Friday, August 10, 2012

Late Summer on Long Island

The southern view of the estate at Old Westbury Gardens.

With the fall semester fast approaching, it is easy to get caught up in whatever stress may accompany the season, but there is still much fun to be had in the waning weeks of break; and as we slip into the happy solitude of late summer, it's important to take note of what's around us.

A common misconception about Long Island is that people here are constantly in a rush and don't have the time to take a break--and though it's true our proximity to New York City makes us somewhat pacier than most, there are plenty of spots to take a quiet moment aside from all the bustle. So, for those of you who are planning to spend some quality time in our backyard, allow me to list some of my favorite things to do (and favorite places to visit, weather permitting) this time of year while on the Island:
  1. Spending Time in Eisenhower Park: Not far from Hofstra campus is an excellent public park complete with batting cages, mini-golf, four full golf courses and countless other attractions for visitors. Spend some quality time in the batting cages, go for a stroll or just lean up against a tree and crack open a book.
  2. Visiting Arboreta and Gold Coast Mansions: While visiting Hofstra, you've probably heard the word "arboretum" bandied about more than once. Well, if you ever want to take a drive towards the north shore and see another such park, the Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay awaits. The state park makes use of 409 acres of estate property left by the late William Robertson Coe for the purpose of housing hundreds upon thousands of species of rare trees, plants and shrubs. A perfect place to spend an afternoon, no matter what time of year.  There are also brilliant mansions that dot the region's famed "Gold Coast," such as Old Westbury Gardens (pictured above).
  3. Going to the Beach: There are over 400 miles of shoreline on Long Island from the sandy beaches of the south shore to the rocky north shore, meaning there's always space to catch some rays (especially after the initial summer rushes reach their peak in mid-July).
  4. Seeing Breweries and Vineyards: People don't realize it, but the East End of Long Island is home to some of the most active viticulture on the east coast; and for those of you who'd rather share a pint than attend a tasting, Nassau and Suffolk counties are home to over a dozen craft breweries including the world-renowned Blue Point Brewery in Patchogue (less than an hour's drive from campus heading east).
  5. Concert Series: Earlier, I made mention of the multitude of beaches Long Island has to offer. Well, on one of LI's most famous beaches (Jones Beach) lies an amphitheater, which plays host to a summer concert series every year. Great bands from the Allman Brothers to System of a Down come to visit and put on a great show every year. So, after you've enjoyed the waves, perhaps you can check out who's playing and catch a show in the evening.
So, there are a few things that make Long Island a great place to visit come August. I hope you take some time to explore while you're here, and that you're able to see what makes it such a wonderful place.


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