HISTORICAL CORNER

The best local historical places to visit this summer

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Each week, reporter and history-lover Mariana Dominguez visits a historical location on the South Shore or attends a local lecture on historical topics. This week she decided to round up the best family-friendly places to visit this summer if you’re looking to explore history.

School is officially out and the kids are home. For those looking for fun things to do, I decided to round up the best historical places that I have visited that are perfect for a family day out.

Fire Island Lighthouse

Visiting the Fire Island Lighthouse is a great experience because there is truly something for everyone, from the history buffs to the little ones. When taking the trip, head to Robert Moses Parking Field 5 and drive down to the end of the parking lot. From there, it’s about a 20-minute walk on the boardwalk to get to the lighthouse. I recommend wearing sneakers and packing water, as my first time visiting I underestimated the length of the walk. The lighthouse is also a great day trip because after exploring the grounds, you can head to the beach to cool off and relax. At the lighthouse itself, there is a great and informative museum and gift shop, and if you’re feeling daring you can trek up the 182 steps to the top for some great panoramic views. It’s important to note that according to the Fire Island Lighthouse website, the National Park Service requires masks in all buildings due to Suffolk County’s elevated COVID numbers. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the tower open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

William Floyd Estate

Keeping on the beachier theme, the William Floyd Estate is another great place for a day trip. Under the direction of the Fire Island National Seashore, the 613-acre estate makes for a great stroll for nature lovers and a great slice of the past for history lovers. Unfortunately, the Old Mastic House is currently closed for preservation work, but visitors can still view the house from the outside and wander around the grounds. William Floyd was the only signer of The Declaration of Independence from Suffolk County, and during the Revolutionary War, British forces actually occupied the house when the Floyd family was forced to flee to a safer location. In 1976, Floyd’s great-great-granddaughter donated the home to the National Park Service so that it could be preserved. The William Floyd Estate is a great place to visit because of its proximity to Smith Point County Park on Fire Island. After exploring the historic grounds, it’s just a short drive to a day at the beach. The William Floyd Estate is open daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sagtikos Manor

Sagtikos Manor in West Bay Shore is another great place to visit. This beautiful property owned by Suffolk County is one of the best historical places I have been to on Long Island. The 10-acre property features the manor itself, a beautiful walled garden, buttery, carriage house, and Thompson Gardiner family cemetery. The historical site is also right across the street from Gardiner County Park, which is one of the best parks in the area. One of the paths in the park leads directly to the Great South Bay, with a gorgeous view of the Fire Island Lighthouse.

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