As a newly retired teacher, I have been actively trying to get involved in doing new things. In a previous post, I wrote about a simple strategy that I use to try to find new things to do. I Google search – Things to do near me. Well one place I’ve had my eye on to join was Old Westbury Gardens. In recent years, I had gone there for Rise of the Jack-o-lanterns which is a scenic walking tour of more than a thousand hand carved illuminated jack-o-lanterns. When my daughter was younger we went to the Gardens for a variety of children activities. For some reason we never became members, we would just pay the entry and program fees each visit.
As a newly retired teacher, I decided it would make sense for my husband and I to become members because the membership would pay for itself after the 2nd or third visit. There are a variety of memberships and discounts for children, seniors, and students. We chose the Family Membership Package which includes unlimited free admission, advanced reservations for events, members only events, and discounts at their shops.
Old Westbury Gardens is centered around the former home of John S. Phipps, his wife Margarita and their 4 children. Many events are held at the mansion including mansion tours, a variety of children activities, art exhibits, concerts, and an activity that my husband and I participated in Flavors of the Season. This was a great event that took place during the Christmas season. Each room in the house was decorated with Christmas trees, poinsettias, and other Christmas decorations. Even Santa Claus was there to greet you and take photos. The meeting area was in the mansion’s indoor porch area where the wine and cheese flowed freely. The main event was in the mansion ballroom where we sat at round tables in groups and an expert guided us through wine and chocolate tasting. This was a great social gathering where we learned a lot about wine and chocolate pairings.
My husband and I also enjoyed yoga at the gardens. This was great; blue skies, sunshine, and yoga! They have this activity twice a week and is open to members and the public. We also enjoyed the holiday market which was held in another home on the grounds of one of the Phipp’s daughters. I walked through the many rooms in this home imagining how wonderful it would be to live there.
My daughter and I enjoyed the Owl Prowl which was held in the former barn of the Phipp’s family. Members of a local Sanctuary brought a variety of live owls and taught us all about the physiology of owls, interesting facts, and about owls in our area. We then went on a prowl for owls. We didn’t see any, but we enjoyed looking.
The thing I like best about Old Westbury Gardens are the Dog Days. It’s usually held the last weekend of each month and you can walk the grounds with your leashed dog. My dogs love the adventure and dog lovers across Long Island gather at the gardens on these weekends. It is such a pleasure to walk around and see both owners and dogs smiling as they stroll the gardens. Everyone seems so happy to be there and its a wonderful experience for all.
Old Westbury Gardens opens for the 2020 season April 1st. I’m sure I’ll be receiving my newsletter and events calendar soon, and in the mean time you can always go online to their website. An event I saw listed was Spring Break Out, a fun for all ages garden tour. Concerts, stargazing, bat walks, and summer camps were other listed events. I’m looking forward to the first dog friendly weekend which will be held Saturday April 25 and Sunday April 26.
My family is sure to renew our membership to Old Westbury Gardens to participate in many of the same events we did last year. This year I’d like to try the tai chi, a guided tour of the gardens, a concert or two, stargazing, and lunch at theCafe In The Woods. TheThings to do near me strategy is a great way to find gold mines like Old Westbury Gardens. A simple Google search can lead you to endless magical experiences and adventures close to home.