Sagamore Hill National Historic Site
A native of Manhattan, Theodore Roosevelt first came to Oyster Bay, Long Island on summer vacations with his family in the 1870s. The teenage boy grew to love the area's natural beauty and enjoyed the opportunities it afforded for such pastimes as hiking, rowing, swimming and riding. In his early twenties, Roosevelt returned to Oyster Bay to settle down with his wife and raise children. He purchased farmland in Cove Neck, a peninsula just east of Oyster Bay village and envisioned building a large, sturdy, modern home. He hired New York City architects Lamb and Rich to design such a house, and construction based on their Queen Anne-style sketches began in 1884.
Plans for the house were nearly halted due to the sudden death of Roosevelt's young wife Alice in February 1884. She had died just two days after giving birth to a daughter, also named Alice. Family members convinced Roosevelt that despite the tragedy of his wife's death, he would still need a proper home for his baby daughter, and he soon decided to go ahead with the house construction.
A few years later, Roosevelt remarried Edith Kermit Carow, a childhood friend, and the couple took up full-time residency at Sagamore Hill in 1887. The couple would raise a total of six children in the house and, over the next 30 years, they would experience some of the most memorable and cherished moments of their lives there. For seven summers between 1902 and 1908, Sagamore Hill served as Roosevelt's "Summer White House." As president, Roosevelt used his home to host luminaries from around the country and around the world.
Roosevelt died at Sagamore Hill on January 6, 1919, at the age of 60. His eldest son hoped to take over the house and to raise his family in it. However, his mother Edith wanted to remain in the old house, and she gave him a few acres of land on which to build a new one (eventually known as Old Orchard House). Despite extensive travels in her later years, Edith always came back to the old house at Sagamore Hill. She died there in September 1948 at the age of 87.
As of December 2011, the Theodore Roosevelt's home is closed for the next three years for extensive structural and systems renovations. Old Orchard House, the visitor center, the nature trail, and the surrounding land will remain open during this time.
Seasonality / Weather
Summers in Oyster Bay are generally hot and humid. The Theodore Roosevelt home is not air-conditioned. The third floor of the house is subject to closure when the heat reaches high levels.
Winters are generally cold and damp with moderate amounts of snow and ice. Sagamore Hill is usually closed when local school districts announce closures due to snow storms.
Please dress appropriately for the weather. Heavy coats, hats and gloves are recommended for winter; light jackets are usually adequate in spring and fall; and very light clothing is desirable in the summer. Good walking shoes (sneakers, boots, etc.) are recommended for all seasons.
Most visitors to Sagamore Hill prefer to drive, whether they take their own vehicles or rent one.
For GPS navigation devices, use this address: 12 Sagamore Hill Road, Oyster Bay, NY 11771, which is the Visitor Center located at the entrance of the park.
Sagamore Hill may be reached from two major Long Island highways:
Take either the Northern State Parkway to Exit 35N or the Long Island Expressway (I-495) to Exit 41N. At those exits, take Route 106 North for 6 miles into downtown Oyster Bay. Turn right onto East Main Street (at Nobman's Hardware Store) and travel 2 miles. Turn left onto Cove Neck Road and drive 1.5 miles to Sagamore Hill.
The Southern State Parkway connects to NSP/LIE via the Wantagh/Meadowbrook Parkways, or the Seaford/Oyster Bay Expressway. Take Southern State Exit 28AN to Route 135 North (Seaford/Oyster Bay Expressway) for 10 miles to Exit 14E (Woodbury) and Route 25 (Jericho Turnpike). Turn right/east, travel to the third traffic light. Turn left on South Woods Road, traveling 1.6 miles to its end and turn right on to Cold Spring Road. Travel 1 mile to Route 25A intersection. Turn left on Route 25A and travel 0.7 miles downhill to the Cove Road stoplight. Turn right on Cove Road for 1.7 miles to Cove Neck Road. Turn right on Cove Neck Road and follow the signs for 1.5 miles to Sagamore Hill.
AMTRAK, NJ Transit and the Long Island Railroad serve New York City through Penn Station. The LIRR provides service via the Oyster Bay Branch to Oyster Bay (3 miles away) - OR - more frequent service via the Port Jefferson Branch to Syosset (6 miles away). Both train rides take 60-75 minutes. Taxis typically meet all trains at Syosset. This is not always the case at Oyster Bay. Rail travelers to Sagamore Hill should leave New York City early in the day.
Long Island Bus service nearest Sagamore Hill is at Syosset (6 miles) or Hicksville (10 miles). Interstate bus service is through New York's Port Authority bus terminal. Rail/Taxi is the more practical public transportation option.
By Private Boat
Sagamore Hill is within a mile of Oyster Bay Harbor and the Long Island Sound, but there is no public access or docking facility nearby. The Oyster Bay Marina is about three miles away and about a block from the Oyster Bay railroad station.
It is possible to hike the three miles from the Oyster Bay railroad station or the Oyster Bay Marina, but please be aware that the route is somewhat hostile to pedestrians - roads have narrow shoulders, moderately heavy traffic, and they travel through exclusive residential neighborhoods where a premium is placed on privacy. No restrooms, water or food service is available enroute, and food is not served at the park.