Poets, Presidents and Artists

Day 1. Walt Whitman Birthplace – A friend of his once claimed “You cannot really understand America without Walt Whitman,” and it is clear why with a collection of works that so deeply reflect American culture. Visit the birthplace of America’s most famous poet, born in a small farmhouse in the rural Long Island community of West Hills in 1819. Delve into the memorabilia and writings at the interpretive center and understand how Whitman’s writings captured the spirit of the nation and examined some of the period’s most significant events, including westward expansion, immigration, slavery, and the Civil War. Hike or ride on horseback in the nearby West Hills County Park, among the “Leaves of Grass” where Whitman drew his inspiration.”

Day 2. George Washington’s Spy Trail – Did you know Long Island was a center for spy activity during the Revolutionary War? General George Washington credited several Long Island Patriots for ‘behind the scenes’ help they gave. His well-documented journey to personally thank members of his spy ring can be followed along Route 25A, also known as the ‘Long Island Heritage Trail.’ Among the sites to visit are: Raynham Hall, where the Townsends became part of the Washington Spy Ring; The Arsenal in Huntington, where Job Sammis hid stores of gun powder in his attic during the British occupation; the Conklin House, where Sybil Conklin lived and worked while her husband, David, was held prisoner by the British during the Revolutionary War; and the Brewster House in Stony Brook, where American Patriot Caleb Brewster collected information on British soldiers during the Revolutionary War.

Day 3. President Theodore Roosevelt – Visit historic Sagamore Hill, where you’ll learn the unique properties of President Theodore Roosevelt’s ‘Summer Whitehouse’. Tour the museum at Orchard Hill, filled with important memorabilia from the era and presidency, and visit the nearby Youngs Memorial Cemetery where President Roosevelt is interred. Stop for lunch and shopping in the quaint village of Oyster Bay and finish off with a light hike through the Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary, taking in the local beauty that fostered Roosevelt’s love of nature and conservation.

Day 4. O’Keefe, Grosz and Mount – Explore the Heckscher Museum of Art where you’ll find coveted paintings of Georgia O’Keefe and George Grosz, as well as temporary exhibits featuring world-renowned works of art. Lunch can be found in Huntington Village, with enough variety to cater to every palate. Then venture to the Long Island Museum of Art, History and Carriages where you’ll see a spectacular collection of American art by William Sidney Mount, as well as the largest collection of historic carriages in the country.

Day 5. Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner – Maybe it’s the unique glimmering light here, the bucolic east end scenery, or the proximity to the vibrant New York City art scene, but Long Island has always been a natural magnet for creative people. With a trip out east you can visit the former home of Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner, two of the country’s foremost abstract expressionist painters at the Pollock-Krasner House in Springs, East Hampton. This working studio, now a National Historic Landmark, also contains research material on 20th century American art. Nearby is the Parrish Art Museum, housed in an award winning Herzog & de Meuron-designed building, and the Longhouse Reserve with its outdoor sculpture park.

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