Sands Point Preserve

Summer opener

The birthday honoree in this house gets to choose whatever it is s/he wants to do on his/her birthday. I always choose something to do with nature – maybe a ride upstate to visit one of the mansions so we can later stroll the grounds and picnic under some shady tree or on the banks of the Hudson.

Since my birthday is today, the end of May, it’s always connected to Memorial Day weekend – and that means an extra day to play. ūüôā

This weekend was fabulous. Daughter worked a fund raising event for the shelter all day on Saturday while Hubby worked. That meant I was free to write without interruption for several hours. I am now up to Chapter 11. Or just about. I’ve slipped with my Book-in-a-week focus (obviously, since it’s been more like a month plus) but I’m still writing faster and tighter than ever before.

Sunday, we went to Old Bethpage Village Restoration. We go there often and never tire of it. It’s a living history village on Long Island. They’ve taken¬†houses from around Long Island that date back to the 17 and 1800’s and relocated them on this property. It’s set up to look like a working farming village of the period. Like Williamsburg, Virginia, only not as well funded. It’s such a sweet and peaceful place that reminds us of all we have now as compared to the people of that time.

This is the only home in the Village that is original to the property. It was built in the 1700’s with rooms added on through the 1800’s. It was home to Quakers who worked the farm. The immediate area is still a working farm with some of the animals actual descents from the originals.

OBVR - Powell Farm OBVR - Powell Farm2

Some of the homes are classic stuctures that clearly stand the test of time. Isn’t this one beautiful?OBVR - Kirby

Also on the grounds… a cemetery from the 17 and 1800’s…

OBVR - Cemetery

After dinner in a colonial era restaurant, we stopped near home, at Fort Totten, to watch the sunset. So pretty and peaceful, isn’t it?

Sunset

Yesterday, we went to Sands Point Preserve, a stunning reminder of Long Island’s Gold Coast history. There’s a castle on the property called the Castle Gould. In the 1920’s, the filthy rich Gould family had this home built in the style of Castle Kilkenny¬†in Ireland.

It’s a stunning building and the property – including the drive in from the main road – is breathtakingly beautiful. However, after waiting two years for this castle to be built…

Caslte Gould (Castle Gould on Long Island)

…the Gould family took one look and turned up their noses. They hated it and never spent a day or night inside of it. And there it sits all these years later, a gift to Nassau County. Lucky for us, I suppose, but hard to grasp the concept of just how much money these people had that they could simply walk away.

There are two other homes on the property which now belongs to the town. Hempstead House and Falaise. In all the years we’ve been visiting Sand’s Point Preserve, we’ve never gone on a day when Falaise has been available to tour. We’ve made it our mission to get there at some point THIS summer and finally see the place.

Hempstead house is lovely and, in my opinion, in a much nicer location than Castle Gould.  Hempstead House Рside view, facing the Castle Gould (acres away)Hempstead House - Side

Hempstead House - rearview Rear view of Hempstead House

Harry Guggenheim had this house built and used the Castle Gould Рwhich had been left to rot Рas a carriage house.

He used the Castle as a carriage house. Imagine?

The view from the back of the house and yard is of the Long Island Sound and it is just magnificent, in my opinion. Since funds are low, Hempstead house is not as well-maintained as it could be, nor is it open for tours, but the bottom floor is often used for social or fund raising events.

Yesterday, we used the grounds to (try to) fly our Nemo kite.

Hempstead House - Kite

The kite, apparently, was afraid of heights, but check out the view of the Sound. ::sigh::

What a glorious day it was. What a beautiful weekend. A perfect way to remember our heroes, to start the summer and to celebrate yet another birthday.

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