Ellie Schoeffel


Long Island Easter Events 2016

Easter may be early this year, but Long Island is still hopping with egg hunts, crafts, parties, parades, and Easter Bunny breakfasts. Here is a listing of local events for the occasion. Happy Easter!!!

Breakfast With the Easter Bunny at Vanderbilt Reichert Planetarium
Featuring a hot breakfast, an Easter Egg Hunt, and a special planetarium showing of “One World, One Sky” all in the company of the Easter Bunny himself. 180 Little Neck Road, Centerport, NY 11721. Adults $30, Kids $18. 9 a.m.-12 p.m. March 26.

Spring Egg Hunt
Come with baskets in hand for an Easter egg hunt that includes both treats for kids, and a chance to give the fish treats. All ages welcome! Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery, 1660 Route 25A, Cold Spring Harbor. Free with paid admission. 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. March 26.

Caumsett Foundation Annual Egg Hunt
Easter egg hunt at the beautiful Caumsett Park, open to all ages. Come have a walk, see the horses, and hunt for eggs. 25 Lloyd Harbor Rd., Lloyd Harbor. Free. 11 a.m. March 26.

Spring Eggstravaganza
Come for an egg hunt in the park, followed by games. Fraser Park, Fraser Avenue, Merrick. Suggested donation of $1/child. 11 a.m. March 26.

Combine an exploration of the beauty of nature with Easter fun at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge. Drawing inspiration from the refuge’s egg and nest collection, kids will create their own nest full of eggs (be sure to bring an old shirt or smock). An egg painting workshop will follow. Recommended for ages 5-12. Reservations required. Quogue Wildlife Refuge, 3 Old Country Rd., Quogue $5 per child. 11-11:45am, 2-2:45pm. March 26.

Breakfast with the Easter Bunny and Egg Hunt
Kids can bounce, play, and search for Easter eggs hidden in the arenas and inside gigantic inflatables. Bouncy castles and chocolate, what’s not to like? Add breakfast to the mix for an additional $3.95 add-on per person. Pump It Up Great Neck, 225 Community Dr., Great Neck. $19.95/child. 9-11 a.m. March 26-27.

Penguin Easter Brunch
Come celebrate Easter in style, featuring a delicious breakfast buffet at the waterfront Sea Star ballroom, a craft station, and lots of time at the Aquarium. You can explore on your own until the Penguin Egg Hunt takes place from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The brunch includes all day aquarium admission. Reservations required. Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center, 431 East Main St., Riverhead. longislandaquarium.com Adults $39.95, Children 3-12: $21.95, kids under 2 free. Seatings at 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. March 27.

Port Jefferson Easter Parade and Egg Hunt
Come see and walk in an Easter parade (wear your Easter best!), starting In front of Theatre Three on Main Street and finishing at the Port Jefferson Village Center down at the Harbor. Then, go to an Easter Egg Hunt on the Great Lawn at Harborfront Park. Port Jefferson. Free. ages 2-8. 12 p.m. March 27.

Benner’s Farm Egg Hunt and Petting Zoo
With three egg hunts offered for separate age groups, kids can come (bring your own basket) hunt for eggs and enjoy a petting zoo. 56 Gnarled Hollow Road, East Setauket. $6/children, $8/adult. 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. March 26-27.

Easter Brunch Buffet and Egg Hunt
With treats for both parents (first mimosa or bloody mary is free) and kids, festivities begin with an Easter egg hunt, followed by a petting zoo, a visit from the Easter Bunny, and brunch (which includes a cold table, waffle station, omelet station, breakfast buffet, Italian station, salad bar, carving station, Coney Island Kids station and dessert station). Woodbury Country Club,884 Jericho Turnpike, Woodbury. Adults $55 +tax, Children 5-10 $25 +tax, Children under age 4 are free. Reservations required. 12 p.m. March 27.

Easter Sunday Brunch Cruise and Egg Hunt
All aboard the Sapphire Princess Cruise Easter Brunch, which includes a 30 minute egg hunt prior, and then a 2.5 hour Bay cruise with brunch (including a buffet and open bar), entertainment, and the possibility of harbor seal sightings. Captain Lou Fleet & Sapphire Cruises. 11 Richmond Street, Freeport, NY 11520. Adults $65, seniors $55, kids 14 and under $35, kids under 3 free. 12, 3:30 p.m. March 27.

Egg-Cellent Celebration
Celebrate Easter and the coming of spring by seeing egg-laying sea creatures, going on an egg hunt in the museum, and decorating a Faberge style egg. The Whaling Museum and Education Center, 301 Main Street, Cold Spring Harbor. Adults $5/ Children $6, additional $3 per craft. 1 p.m. April 3.

Long Island Valentine’s Day 2016 Events


St. Valentine’s Day is back, which means it’s once again time to buy overpriced chocolates and bouquets of red roses to celebrate a holiday that many view more to do with consumerism than romance.

But, instead of contributing to the $18 billion that Americans are estimated to spend this year on their valentines with predictable gifts, why not change it up this year? Long Island is home to a host of unique events for those looking to do something different with their dates.

Take advantage and explore some of the best events on LI happening this Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Night Cabaret
Join cast members of award winning Broadway musicals for a special Valentine’s cabaret performance. Featuring Tony winner Jefferson Mays, Bryce Pinkham, Lisa O’Hare and Catherine Walker, these talented cast members of the Tony-winning Broadway production of “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” will reunite to perform witty songs, and join guests for cocktails, dinner and dessert. Hempstead House, 127 Middle Neck Rd, Sands Point, NY 11050. 516-304-5076. thesandspointpreserve.org. $125. 7 p.m. February 13.
Valentine’s Laugh, Dine, and Dance Stand-up

If you are looking for a laugh in an easy-going atmosphere, come laugh the night away with a line up of Long Island’s top stand-up comedians. Featuring George Rini, Talia Reese and Gary Vider, you can eat while you watch, and there will also be a dance floor for those inclined. The Suffolk Theater, 118 E Main St, Riverhead. 631-727-4343. suffolktheater.com $35. 8 p.m. February 13.

3rd Annual Louder Than Love Valentine’s Day Concert
Music lovers prepare to dance the night away. With a varied line-up, this concert features groups like TKA, and an appearance by DJ Chef. NYCB Theater at Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Road,  Westbury. 516-247-5200. venue.thetheatreatwestbury.com $45-115. 8 p.m. February 13.
Love on Ice
Want to include the kids on this special day, or just looking to skate with your loved one? Either way, “Love on Ice” celebrations are taking place at the Cantiague Park, Christopher Morley Park and Grant Park ice rinks. Free hot chocolate and cookies will be available for attendees, and there will be a DJ and prizes for children. Ice rink admission will include a free skate rental. Cantiague Park, Christopher Morley Park and Grant Park. Free children 3 and under, $6 4-17, $8 Adults. 1 p.m. February 14.
Annual Historic Mansion Valentine’s Day Dinner
Dine where Hollywood stars, Long Island’s rich and famous, and European royalty once supped in a glamorous and romantic mansion overlooking Northport Bay. Those looking to get a taste of the glamorous past will get a tour of the mansion, including exclusive collections accompanied by Hors d’oeuvres and cocktails. A gourmet dinner in the storybook atmosphere will follow. Tickets are by reservation only. Vanderbilt Mansion Museum, 180 Little Neck Road, Centerport. 631-854-5579. Vanderbiltmuseum.org $100. 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Feb. 14.
Valentine’s Day Comedy Show Starring Jim Breuer
Laugh the night away with your loved one or laugh away your unsuccessful love life at this special comedy event. Starring radio host, stand up comedian, and SNL cast member Jim Breuer, you are sure to be kept in stitches. Cabaret tables sold with roses, chocolates, and champagne. The Paramount, 370 New York Avenue, Huntington, NY 11743. 631-673-7300. paramountny.com $30-100. 7:30 p.m. Feb. 14.
The Way We Were Film Screening

Enjoy flowers, chocolates, and a special screening of The Way We Were, a story of star crossed lovers (who certainly prove that opposites attract) Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford. Starting with a reception featuring roses and chocolates, this special screening is sure to get you in a romantic mood. Perfect dinner and a movie date opportunity, Valentine’s edition. Cinema Arts Centre, 423 Park Ave., Huntington. 631-423-7611. Cinemaartscentre.org $12 members, $17 public. 3:30 p.m. February 14.

Dinner at the Glen Cove Mansion
Treat your Valentine to a delicious dinner, followed by live music and dancing. Champagne specials, roses, and the beautiful atmosphere will give you a night to remember. Tickets are by reservation only. Glen Cove Mansion, 200 Dosoris Lane, Glen Cove, New York 11542. 516.671.6400. glencovemansion.com $89 .6, 8:30 p.m. Feb. 14.
Couples Massage at Hand and Stone
If relaxation is something you are looking for on Valentine’s Day, Hand and Stone is the place to go. It offers private rooms so you and your loved one can enjoy some pampering and relaxation together. Hand and Stone,16 Wall St., Huntington. (also has locations in Jericho, Port Washington, Levittown). handandstone.com Prices vary depending on duration and location.

7 Places to Celebrate Mardi Gras on Long Island

Long Islanders celebrating Mardi Gras need not travel to New Orleans to join in Louisiana’s epic annual Fat Tuesday festivities because local Cajun-style restaurants and bars also host events marking the occasion.

Try as they may, few establishments on LI are bound to throw parties as lively or serve food as authentic as these half dozen Cajun joints that have menus featuring crawfish, alligator and of course, jambalaya.

This year, the party starts on Feb. 9, regardless of whether revelers plan on participating in the Christian observance of Lent that starts the following day.

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

Big Daddy’s Restaurant
1 Park Ln., Massapequa. 516-799-8877. bigdaddysny.com
This place takes Fat Tuesday so seriously it holds a “Mardi Madness Week” celebration featuring seven nights of live music and specials, culminating in a massive feast featuring a full buffet, music and costumes. With a welcoming feel, festive atmosphere and a large menu changing daily full of Cajun comfort food, Big Daddy’s is known as the go to place for a Cajun Creole Fix. Big Daddy’s offers a variety of Cajun specialties, from seafood dishes such as Motor Mouth Stuffed Shrimp and Jambalaya to Vieux Carre Pork and Waffles and BBQ Beef Po’Boy. Patrons be warned: This restaurant goes full-on Cajun with the spices. mardis grasThe Bayou
2823 Jerusalem Ave., Bellmore. 516-785-9263. bayou4bigfun.com
The week-long Mardis Gras party continues with Cajun eats and live music at this lively eatery with great ambiance. A go-to for the right atmosphere to “get you in the Mardi-Gras mood,” this small and quirky restaurant serves strong drinks and has a lively bar scene, catering to a less child-oriented crowd. With creative food/drink presentation and an authentic feel, this is among the most festive places to celebrate.

Storyville American Table
Dessert at Storyville American Table (Photo courtesy of Storyville American Table)

Storyville American Table Restaurant
43 Green St., Huntington. 631-351-3446. storyvilleamericantable.com
Storyville is also hosting “Mardi Gras Madness” celebrations for more than week culminating with a big celebration on the day itself. With an authentic and sophisticated feel, Storyville American Table Restaurant gives a true Louisiana experience. Committed to fresh food, this eatery boasts homemade pickles, authentic house sauces and house-ground meat for their burgers. This lively spot caters to all tastes with a large varied menu and is great for a night out. Dishes not to miss include the gumbo, beignets, catfish and mussels.

Treme Bues and Jazz Club
Treme Blues and Jazz Club in Islip (Photo courtesy of Treme Blues and Jazz Club)

Treme Blues and Jazz Club
553 Main St., Islip. 631-277-2008. tremeislip.com
One of the few intimate upscale live music venues of its kind on LI, named for the French Quarter neighborhood where jazz was born, this Blues bar is normally open Thursday through Sunday—except for their epic annual Fat Tuesday party. Headlining this year’s show is the Gulf Coast-inspired Dave Clive’s Nawlins Funk Band. Although the club is more known for their music than their food, specials on cocktails, Gumbo and Mardis Gras King Cake are among the mouthwatering items on their menu that includes small plates and desserts. There will be beads!

King Cake
King Cake is a traditional Mardis Gras dessert.

Biscuits and Barbeque
106 East 2nd St., Mineola. 516-493-9797. biscuitsandbarbecue.com
The weekend-long Mardis Gras festivities at this diner-style eatery consist of specials on Crawfish Pie, Alligator Ribs, Louisiana Smothered Shrimp, Gator Sausage and Mardis Gras King Cake, plus too many more to list here. A casual joint housed in a converted trailer, this neighborhood haunt is a cosy spot for breakfast, lunch or dinner in a lively atmosphere. Dishes not to miss include the biscuits and gravy (but be warned, get this to shareit is huge), the brisket, the mac n cheese and the shrimp po’boy.

Oysters at Mara’s Homemade in Syosset (Photo courtesy of Mara’s Homemade).

Mara’s Homemade
236 West Jericho Tpke., Syosset. 516-682-9200. marashomemade.com
OK, this place isn’t hosting any Mardis Gras festivities, but we would be remiss if we didn’t include them in our roundup of local Cajun eateries. Mara’s is a Cajun barbeque joint great for casual eats, with must-have dishes including the crawfish-stuffed baguette, lobster, gator bites (yes alligator!) and the andouille crusted tilapia. The owner herself often comes to check in on patrons, contributing to the hospitable atmosphere. Don’t forget to save room for their famous bluegrass pie, homemade beignets and fresh seasonal fruit pies as a delicious way to have an authentic Mardi Gras experience.

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*Nawlins Seafood Co.
301 Woodcleft Ave., Freeport. nawlinsseafood.com
So, this place won’t give the Nautical Mile a taste of The Big Easy until they open for business this spring. But, their sister restaurant, Rachel’s Waterside Grill, will host a Mardis Gras party featuring samples of the Nawlins Seafood Co.’s menu, including gumbo, jambalaya, catfish, hurricanes and more. The party features live music by The Zone.

Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez!