The Big Apple is filled with so many tourist destinations and scenic views. It’s now wonder why the city, and the entire state of New York is one of the places that you’ll commonly see on the bucket list of travelers worldwide. The truth is that people just can’t get enough of the state of New York. In all of its grandiose beauty, it’s fairly easy to miss out on some amazing places in New York. Unless you really do your research, chances are that you won’t see the full potential of the state. If you are one of those people who are looking for something beyond the likes of Madison Square Garden and the Statue of Liberty, then you may want to visit the Old Westbury Gardens.
Old Westbury Gardens is located at 71 Old Westbury Road in Nassau County, New York. This spacious home and garden is the former estate of John Shaffer Phipps. It was a private property until it was turned into a museum home back in 1959. It is one of best sites to visit in Nassau County and you can see it in all of its glory from April through October.
- 1 History
- 2 Old Westbury Facts
- 2.1 It’s easy to get to
- 2.2 It’s peaceful and calming
- 2.3 It has informative tours
- 2.4 It’s a popular shooting location
- 2.5 It’s for the artsy people too
- 2.6 They have more events
- 2.7 You’re welcome to tie the knot
- 2.8 Education programs are being offered too
The construction of the Old Westbury Gardens started in 1903. It was the fruit of a promise by John Shafer Phipps to his British fiancée Margarita. The promise was that he would build her a home in the U.S. which resembles Margarita’s former residence located in Battle Abbey. As such, the Old Westbury Gardens is structured similarly to historic British houses. The construction finished in 1906, and by then, it Phipps, his wife and their children finally moved in.
The estate was done with the handicraft and genius of English designer, George A. Crawley. Crawley styled the estate to a Charles II mansion and he was able to perfectly blend the housing structure amid 200 acres of gardens, landscaped grounds, ponds, lakes, and more. The interior is fully furnished with English antiques and decorative pieces of arts that were accumulated through years collecting.
It served as the home of the Phipps for many decades and now, Old Westbury Gardens welcomes visitors of all ages in guided tours of the gardens. It can accommodated school visits, children’s programs, events, and so many more. The place has been the location of many classic car shows, museum exhibitions, and even classical and pop concerts. From education to entertainment, the Old Westbury Gardens continues to guide kids and adults alike annually.
While guidance remains as the mission of the Old Westbury Gardens, its vision is a tad different. The management seeks to inspire the appreciation of the early 20th-century American country estate through the preservation of the property. It also wants to inspire people through the interpretation of the landscape, gardens, and architecture within the estate. But aside from its rich history, here are some more facts about the Old Westbury Gardens that we’re sure will convince you to add it in your travel itinerary.
Old Westbury Facts
When talking about New York, the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, and Time Square are the first places that people often think of. But these three are not the only ones that are worth talking about in The Empire State. There are also a lot more to see in New York and some are even good for short day trips just like the Old Westbury Gardens. But what makes it worth the buzz? Here are some Old Westbury Gardens facts that we’re sure will convince you to visit the place.
It’s easy to get to
Unlike other tourist attractions that are hidden, this gem is easy to get to. You can either take a train, bus or ride a cab and you’ll easily find the place. There’s no need to hike, ride a shuttle, and you don’t have to ride some weird mode of transportation or whatnot. It’ also not s hidden as other attractions. Hence, you won’t get lost that easily.
1How to Get to Old Westbury Gardens?
If you will be traveling from the west via car from the Long Island Expressway, take the LIE (I-495) to Exit 39 (Glen Cove Road). Then, follow the service road east for about 1.1 miles. Then, turn right to the Old Westbury Road and continue driving for .4 miles. On your left, you’ll spot the gardens’ gate.
But if you will be coming from the Northern State Expressway, take the Northern State to Exit 32 (Post Avenue) instead. Bear left at the end of the exit ramp and then turn left onto Post Avenue, heading north. Then, take a left turn onto Jericho Turnpike and turn right at the first light onto Old Westbury Road. Keep an eye on the right side so you won’t miss the gardens.
If you will be traveling from the East from the Long Island Expressway, however, you must take the LIE (I-495) to Exit 39. Turn left to Glen Cove Road and at the end of the exit ramp, cross over the expressway and turn left to the service road. Follow it for approximately 1.1 miles, turn right to Old Westbury Road, continue .4 miles, and you’ll be able to see the gardens on your left.
If you’ll be coming from the Northern State Parkway, take the Northern State to Exit 32 instead. Turn right at the ramp’s end onto Post Avenue heading north. Make a left turn onto Jericho Turnpike and then right at the first light onto the Old Westbury Road. You’ll see the gardens on the right side.
Traveling by bus is much easier as all buses, including trucks and deliveries, are required to enter on 60 Post Road. From there, it’s much easier to see the gardens. But don’t forget to take a look at the map too.
Getting to the gardens via train is easy too. From the Pennsylvania Station, New York, just take the Long Island Rail Road to Westbury Station. Once you get off the train, hail a cab and it will take you directly to the gardens.
It’s peaceful and calming
If you need some time off the hustle and bustle in the city, the Old Westbury Gardens is a nice place to be due to the peaceful and calming atmosphere that it offers. Humans and nature have a certain connection that whenever we see greenery and flowers, we always feel relaxed. And you will also feel that same aura when in the Old Westbury Gardens.
Once you enter the garden, you’ll be welcomed by a beautiful grand lawn that is surrounded by landscaped woodlands and rolling hills with exquisite statues. But the beautiful flowers and lush trees scattered around the estate isn’t the only thing that will make you feel relaxed and calm. Designed by George Abraham Crawley, the symmetry in the house will leave you in awe too. Just outside the house, you’ll see white columns, bright green grass, red brick walkways, and lavender that will overwhelm your senses with its pretty purple color and fragrance. Once you enter the house, you’ll see artworks and pieces of furniture strategically placed inside to form balance that will not just leave you in a daze but, again, it will also make you feel its calming effect.
It has informative tours
Old Westbury Gardens also has some tours being offered and it is very much recommended that you sign up for it as the tours are very informative. You have hectares of garden that is filled with trees and beautiful flowers and a house with impressive interiors to tour with guides that will give you some information about the house, its history, as well as the people who own it. Note that the group tours being offered here are based on fifteen persons or more. The admission rate for adults is $11 and for visitors who are 62 years old and over, they only have to pay $9.
Also, you’d have to fill up a group reservation form. For more information on that, you can check here.
It’s a popular shooting location
The Old Westbury Gardens isn’t just a place for travelers seeking to take a break from the busy streets of New York. Compared to other tourist attractions, it is also a place that’s great for shooting locations – which makes people love it all the more. In fact, several fashion magazines have already used it as a photo shoot location. It is also where the films Love Story, The Age of Innocence, Wolf, and North by Northwest were filmed. It’s no surprise, though, as every corner of the Old Westbury Gardens is indeed beautiful and picturesque. The whole place gives its visitors a sense of classic style and warmth at the same time. And the best part of it is that private photography is welcome too.
It’s for the artsy people too
Its exteriors and garden aren’t the only things that are beautiful to look at that art lovers will surely appreciate. It also has frequent art exhibits that are open for visitors. In fact, just this June, the Old Westbury Gardens recently opened an exhibit by Polish artist Jerzky Jotka Kędziora.
Here, you can get to see wonderful sculptures made by the artist. The sculptures allow the gardens’ visitors to encounter art and nature. And we’re not just talking about statues or whatnot. Rather, sculptures that defy gravity and keep their balance while being attached in only one or two places. You can explore the exhibit on Wednesdays and Sundays and it will take you one hour to see the whole exhibit. But hurry if you really want to see it as the exhibit is only available up to October 13 only.
Don’t worry if you miss this exhibit as there are surely more to come. Keep an eye out on their calendar to see what’s on.
They have more events
The Old Westbury Gardens isn’t just about its gorgeous house, beautifully landscaped garden, and art exhibits. It also has more events than you can imagine, especially during spring and summer. During these seasons, the gardens often hold concerts outdoors, bird walks, afternoon tea, car shows, and even painting activities. And the best part of it is that it is for everyone – meaning people of all ages can enjoy it. However, as of writing, Jerzky Jotka Kędziora’s exhibit is the only things that’s recently on their calendar. But stay tuned for more upcoming events. Who knows, your favorite music artists might perform here soon.
You’re welcome to tie the knot
Because the Old Westbury Gardens boasts beautiful and breathtaking aesthetics, it is also a good venue for special occasions like weddings. It has the perfect spots that can serve as a nice background as you and your beau say your vows. You and your entourage will have nice tree-lined walks and the grand architecture is just so nice adding more elegance in your wedding ceremony. It is also a popular destination for weddings and engagement photo shoots. But before you say “I do,” you’d have to fill out some forms. You can check them all out here.
Education programs are being offered too
The Old Westbury Gardens isn’t just about all fun and games but they serve as an extension of a teacher’s classroom too. The gardens offers a wide variety of programs that are designed for both K-12 students and educators to create counterparts to traditional school lessons in Art, Natural Science, English, History, as well as Social Science.
They have different programs and tours for each grade. For instance, early learners like kids from grade 1 are offered programs like Follow Your Nose and Ears where children can get to explore their five senses through nature with the hands-on garden tours and other activities.
Kids from grades five to eight, on the other hand, can learn more about plants, cycles in nature, history, and more. Meanwhile, students on the secondary level are offered entrepreneurship programs, more in-depth history classes, and opportunities to delve deeper into the digitalization of US magazines and newspapers and more. You can take a look at their website to download their brochures and see what other educational programs they offer.
However, note that trips should be booked in advance. Also, it’s only available on Weekdays except for Tuesdays with 9 AM, 10:30 AM and 12 PM start times.
The Old Westbury Gardens is not just a place to add to your travel itinerary for a short day trip but it is also a nice place to learn. So why not consider this place