,

Riviera Grill
274 Glen St, 516-674-9370,

Sweet Mandarin
18 Cottage Row, 516-671-2228,

Sopah Thai Kitchen
11 Cedar Swamp Rd, 516-945-3688,

Sid’s All American
80 Glen Cove Ave, 516-200-9071,

The View Grill
111 Lattingtown Rd, 516-200-9603,

Wild Fig
167 Glen St, 516-656-5645,

The South Fork: Not Just A Playground For The Rich

Sea fog rolls into Southampton

Like its neighboring North Fork communities, the South Fork of Long Island — or as more popularly known, “the Hamptons” — started out as a colonial haven for agriculture and fishing, with close ties to New England, as is still seen in its surviving period architecture. That all changed in the late 1800s, though, when the region began its transformation into a summer playground for the wealthy — a distinction that continues to this day.

It’s easy to see why the rich and influential have been flocking to the Hamptons for more than a century: The area is an oceanfront paradise, with miles of exquisite coastline. And these days, there’s a wealth of other attractions too, from historical sites to fine dining to a robust local arts community.

“We’re close to New York City, we have great beaches, great schools, great theater and a summer and winter community that has supported my businesses for over 32 years,” says Elyse Richman, who owns several Westhampton businesses under the “Shock” moniker. “Raising my son in a small community where everyone knows your name is a step back in time. It’s a warm and friendly family oriented community.”

Unlike Richman, not all of us are lucky enough to live in the Hamptons, but we can certainly still visit. So, for an unforgettable South Fork experience, here are some can’t miss starting points:

A woman carries her surfboard from the beach in the Hamptons.


As you may have heard, the Hamptons are world famous for pristine beaches, where countless visitors and residents flock every summer. There are enough in the Hamptons area to fill an entire travel column on their own, but in Westhampton, one perennial favorite is Cupsogue Beach County Park (906 Dune Road, Westhampton Beach, 631-852-8111,, a 296-acre barrier beach park ideal for swimming, sunbathing, surfing and striped bass fishing. There’s frequently live music to enjoy during the summer, as well as a tiki-themed food bar.

Also high on the list of East End beachgoers is Ponquogue Beach (Dune Rd., over Ponquogue Bridge, Hampton Bays, Southampton, 631-283-6011,, known for its gorgeous scenery, clean and well-maintained public facilities and walk-up snack bar. A non-resident day parking pass will run you $25, which is a bargain, considering the cost of full-time residency.

Further down Dune Road, another popular beach choice is Pike’s Beach (765 Dune Rd, Westhampton Beach, 631-288-0143) with parking available to residents with permits or visitors who spring for a $40 day pass. It tends to be one of the quieter Hamptons beaches, since it is located past some of the more highly frequented spots on Dune Road. The beach offers only basic services (bathrooms, showers and lifeguards), but maximum relaxation.

Visitors at Montauk Point.


The beaches aren’t the only worthy outdoor excursion on the South Fork. There’s also idyllic scenery to enjoy a little more inland, like at East Hampton’s LongHouse Reserve (133 Hands Creek Rd, East Hampton, 631-329-3568, a 16-acre garden with lush lawns, ornamental borders, plant collections and outdoor sculpture, planned by textile designer Jack Lenor Larsen, who assembled a collection of more than 70 sculptures for the gardens.

Some spots are so scenic, they’re mandatory for all visitors. Moving closer again to the water’s edge, for a truly breathtaking view of the coastline, there’s no substitute for a jaunt out to LI’s absolute eastern end, Montauk, where the Montauk Point Lighthouse (2000 Montauk Hwy, Montauk, 631-668-2544, has welcomed travelers since 1796, making it the oldest lighthouse in New York State and fourth-oldest active lighthouse in the nation. Its museum, gift shop and tours round out the experience.VIBRANT ARTS SCENE

The arts are alive and well in the Hamptons, too. An anchor for area development over the past 20 years is the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center (76 Main Street, Westhampton Beach, 631-288-1500,, offering a year-round program featuring world-class performers, its World Cinema series and its arts education program. Upcom-
ing performances include Josh Ritter (Aug. 12), Rufus Wainwright (Aug. 18), Arturo Sandoval (Aug. 19), John Hiatt & The Goners (Aug. 26), Eddie Izzard (Sept. 2) and Howie Mandel (Nov. 10).

In Sag Harbor, the Bay Street Theater (1 Bay St, Sag Harbor, 631-725-9500, also offers year-round entertainment, in its 299-seat venue. In addition to the mainstage productions, Bay Street programs include its Comedy Club, workshops, special events and educational initiatives, like Literature Live!, theater workshops and kids theater camps and classes. The main-stage will present Evita from July 31 through Aug. 26.

A rapidly rising newcomer is the Southampton Arts Center (25 Jobs Ln., Southampton, 631-283-0967,, a local favorite due to its ever-changing array of exhibits, concerts, films an special events. Bring the kids for the popular puppet shows, view special film screenings and outdoor movie showings, enjoy exhibitions like “Counterpoint: Selections from The Peter Marino Collection” (through Sept. 23) or get/stay fit at one of its many wellness workshops. That’s a lot under one roof.

There’s also art that you can literally hold in your hand, such as the exquisite handbags crafted by Judith Leiber, whose creations are now dis-played in the Leiber Collection (446 Old Stone Hwy, East Hampton, 631-329-3288, along with works created and collected by her husband, Gerson Leiber. The museum grounds and sculpture garden are equally eye pleasing.

Intersection at Main Street in Southampton.


There’s long been an allure to the South Fork, so to immerse oneself in this rich oceanfront heritage, start at the Thomas Halsey Homestead (249 S Main St, Southampton, 631-283-2494), whose namesake cofounded Southampton in 1640. Halsey purchased the homestead in 1648; the Halsey House was built by his son, Thomas Halsey Jr. in 1683, and a two-room extension was added in 1730. The museum features historic furnishings indicative of a 1750 farm family and an exhibit on the native Shinnecock Tribe, complete with a recreated Woodland period village.

But to learn still more about the area’s indigenous Shinnecock Tribe, don’t skip past the Shinnecock Nation Cultural Center and Museum (100 Montauk Hwy, Southampton, 631-287-4923,, located on the Shinnecock Reservation. The museum’s main building is a log structure containing Native American artifacts and exhibits on the Shinnecock and Woodland Indian cultures, while an adjoining living history village conveys 1700s-era life for Woodland Indians, with tribal members dressed in period garb and demonstrating aspects of Native American life before European settlement.

From there, move ahead by about a century and visit the Southampton Historical Museum (17 Meeting House Ln., Southampton, 631-283-2494,, where its Rogers Mansion Museum Complex — featuring the Greek-revival Rogers Mansion built in 1843 by whaling captain Albert Rogers — offers 12 historic buildings focused on the area’s 19th-century development. The one-acre campus also contains a carpenter’s shop, blacksmith shop, dry goods store, paint shop, one-room schoolhouse and two barns.

Whaling was such a huge part of the region’s past, you could spend hours discovering more about it. If that strikes your fancy, there’s the Sag Harbor Whaling and Historical Museum (200 Main St, Sag Harbor, 631-725-0770,, housed in the 1845 home of Benjamin Huntting II and family. Explore the majestic mansion — a certified National Treasure listed on the National Register of Historic Places — as well as its fine collection of historical objects from the village’s whaling past, plus contemporary exhibits reflecting the culture of the village today.

Finally, for perhaps the most unique South Fork experience, continue on your historical journey further eastward, jumping ahead yet another century, until you reach Camp Hero State Park (1898 Montauk Hwy, Montauk, 631-668-3781, The park’s 415 wooded and beachfront acres once held a U.S. military base long rumored to be linked to mysterious research projects and a series of underground tunnels. Today you can enjoy hiking trails and world-class surf fishing there, or explore the ruins of the base, which still includes bunkers and massive radar dishes. Like the South Fork, Camp Hero has some- thing for everyone — even for us daytrippers.

Folks enjoy a casual meal at a clam shack in East Hampton


Starr Boggs
6 Parlato Dr, Westhampton Beach, 631-288-3500,

1770 House Restaurant
143 Main St, East Hampton, 631-324-1770,

43 Canoe Place Rd, Hampton Bays, Southampton, 631-594-3544,

258 E. Montauk Hwy, Hampton Bays, Southampton, 631-594-3868,

Harvest on Fort Pond
11 S. Emery St, Montauk, 631-668-5574,


Aqualina Inn Montauk
20 S. Elmwood Ave, Montauk, 631-688-8300,

Bowen’s by the Bays
177 W. Montauk Hwy, Hampton Bays, Southampton, 631-728-1158,

The Drake Inn
16 Penny Ln, Hampton Bays, Southampton, 631-728-1592,

Baron’s Cove
31 West Water St, Sag Harbor, 844-227-6672,

Gansett Green Manor
273 Main St, Amagansett, 631-267-3133,