Old Westbury Gardens was the scene for numerous films like Love Story, a perfect escape from NYC
When you live in New York City, there are so many things to do within the five boroughs that you sometimes forget about the day trips you can take Upstate or to Long Island. We took a day trip on the LIRR to the Old Westbury Gardens, in Westbury, Long Island, and realized that not only was it an easy trip on the train, but that it was well worth our 10 dollar taxi ride from the station to the manor home and gardens.
As we walked up the driveway to the manor and Old Westbury Gardens, I was immediately struck by how peaceful everything was on the grounds, despite the number of visitors on a sunny spring day. We began our visit with a tour (included in the 8 dollar admission fee). We were actually quite lucky, as we were the only ones on the tour and had a private guide!
Old Westbury Gardens are owned by the Phipps family, and I should mention that when I was growing up, the name Phipps was associated with the spring flower show at the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh. I never thought much about Henry Phipps apart from the beautiful flowers in the heart of Schenley Park and the fact that all his money came from the Steel industry: common Pittsburgh knowledge and history. And it wasn’t until I arrived at the Old Westbury Gardens that I learned that the home and gardens belonged to the Phipps family, as well. More specifically, it was the home of Henry Phipps’ son, John “Jay” Shaffer Phipps and his wife, Margarita Grace Phipps along with their four children.
If you have the time, you should definitely go on the tour, because it was very informative, and the house has museum quality artwork and furniture pieces. What struck us most was the symmetry in the house. All the artwork and furniture was placed in a balanced way, so the effect is very calming. It was modeled after a British manor by the London designer George Abraham Crawley and was constructed between 1904-1907. The house is privately owned by the family and much of the original furniture is on display.
After the tour we thoroughly enjoyed walking through the gardens, even though the flowers were not yet in bloom. The guide mentioned to us that many movies (Love Story), as well as photo shoots for fashion magazines have been shot on the grounds of the Old Westbury Gardens, and it makes perfect sense. Everything was absolutely beautiful and picturesque. The whole place gave me a sense of both classic style and warmth. I’ve visited other historic homes and this is one of the few that I thought, “I could live in this home.” It was immediately special and inviting, something that many homes from the past fail to preserve.
During the spring and summer there are many events held at the Old Westbury Gardens, including outdoor concerts, afternoon tea, bird walks, car shows, and painting in the gardens. This is a wonderful day trip from New York City and is easily reached by car or by train (just hop in a cab at the station). We ruskommend a visit to the Old Westbury Gardens with 5 boquerones. I know we will visit again soon!
Information about Old Westbury Gardens
Ruskommendation for Old Westbury Gardens: 5 boquerones
- Address: 71 Old Westbury Rd, Westbury, NY 11590
- Telephone: (516) 333-0048
- How to get there: Long Island Rail Road until Westbury Station
- Price: April and October $8, May-September $10
- Hours: Open every weekend from April 5th, and every day EXCEPT TUESDAYS, from April 28th to October 31st, from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm (the House will open at 11:00 am), with the last vehicle being allowed onto the property at 4:00 pm.
- Official Website of Old Westbury Gardens