Step inside these Historic Homes for the Holidays


by Nancy Hassel,

Who doesn’t love to drive around during the holidays and look at decorated houses, storefronts adorned in local villages, head to New York City to see the tree and so forth?  It brings so much inspiration and makes this time of year even more special.  I for one love to see houses decorated classically, tastefully done and some even with some country charm, and historic houses decked out in all their glory.   I recently asked some incredible photographers here on Long Island to send me some of their favorites, and I also contributed to this as well.  Some of the homes are historic dating back to the early 1800’s, and some may have just caught my eye.  I hope you enjoy this montage, and be sure to follow the photographers on their Instagram pages as well for even more inspiration.  

Starting in Babylon Village with the Conklin House, which has a few different events you can enjoy throughout the year.  The Conklin House has quite the history, dating back to the 1800’s and owned by Nathaniel Conklin who played a principal role in the early development of Babylon Village.  For the full history of the house, click here to read more about it.  The house is owned by Babylon Village.  Located on Deer Park Avenue in Babylon Village, it also has an old barn next to it and beautiful gardens spring, summer and fall.   

Photo Credit: Nancy Hassel Photography (that’s me!) @nancyehassel on Insta

Next we  have The Wing and the Whale, a house that happens to be owned by good friends of mine and has a history dating back to 1826!   That the main part of the house was built in 1826 and was the gardeners cottage from the Foster Estate (J Stanley Foster, Esq.).  The residence of Jay Stanley Foster sat on 142 acres of land south of Montauk Highway, bounded by Carll’s River and Little East Neck Road.  In 1909, Foster built a 40- room mansion.  The cottage was moved to the current location in Babylon Village likely in the 1930’s or 1940’s.  

Photo Credit: Trevor Williams @OneSixShooter on Insta

So why is it called @TheWingandTheWhale?  When they bought the house there was a whale on the cupola and a duck on the outdoor spigot.  And many feathered and whale friends adorn the house on the inside as a nod.

Photo Credit: Trevor Williams @OneSixShooter on Insta

 The house is recognized by the Babylon Village Historical Preservation Society, Circa 1826.  

Photo Credit: Trevor Williams @OneSixShooter on Insta
Photo Credit: Trevor Williams @OneSixShooter on Insta

Almost looks like a house you see in a movie doesn’t it? 

Sadly many historic homes have been knocked down in Babylon in the last few years and replaced with new homes, loosing much history in the area.  

Photo Credit: Nancy Hassel Photography (that’s me!) @nancyehassel on Insta

Sagtikos Manor, yes if you didn’t know there is a house, not just a parkway with the same name, located in Bay Shore, NY on Montauk highway is owned by Suffolk County.  According to their website: The Sagtikos Manor was built in 1697, and expanded in 1772 and 1902. The estate served as headquarters for the British Army on Long Island for a brief time during the Revolutionary War. President George Washington stayed there during his tour of Long Island in 1790.
So presidential, historic and 1697, amazing. They also have events their regularly, you can learn more on their website

Photo Credit: Nancy Hassel Photography (that’s me!) @nancyehassel on Insta

Ok, so not a house, but this old barn simply, yet beautifully decorated by mother nature and a wreath, literally made me turn around and go back to get a photo of it.  Located on the North Fork on the Main Road, I was not paying attention to what town I was in on my way to Greenport and would love to know the history of it if any of my NoFo friends know!

Photo Credit: Nancy Hassel Photography (that’s me!) @nancyehassel on Insta

This house you more than likely have seen many times driving through Mattituck as it is situated on the right hand side of the Main Road as you are driving westbound.  The charm of this house, the windows and siding, the way it is lit, and the simple candle light in the windows surely makes you feel like you are in another time.

Photo Credit: Michael Busch/Great South Bay Images

The Post-Crowell House located in Bellport Village, is perfectly deocrated and captured on a recent snowy day by Michael Busch – you need to follow him on Instagram @GreatSouthBayImages!  According to the Bayport Brookhaven Historical Society’s website, ‘the Post-Crowell this Federal-style house was built in 1833 by Hiram Post at a cost of $800. Master ship-builder Post erected it with wooden pegs and square nails, using wood of the highest quality and floor beams of extra girth. Just behind the main house is the original Milk House with an exhibit on local dairies.’

Photo Credit: Nancy Hassel Photography (that’s me!) @nancyehassel on Insta

Ok, so again not a house, but an old school house so that counts! This historic school house is located in Southold, NY.

Photo Credit: Andrew Craig Photography

If you didn’t know there is a beautiful historic house, if you want to call it a house, just before Oakdale in Great River, NY called Bayard Cutting Arboretum.  This location is open to the public to visit and the grounds as you can see are quite stunning, year round.  It is situated along side the Connequot River and development of the aboretum began in 1887.  According to their website, ‘Bayard Cutting Arboretum was donated to the Long Island State Park Region by Mrs. William Bayard Cutting and her daughter, Mrs. Olivia James, in memory of her husband, William Bayard Cutting. The intent of the donation was “to provide an oasis of beauty and quiet for the pleasure, rest and refreshment of those who delight in outdoor beauty; and to bring about a greater appreciation and understanding of the value and importance of informal planting.”’  Thanks to Andrew Craig for this beautiful picture, visit his website here

Photo Credit: Nancy Hassel Photography (that’s me!) @nancyehassel on Insta

And of course an iconic staple of the East End of Long Island, this beautiful windmill decorated just perfectly for Christmastime.  There are many windmills throughout the east end, this was situated behind a house on the North Fork but visible from the road.  Perhaps you have seen it?

What is your favorite historic home on Long Island?  Perhaps you are living in one right now, let us know!


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