New York played a large role in the battle of the American Revolutionary War, but so did much of the East Coast. What makes New York Different is its history on Lond Island, a lesser-known, yet significant, blip on the map that became home to one of the biggest spy rings in the war.
Those who have seen the AMC show Turn about Washington's spies will have recognized the mention of Long Island's North Shore, as it was the setting for this intriguing turning point. During 1778, those living on Long Island lived under British rule as the land was occupied by the Redcoats at that time. Thus, the rise of Washington's spies - also known as wartime patriots - came to be, as they used various waterways and hidden roads to navigate the area that is now known as Route 25A. For history buffs, the destinations along this road hold more history than anywhere else on the island.
Vanderbilt Museum And Planetarium
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Vanderbilt Museum was owned by William K. Vanderbilt and remains one of the last estates on the island of such significance. The grounds encompass roughly 43 acres and the estate was once symbolic of the sheer wealth of the upper class in America - one of the wealthiest, in fact. The mansion is now home to a planetarium, as well, and the museum holds artifacts from all over the world.
Oheka Castle is often associated with grand Long Island events with majestic views thanks to its positioning on the highest point of the island. However, it's also on the National Register of Historic Sites. Similar to the Spanish Revivalist style of the Vanderbilt Museum, Oheka Castle is distinctly French in its architecture. It's also known as one of the best wedding venues in the world thanks to its reputation as a historic hotel. This is a must-stop for history buffs if only to glimpse back in time to see what life was like for Long Island's most elite European families.
Raynham Hall Museum
If the name Robert Townsend sounds familiar then the Raynham Hall Museum should, too. This was once the home of the famed intelligence operative who worked under George Washington, and not much has changed since the last Victorian addition was added during the mid-19th century. It was renovated back to its colonial roots in 1940 and now serves as a stop in time, at which people can experience for themselves what colonial, Revolutionary War life was like.
Stony Brook Grist Mill
The Stony Brook Grist Mill was built in 1699 and after it was washed out not long after, the structure that stands there today was built in 1751. The Grist Mill was an important location during the war as the grains produced there were taken by the British for their own use, making it a routine stop for the Redcoats. The mill itself and the surrounding land make or a beautiful walk on a sunny day, and it's worth stopping by to learn about such an integral piece of Long Island history.
Huntington Historical Society
The Huntington Historical Society is a worthy stop for anything looking to indulge in Long Island's thrilling colonial history. The Society maintains five historical structures and also serves as a destination for seasonal festivities relating to the history of the area. It's a great place to learn about some of the island's earliest families as well as walk through the museums that are also maintained by the Society.
The Brewster House
The Brewster House might not look like much from the outside but its history dates all the way back to 1655. Known as a saltbox farmhouse, the home was maintained by six generations of the same family and is located in Setauket Harbor. This home was the location of many an event - Joseph Brewster, who served as a lieutenant in the French and Indian War as well as being a host to the British later on, once used his home as a tavern at which the British would spend time.
The Thompson House
The Thompson House was built more than 50 years later in 1709 and was also home to generations of the same family, the Thompsons, in Setauket. One member of the Thompson family, Doctor Samuel Thompson, worked as a doctor in the community as well as a farmer, but later served on the Long Island Militia. While he was on the Committee of Safety during the Revolutionary War, he mapped out safety routes for troops in the event that the British gained control of the nearby harbors. Similar to Joseph Brewster, Thompson was also given a significant number of acreage after his service to America's cause.