5 Hidden Treasures of… Long Island

LIGHTHOUSE (Image Credit: Jeff Pearce)
LIGHTHOUSE (Image Credit: Jeff Pearce)

Long island – known as the little fish-looking thing coming out of New York. The island is comprised of four different counties: Brooklyn, Queens, but mostly Nassau and Suffolk. Although it gets overshadowed by the big city there are many hidden gems of Long Island that you should definitely go and see. Long Island is known for its amazing pizza, bagels, diners, terrible car accidents and the medium herself, Theresa Caputo, yes; but it has a lot more to offer than all of that.

Born and raised on Long Island in Nassau County, I have had the pleasure of coming across the most amazing things from my local stomping grounds. Of course I can’t include everything Long Island has to offer, so I chose 5 of the most fantastic things to see.

Sands Point Preserve

If you have read (or seen one of the many movie adaptations) The Great Gatsby, you might think that the West Egg and East Egg are fictional places on Long Island, but that’s not entirely true. West Egg is based on Kings Point, also known as Great Neck and East Egg is based on Sands Point, Port Washington. (There is even a real Gatsby house that you can see from the street: Gatsby Lane, Great Neck, NY 11024).

Sands Point Preserve (Image Credit: Sands Point Preserve )
Sands Point Preserve (Image Credit: Sands Point Preserve )

Sands Point is home to the Sands Point Preserve and its beautiful Castle Gould. The Preserve is a 216-acre piece of land featuring the North Shore’s earliest 20th century estates. You can hold events, including weddings, on the grounds.

Also, if you drive just past the Preserve on Middle Neck Road you can find one of the most amazing views of the city skyline along with a view of Connecticut and New Jersey.

Sands Point, 127 Middleneck Rd
(516) 571-7901
Admission: Sands Point charges $10 per car and $2 per “walk-in”
Open daily Monday-Sunday

Shu Swamp Nature Preserve

If you’re the type of person who’s into hiking or nature, Shu Swamp Nature Preserve is definitely the place for you. Once you walk onto the nature trails you forget you’re so close to the city. The preserve has Beaver Brook flowing through it and is home to brown trout, sticklebacks, and the rare American brook lamprey. You can also find tulip trees, red maples, and amazing flowers like trout lily, marsh marigold, spring beauty and so much more.

Shu Swamp Nature Preserve
Mill Neck, NY 11765
Open to the public every day but Fridays

Diner by the Sea (Image Credit: Stephanie Gross)
Diner by the Sea (Image Credit: Stephanie Gross)

Diners! (By The Sea)

Now if you know Long Island at all, you should know that we are infamous for our diners. But if you head down to the south shore to Long Beach, be sure to stop by Diner By The Sea and get one of the crazy decorated milkshakes (I suggest the Fluffernutter or Nutella). Afterwards you can take a walk on the infamous Long Beach boardwalk, which is newly fixed since Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012.

Diner By The Sea
260 E Park Ave, Long Beach, NY 11561
(516) 431-2233
Hours: Daily, 7am-10pm

Wine Country

Don’t worry; they have potato vodka too! What better way to spend your summer than being classy with friends and going winery-hopping instead of bar-hopping.

Check out http://www.liwines.com/ for details on wineries in the Long Island area.

Coffee Shops

I couldn’t narrow this one down so I decided to tell you about three of the coolest coffee shops.

Roast Coffee and Tea Trading Company (Image Credit: Roast Coffee and Tea Trading Company)
Roast Coffee and Tea Trading Company (Image Credit: Roast Coffee and Tea Trading Company)

The Witches Brew is huge for vegan and gluten free options. The lines get pretty long and they only take cash but it is completely worth it.

The Witches Brew
311 Hempstead Turnpike, West Hempstead, NY 11552
(516) 489-9482
Open every day except Mondays

The Cup, located in Wantagh, has live music on weekends and open mic nights.

The Cup Coffeehouse
3268 Railroad Ave, Wantagh, NY 11793
(516) 826-9533
Open from 6 pm – 12 am Sun-Thurs and 6 pm-2am Fri & Sat

And last but not least, Roast Coffee & Tea Trading Company, a micro-roaster coffee and tea shop, is absolutely delicious. They also have open mic and poetry nights regularly, as well as tutoring sessions and coffee tastings.

Roast Coffee & Tea Trading Company
41 E Main St., Patchogue, NY 11772
(631) 312-5027
Hours: Mon-Thurs 7 am-11 pm
Fri – Sat 7 am – 1 am
Sun 8 am – 10 pm


Cover image courtesy of Jeff Pearce
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Tara is a New Yorker who collects books and boyfriends. She enjoys making people laugh, but usually fails at doing so. @tarafayy

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