Though Theodore Roosevelt was born near Gramercy Park in Manhattan (the only president to be born in New York City), he lived out on Long Island from 1885 until his death in 1919.
The Sagamore Hill country estate was Roosevelt's summer White House while he was in office. Prior to being elected president, Roosevelt served as Police Commissioner of New York City and Governor of New York state. After his death, the family continued living at Sagamore Hill -- a working farm -- until 1948.
The estate is in Oyster Bay, an affluent town on the North Shore of Long Island. If you're using a GPS to get here, enter 12 Sagamore Hill Road, Oyster Bay, NY, 11771
Things to Do
Your first priority should be to visit the Home itself. If you go in summer, note that the place is not air-conditioned. If it is unusually hot, they close off the third floor altogether.
The Queen Anne-style building offers mostly gloomy interiors and late 19th-century furniture. Roosevelt was famous for shooting scores of wild animals on his exhausting hunting safaris in Africa after his presidency. Expect to see several examples of taxidermy -- dozens of dead animals are scattered around the house, most of them being heads-only trophies hanging from the walls. There are a few fully-stuffed animals as well.
In addition to visiting the Home, you may wish to try the half-mile wooded loop trail that runs from the Old Orchard Museum to the Eel Creek salt marsh and the beach at Cold Spring Harbor. You can also check out the Old Orchard Museum here, visit the beach, or take ranger-led walks, including bird walks.
Children may wish to join the Junior Ranger program, which can be done here at Sagamore Hill.
Tours, Fees and Hours
Tours are operated Wednesdays through Sundays, every hour from 10am to 4pm. (Winter hours are observed until Memorial Day.) The Visitor Center is open the same days from 9am to 5pm. The 80-acre grounds are open daily from dawn to dusk. During the school year, if schools are closed for snow days, then so is Sagamore Hill, so be forewarned.
The admission fee to the Home is $5 for adults (kids 15 and younger free) and is by guided tour only. Each tour is limited to 14 people, first-come, first-served; no reservations. All other areas of the estate are open free of charge.
New in 2011
Work is continuing this year to rehabilitate the park's cultural landscape, including the farm field adjacent to the main parking lot and the west lawn near the home
There were 55,149 visitors to the site in 2010.
Roosevelt's gravesite is at Young's Memorial Cemetery (www.trgravesite.org) in Oyster Bay, just down the road from his home. Also worth seeing in the town is the Oyster Bay Historical Society, the Oyster Bay Railroad Museum, and not far away, the Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park.
The Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary & Audubon Center (http://ny.audubon.org), also in Oyster Bay, was established in 1923 as the first Audubon Songbird Sanctuary in the nation.
Sagamore Hill National Historic Site (tel. 516/922-4788; www.nps.gov/sahi).
Talk with fellow Frommer's travelers on our Outdoor & Adventure Travel Forum.