Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bialystok and Bloom, Rockville Centre, LI, NY

Enjoying a decaf coffee and a chocolate chip biscotti at another great eatery, Bialystok and Bloom in Rockville Centre, NY where you can get the best tasting tuna and roast beef sandwiches around.  Susan and Rob have been enjoying their fine salads, sandwiches and desserts for years.

Started in 1987 by four partners, the current owner, Rahul, bought the place from the surviving two owners, who, by the way, weren't in the food business.  Back then, it was located not too far from its current address, on Park Avenue, still in Rockville  Centre.
They told Rahul that he would never survive, but two things have kept him going.  His father and his positive attitude.  He knew the place would work out and it has.

Looking for a bigger place, Rahul moved to 19 Clinton Avenue two years ago, up the block and around the corner from his old store on Park Avenue.  It's bigger but it's still the same great stuff.

All the salads are fresh and homemade.  The bread and bagels are all bought from a local bakery, but the sandwiches, salads and desserts Rahul comes up with are the best around and creative as well.

Rahul caters to the entire tri-state area and it's all word of mouth.  Many of his customers have never been inside his cafe which basically serves only ten people.

But Rahul loves what he does and he is dedicated to his craft and it's evident in what he creates and the love he put into creating the best sandwiches and salads out there.  Susan and Rob took home overstuffed tuna and roast beef sandwiches plus a half pound of his great tuna.

Bialystok and Bloom has their own website and they are also on Facebook and Twitter, plus its own blog which is updated everyday. I will include  links to their sites as usual.

So again, when you're in the area, stop off at Bialystok and Bloom or as it's known locally, just Bialystok.

As usual here are the links:

Bialystok and Bloom official site which includes their blog, menu and catering menu:

Monday, February 21, 2011

Sagamore Hill, Oyster Bay, LI, New York

Since it's President's Day, I've decided to share our visit to Theodore Roosevelt's home, Sagamore Hill in Oyster Bay, NY.  Susan and Rob have toured the home many times and decided to just make a trip up here to tour the grounds.  However, I will share with you some of the history of the Mr. Roosevelt's "summer White House" and some pictures from inside the house.

In the 1870's, Theodore Roosevelt and his family spent summer vacations in Oyster Bay.  He grew to love the area so much that when he finished college, he decided that the best place to settle with his wife and raise a family would be Long Island. Roosevelt purchased farmland in Cove Neck on a peninsula just east of Oyster Bay.  After hiring architects Lamb and Rich to build a sturdy modern house in the Queen Anne style, construction began in 1884.
In February, 1884,  Roosevelt's wife Alice died two days after giving birth to his daughter that he named for her. The house might never have been completed had not family members convinced Theodore to continue so that he would have a proper home to raise his infant daughter.

In 1886, Theodore was reacquainted with a childhood friend of his sister's, Edith Kermit Carow.  They married soon after and moved into Sagamore Hill in 1887. It was here that they raised their six children for a span that covered 30 years.

After Roosevelt's death in 1919,  eldest son Ted hoped to raise his family at Sagamore Hill, however, his mother, Edith, wanted to continue living there.  Ted was given a few acres nearby where he built Old Orchard, a nearby brick mansion.  Today it is a museum for Mr. Roosevelt and his family. The upstairs rooms are used as the park's administrative offices.  It is located in what once was Sagamore Hill's apple orchard and is close enough to walk there.  Trails around the house lead to the beach and around the woods and gardens.

Old Orchard Museum
 Edith died in September of 1948 at age eighty seven.  It wasn't until 1962 that Congress established Sagamore Hill as a National Historic site to preserve the house with the National Park Service.  In 1966, Sagamore Hill was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.   

Here are some links:

I found a tour of the house on youtube.  It's a bit broken up but I've found all the parts to it.

this is part 1

part 2

and part 3

This is the official site for Sagamore Hill.  The site has some  historic old videos of the house and the family and there is a gallery of pictures from both houses.  Very interesting site and a must to visit.

and for Old Orchard Museum.  I borrowed the picture of the house from this site.

Theodore Roosevelt Association site:

self guided tour of Sagamore Hill. Explains some of the rooms and what's in them

Wikipedia article

Sunday, February 20, 2011

South Side Sportsmen's Club, Connetquot River State Park Preserve, Oakdale, LI, NY

Today we visited Connetquot River State Park Preserve, once the home of the South Side Sportsmen's Club, which was incorporated on the 6th of April, 1866.  The club was originally started by a group of wealthy sportsmen who frequented the popular Snedecor's Tavern, which they eventually purchased and expanded. 

We took a house tour today at 1 and it certainly was a beautiful day for one, although cold and a bit windy.  Our tour guide was Ellie, who showed us the entire place from top to bottom and then some.

One of the smaller bedrooms on the second floor
Entering through the Main House into the gift shop (originally Snedecor's Tavern in 1820 before it was reframed and extended by the Club in 1868) the tour began in the Ladies  Sitting Room, which now houses the offices of the Connetquot River State Park Preserve Environmental Education.  Moving upstairs we caught a glimpse of the bedrooms which were expanded to house over 100 club members. A separate house, referred to as "the New Annex", was built in 1899 by eight members of the club who pooled their resources. It is currently the residence of the Park Manager.

Here I am in front of the New Annex

Moving back down to ground level, we entered the Ladies Dining Room.  None of the pieces are original, but Ellie explained that when the Club sold the property to New York State in 1973, everything was auctioned off, right down to the names on the lockers in the Rod and Gun Room, where the equipment was kept. This included the silverware that was used in the Ladies Dining Room, which is currently on display by a generous donation.  You can tell by the initials SSSC etched into the spoons, knives and forks on the table.
Ladies Dining Room

Moving from the small but lovely Trophy Room to the Men's Dining Room, Ellie pointed out a most unusual device that we have never seen before.  Attached to the radiator was a warming tray, a precursor to the more modern microwave oven.  Men placed their cold food inside to warm it up. 
Ellie showing off the Rod and Gun Room's beautiful wooden lockers
We moved into the large kitchen area which fed the entire club. After moving through the Rod and Gun Room, we entered another room toward the back, originally used to clean freshly caught game.  Currently in use as the BOCES-SCOPE Outdoor Learning Laboratory, it has been most recently used by the Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts as well as school groups.  Look above and you will notice a skylight, which opens for ventilation, a rare sight seen in the late 1800's.  

Kitchen area
The last room we entered was the Billiard Room, the last room which was original to Snedecor's Tavern, and, according to the pamphlet we received, was moved 25 feet to the southwest and a three story section of the building was added between the Billiard Room and Snedecor's.

With a little help from the "Friends of Connetquot", the Billard Room is in the process of being refurbished to the way it looked originally.  Rocking chairs dot the wood floor while over in the corner is a small bar which featured a BYOB (there are little cabinets to furnish whatever bottle you brought yourself).  The room is filled with duck decoys (for which the club was famous).  A Ben Franklin stove from the Astor House in NYC sits against the wall in the center.  Originally, the Sportmen's Club could only be reached by carriage.  Later on, it could be reached by railroad where they had their own clubhouse.  An indoor weather vane still operates from 1820.

Many famous celebrities were guests here. Among them were Theodore Roosevelt, U.S. Grant, William "Tecumseh" Sherman and Mary Pickford to name a few.

Once outside, there are trails that lead almost anywhere.  There is a grist mill that is being refurbished.  It was started by the Nicoll family, a very prominent Long Island family that have many roads named after them.  Called the Oakdale Grist Mill, it was built in 1750 by William Nicoll the first and used by local farmers to grind  wheat and corn.  The mill was in use up until 1878, but the Club loved to look at it and was kept standing.  Damaged by a storm in the 20's the mill is currently being refurbished.

Nicoll's Mill
Many trails lead you around the Club and you can where you can see the Main Garage, the Carpenter's House, the Ice House and the Hatchery Building, which is a mile upward from the Club.  Built in 1890 and still in use today, it provides many local parks with brook, brown and rainbow trout.  We plan to visit it at another time, but it is one of the things that can be enjoyed at this preserve.

The Connetquot Park Preserve has its own unique history beginning with the Secatogue Native American tribe, who named the area Connetquot meaning "Great River".  The path leading up to the Club was originally an old Indian road which later became a stagecoach road and was once a split off of old Montauk Highway, Route 27A.

It was settled originally by the Nicoll family in 1684 and 1697.  In 1820, the family leased a portion of their land to Eliphalet Snedecor who built his Tavern.  It became the South Side Sportmen's Club in 1866 and they expanded their holdings, eventually totaling to 3,473 acres.

The Club sold the land to the New York State in 1963 for $6.2 million, but leased back the property for another ten years.  In August, 1973, the Club was opened to the public to be used as a recreational facility.  In 1978, it was was declared a State Park Preserve by the New York Legislature.

So please, if you are in the area, visit this beautiful state park and preserve.  There are many walking and hiking trails to enjoy.  The house and gift shop are open to the public.  You can walk where Native Americans, early settlers and wealthy sportsmen once walked, hunted and fished.  Become a part of history and visit the Connetquot River State Park Preserve in Oakdale, NY.  It's worth a trip. 

As usual, I am including some links:

Official site:

Wikipedia article

Friends of Connetquot official site

Article in Newsday mentioning the Connetquot River State Park Preserve and Bayard Cutting Arboretum from May 1, 2001:

The many trails inside the Connetquot River State Park Preserve:

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Leisurama Homes, Montauk, Long Island, NY

I'm sitting in front of what is known as a "Leisurama" home, one of several vacation homes built between 1963 to 1965 in Montauk, NY.

The developer's name and president of All State Properties, Herbert Sadkin, successfully featured a model of this home at the 1959 American Exhibition in Moscow.  Following his return to the United States, Sadkin began development of the Lauderhill community in Florida.  It was two years later that he started Leisurama, vacation homes that sold from $12,995 and $17,995.  Walk in models  were exhibited on the 9th floor of Macy's in Herald Square. There were two models available, one called a "convertible studio" containing a Murphy bed or an "expanded convertible" with two bedrooms and a Murphy bed.  All the homes had pictures windows and carports.  Each house was to be built on concrete slabs of 730 square inches or 1,200 square feet on a 75 x 100' plot.

The house was furnished with everything you could ask for.  Lamps, rugs, curtains, linens, dishes, utensils and even toothbrushes were provided.  General Electric supplied the appliances.  

The Leisurama homes were considered revolutionary and the project has been called "the first large-scale branded housing project in America."

Advertisement for a Leisurama home in Lauderhill, Florida

Andrew Geller, working for the architectural firm, Raymond Lowey and Associates, was contracted to design these one of a kind homes which were designed as an affordable second home used for summer vacations  out on Montauk, Long Island in a development named Culloden after the British warship, HMS Culloden, which ran aground during the Revolutionary War.

   Some of the homes were modeled at the 1964 World's Fair.   

There were 250 houses built out in Montauk by 1964.

Rob scoured the neighborhood looking for anything that was like the original, but could only find the blue one above, that seemed to match the original plans for the house.  Like anything else, the homes were modified and expanded.  We even passed some that had a second floor added to it.  

As usual, I have many links to sites.

An interesting article called "Leisurama Living"

Another interesting article where some of my information came from:

This is a pamphlet advertising the Leisurama home, one that I found very interesting.  It includes all the amenities that come with the house, complete with specifications and recreational facilities that you can enjoy while on vacation.   The link to the documentary at the bottom of the page doesn't work, but check out the one in the Wikipedia article.  That one doesn't work either, but there are some pics for advertising that are interesting to check out.

Wikipedia articleCheck out the external links, especially for the documentary, just to catch some of the interesting pics of the inside of the homes.

article in Dan's Papers of the Hamptons on Leisurama where I borrowed some information:

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Mt Willard and Madison Boulder, Crawford Notch and Madison, NH

Here I am atop the summit of Mt. Willard and well worth the hike. It's a fairly easy hike upwards, not too steep and well traveled, especially on holidays and weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  In fact, this was a Labor Day weekend that we made the climb.  It wasn't the first time that Susan and Rob made the climb, but it was my first.  

The trail is next to the visitor center/railroad depot  and you will have to cross the tracks (which are still in use by the Conway Scenic Railroad in summer) where the trail splits.  There are signs pointing to the Avalon Trail, but follow the signs.  You will cross a brook before the trail takes a moderate path upward.  It soon joins with an old carriage road and will split off from there to the Hitchcock Flume, which takes a steep climb downhill.  It's a mile from there to the summit which is described as the best view anywhere.  It's about a 1.5 miles up to the top one way.  Believe me, it's worth every minute of it.  
A nearby hotel, Crawford House, would run carriages up to the summit of Mt. Willard.  The hotel is no longer there, but a hostel has been built on the site of the Crawford House where hikers can stay overnight.  I will include a link to the history of the Crawford House for all those who are interested.  
A sign at the summit of Mt. Willard

Here I am at the entrance to Madison Boulder, the largest known glacial erratic in New England and is among the largest in the world.  The huge granite boulder is 83 feet in length and 23 feet in height above ground and 37 feet in width and weighs 5,000 tons.  It is believed that this particular boulder was brought by an ice sheet from Mt Willard because it closely resembles the rocks from that area.

This natural area was acquired by the State of New Hampshire in 1946 and was designated a National Landmark in 1970.
Madison Boulder
 update 3/19/11

Rob, Susan and I stopped by the Stony Brook Carriage House Museum this afternoon to see a special exhibit on past World Fairs in the United States at the Art Museum, located in the back of the complex.   Rob and Susan had heard that the Carriage House Museum, which is the first building, had been updated since the last time the two saw it.  While walking around the museum's lower level, Susan discovered a Crawford House coach that traveled to the top of Mt. Willard via the carriage road.  I've decided to include it.


Coach preparing to take Crawford House guests to the top of Mt. Willard 
Here are the usual links:

This is a link to the Long Island Carriage House Museum where we saw the Crawford House coach:

 This is a great site.  Hike New England.  Gives you lots of pics from the top of Mt. Willard, the start of the trial, the carriage road, etc.  Enjoy!

Description of the Mount Willard Trail, including pictures of the carriage road. 

History and pictures of the Crawford House.  This is a very interesting site. I borrowed the crowded Crawford House coach picture from this site. 

Full description of the Madison Boulder Natural Area in Madison, NH

 Wikipedia article on Madison Boulder

Crawford Notch Depot

Wikipedia article on the Conway Scenic Railroad which includes a link to their official website which I am having trouble accessing at the moment.
 A FAQ page for the Crawford Notch Depot which includes some history of the area