Long Island is filled with historical sites. Not just places of local interest, but sites of historical significance for the country, and the world.
Located on a spit of land that separates Oyster Bay from Cold Spring Harbor, Sagamore Hill was the family home of our 26th President, Theodore Roosevelt. TR bought the property just outside the town of Oyster Bay in order to build a home for himself and his first wife, Alice, but she died before the house was built. Eventually TR built a home for his second wife and his children. When TR became President, the house at Sagamore Hill became the summer White House.
The house and grounds are now under the auspices of the National Park Service, which is fitting, as TR was the father of our national parks system. The house can be seen by guided tour only, and visitors should reserve their tickets in advance, since "day of" tickets tend to sell out by early morning. Also on the grounds is the Old Orchard House, built by the President's son, Theodore Roosevelt Jr., in 1937, which now houses a museum documenting the life and career of President Roosevelt.
A group of teachers from Drew's school planned to visit the site as part of their professional development, and Drew decided to join the group. He hadn't been there in about 16 years, and I hadn't been there since a 4th grade field trip.
We started with a tour of the house. The Roosevelts were "old money", the house is not as grand or elaborate as the Gold Coast mansions built by neighboring captains of industry. Yet every inch of that house shows TR's personality. All of the public rooms have trophies from his days of big game hunting. His other passions were books and bronze statues. You can see a sharp difference between the rooms decorated by TR and those decorated by his wife Edith.
Afterwards we went to the Old Orchard House, to see the museum that documents TR's life and times. What a fascinating man! Cattle rancher, big game hunter, Rough Rider war hero, flamboyant politician. A true progressive, pro union, trust buster, anti corruption politician, he was not well liked by his party establishment. The New York party bosses so disliked him as Governor that they nominated him to be Vice President just to get him out of New York; no one would have imagined that McKinley would be assassinated, or that TR would become one of our most successful Presidents. The treaty that ended the Russian-Japanese war of 1905, the treaty that won TR the Nobel Peace Prize, was signed in TR's library at Sagamore Hill.
There is a nature trail behind the museum, a .7 mile long loop that takes you down a steep hill, through the woods, to a short boardwalk. the boardwalk goes over a creek and leads you to a rocky beach on Cold Spring Harbor.
Yes, the hill is steep, but the view of the harbor is magnificent.
You can take pictures all around the grounds, and in the Old Orchard museum, but not in inside the Roosevelt home itself.
You see the house, sitting on the hill, as you drive up the road:
Here's the view as you walk up the path from the Visitor's Center:
And when you stand in front of the house:
The landscaping is beautiful:
This tree was planted by TR's children:
The view from TR's porch:
By the flagpole:
Edith had a quiet little arbor set aside as a retreat:
The flagpole marks the spot where TR would stand to address the crowds that sometimes gathered on his front lawn. It's where he was standing when he found out he'd been nominated to run for Governor of New York.
The Roosevelt family motto. It means., "He who plants, preserves."
The Old Orchard House:
Cold Spring Harbor: