Sagamore Hill was the home of Theodore and Edith Roosevelt. This is a huge estate, especially on the East Coast (and Long Island to add), and has remained relatively large. It is a gorgeous area and very serene. You can even walk a nature trial and see the bay (Oyster Bay). The house was out of the family and thus has been preserved moreorless intact for us, as have most of the furnishings. As you walk into the house (no AC, by the way, which in July you definitely notice!), you can feel TR’s presence. There are animal hides, heads and trophies EVERYWHERE!! For an animal enthusiast, this is a great place as you will see many exotic animals from his hunting trips as well as more common animals. The only place without the game heads is Edith’s drawing room, where she decreed that there would only be minimal. TR actually bought the property and started plans for the house with his first wife, Alice, but after she died, he left the building to his sister, Anna, and he went off to North Dakota. He eventually moved in with Edith.
This room, TR’s library, was used as his summer White House. Unlike earlier Presidents, TR didn’t take the summers off, merely relocated to his home here to escape Washington’s heat. Before they installed a phone, he had a runner to bring him messages from town.
You get to see the entire house, which includes the children’s bedrooms (for instance, you can see Alice’s), servants’ quarters, the kitchen and dining rooms, TR’s gun room, and the huge North Room. TR died in this house and you will see the room where he died in 1919.
There are so many great pieces in this house. There is a cool buffalo hide that shows the Native American’s view of the Battle of Little Big Horn that was given to TR by Native Americans. TR’s rough rider outfit is also here. There are huge tusks on display (the second largest ever) and list just goes on.
Quentin Roosevelt died in World War I and there is a memorial to him out front. He is actually buried in France, with his brother, who died in World War II (actually of a heart attack after leading his troops on D-Day).
On the grounds, you will also find a pet cemetery, the old carriage path, the visitor’s center, a windmill, and then the Old Orchard Museum. While the house is a guided tour, you can walk through the Old Orchard Museum on your own (and it has AC!) to learn about TR. This museum was originally the home of General Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. in 1937.
- Remember to check the times of the guided tours if you plan to go through the house, as the tour is at least an hour and you probably want to start with that.
- Getting on and off Long Island is a pain and there are tolls for all the bridges, so bring cash. You also can’t pay with a credit card for the tour, although you buy stuff from the gift shop with one (don’t ask me why…).
- The Oyster Bay area is simply lovely and worth the time to drive around a bit, but do get directions. Once you are close there are signs, but it still can be hard to find with New York traffic. There is also private property all around, so make sure to respect property lines.
- You can take pictures and whatnot on the grounds, but remember no photography in the house.
- If you come in the summer, bring water for after the tour – you will be hot and sweaty!
If you have the time and are in the area, this is definitely worth the time. My husband and I both really enjoyed this tour plus at $5 a person, it is definitely worth it.