Long Island was certainly not what I expected (see the idealized wanderlust in previous post!). But it was an absolute adventure, with lots of learning (and driving) and getting lost on purpose.
Hands down, the most awe-inspiring part of the trip was our visit Sagamore Hill (it was the sole reason for our trip in the first place). It was the summer home of Theodore Roosevelt, one of the most intense and rugged personalities of American history. I seem to love him even more the more I learn about him; more so as an icon, admittedly...until my visit to Sagamore Hill. It might sound boring to some, but as someone who loves history and learning from travel, this was a weekend well spent. I have read several books over the last year in my free time about the life of Theodore Roosevelt - books that paint him in a good and bad light - and I have concluded that he fascinates me as a person and a President. I wish I could do some of the things he has done.
During our visit of the house, it was as though TR would appear at any moment; as if he was about to return from a short outing or errand in town. The interior of the home was beautifully and richly decorated with dark walls, lavish tapestries and carpets, and other relics distinctly from early 20th century America. His desk was arranged as he used it, with the actual candlestick telephone, ink wells, gas lamps, and typewriters that he used. Books were on the shelves - something over 10,000 - in every room. Hallways were narrow, ceilings were huge, and every inch of free wall space was covered with naval art, mounted taxidermy, trophies and awards, collectibles, family photos, you name it. I could go on and on about the details in the house - and yet, it was a house, not a castle or a museum. It had a comforting lived-in feel, as if a great deal of living had been done in this house.
Sagamore Hill is located in Oyster Bay, New York, on the northwestern end of Long Island. I severely underestimated how long Long Island was; we didn't come close to our goal of reaching the far east side. Another time. It was cloudy and dreary anyway, and to be honest, we spent so much time driving that I glazed over and lost interest to spend more time in the car.
Our trip to Oyster Bay turned out to be the highlight - my mom and I absolutely loved the tour and would go back in a heartbeat. We poked around the main town of Oyster Bay and stopped for amazing burgers at Taby's for lunch. We were either in a burger-and-fries coma, or exhausted from the hours in the car, but we didn't find much to do after Oyster Bay besides drive around.
We found a Whole Foods and stocked up on a bunch of snacks for the hotel. My mom and I have so much fun stumbling on these ideas - food fest in the hotel! We got delicious (and I'm using the healthy excuse, too) dinners, wine, and other snacks...before crashing in that delectably cushy white bed.