Take a Guided Tour of This Hidden North Shore Gem

The great iron gates of Sands Point Preserve Conservancy are wide open, inviting Long Islanders to explore the 216-acre grounds, bask in the sunshine and take a guided tour of one of the historic site’s lesser known homes. Falaise, Harry Guggenheim’s French-Normandy style chateau is magical.

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The home’s long history includes at least one wedding, a rose garden turned into a swimming pool and a role in the Godfather. It is one of the few intact homes from the 1920s and remains filled with antiques, modern art, sculptures and Renaissance paintings. Guided tours of the home, which begin May 19 and run through November 20, offer the chance for visitors to experience the glamorous Gatsby glow of the home.

Afterwards, there is plenty more to explore. The Friends of Sands Point Preserve became the Sands Point Preserve Conservancy earlier this year. The name change signals a new direction for the public park, which is expanding its arts, education and service programs.

Hempstead House

Hempstead House. Image: Sands Point Preserve

“We are in a period of tremendous growth, building partnerships with community- based and national organizations to increase the programs and services that we can offer the public,” newly hired managing director Beth Horn said in a statement.

Look forward to seasonal festivities such as the Summer Solstice on June 19, Village Day Fall Festival on September 25 and Holiday Tales from the Hearth, which will feature religious and cultural traditions from across the globe, on December 11. Throughout the year new fitness offerings will include Pilates, yoga and meditation classes, music programs include a new chamber music series by Solomon Hoffman and cultural programs including dance experiences by legendary choreographer Isadora Duncan.

“Our plan now is to increase awareness about this beautiful historic site, so the larger community recognizes that the magnificent Gatsby-era mansions, the grounds and all of our programs for families and adults are here for them,” conservancy chairman Karli Hagedorn said in a statement.

Hike the grounds, tour Hempstead House and Falaise, stop and watch the turtles sunning themselves on the pond and imagine you’re living the Gatsby life.