Seeing How the Other Half Lives, Up Close and Personal

Impressive iron gates in front of a large propertyAnd while we’re on the subject of Downton Abbey…

First-time visitors to the area often wonder if, like Newport, Rhode Island, some of the “summer cottages” here in the Hamptons are available for tours.

Sadly, that isn’t something you can do here unless there happens to be a special fundraiser house tour like the one offered by the Southampton Historical Museum (scheduled this year for May 30, 2020), or the Designer Show House, benefiting Stony Brook/Southampton Hospital, which is open in July and August.

However, if the length of your visit permits, it IS possible to visit some really spectacular mansions without leaving Long Island.

Many years before we opened A Butler’s Manor, I worked for the Southampton Chamber of Commerce and fielded dozens of phone calls each day from people seeking tourist information. One of the questions I got about once a week was “Are the Hamptons the setting for The Great Gatsby?”

At the time of Fitzgerald’s iconic book, transportation options were far more limited and slower than today (although, Manhattan guests who regularly visit during the summer and arrive on Friday nights might argue with me). Rather, the Long Island setting fictionalized as “West Egg and East Egg” are located on the North Shore in Nassau County, and although many of the original houses of the Gilded Age have been demolished or repurposed, there still exist several which are open to the public and are well worth the additional trip to visit. Here’s a great article on who, what and where you can go to get your fix on how the other half lived!

And PS: If you weren’t able to join us for last month’s Downton Abbey Weekend, watch this space: we are coordinating with the Southampton Historical Museum to offer Chris’s presentation at Rogers Mansion sometime in May. It will be open to locals and guests alike…details to follow!

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