When a friend told me about Oheka Castle, I didn’t rest until I could finally visit the place. Oheka Castle figures on almost every list of must-see places in Long Island. And you know how I love exploring this kind of places, right? So you can imagine how excited I was to check out the area and tell you. We were there last Friday and I can tell that it exceeded my expectations!
Resting majestically on the highest point of Long Island, Oheka Castle emanates the elegant refinement of a chateau in France. Oheka has been celebrating the art of entertaining since 1919, when financier and patron of the arts, Otto Hermann Kahn, commissioned celebrated architects, Delano and Aldrich, to design his palatial country residence to accommodate Kahn’s fondness to host lavish parties. It was a summer house. Humble, hum? After Otto Kahn died in 1934, the estate changed hands several times, serving as a retreat for New York sanitation workers and a government training school for Merchant Marine radio operators. In 1948, the Eastern Military Academy bought OHEKA, bulldozed the gardens, subdivided the rooms and painted over the walls. After the school went bankrupt 30 years later, OHEKA stood abandoned, except by vandals who set numerous fires over 5 years. In 1984, developer Gary Melius purchased OHEKA and the remaining 23 acres that surrounded the estate and began the painstaking challenge of restoring the Castle to its original grandeur.
Today, Oheka is also a hotel – with 32 suites – and it is recognized as one of the most prestigious wedding and event venues in the World a – and it’s not hard to understand the reason. Oheka Castle reminded me of a more humble version of the Palace of Versailles in France. There are two ways to visit Oheka Castle: guided tours or having lunch or dinner at the restaurant, which is open to the public.
The tours take place every day at 11am, but you must book in advance. You can click here and check the calendar. As the Oheka ends up hosting many weddings, the tours may not happen on some dates due to these events. The ticket costs $25 – and includes coffee, tea, and cookies (children under 12 pay $5). The guide is very friendly – worth remembering that it’s all in English, so if you don’t speak the language, it will not be a good idea. During an hour, she tells the whole history of Oheka Castle, curiosities and interesting facts as we explore some rooms, such as the library, the hall, etc. It’s very interesting – but I was curious to check the other rooms of the place.
Of course, I could not help but exalt the beauty of the gardens – the real reason that made me want to visit the place. The garden is super quitet and very beautiful. In addition, the area surrounding the castle features golf courses. You can even see the bay. I do not even need to tell you how beautiful is the fall landscape, right? I wonder how magical it is to get married there …
After the tour, we headed to the restaurant, where we had a reservation. You can click here to make yours and also to check the menu. We ordered a burger ($19), soup ($13) and salad ($15). We really enjoyed our dishes – I have nothing to complain about. It is worth remembering that one of the tour tickets include lunch (two courses) -for $50. We really enjoyed to visit Oheka Castle – but I have my doubts if the tour worths it anyway. I would recommend making a reservation at the restaurant and then leaving to explore the grounds.
How to get there? From Penn Station (NYC) take the Huntington Line to Cold Spring Harbor Station. Taxi Service: Orange & White Taxi Service, 631-271-3600; Ectotaxi, 631-624-3727. (No taxi depot at station). You can also request an Uber, but it can take a while.
Laura Peruchi is a Brazilian blogger, author, and entrepreneur. She has lived in Manhattan with her husband since 2014. Since then, she has shared on her blog varied content about the Big Apple. From travel tips, including unusual things to do, shopping tips, etiquette, restaurants, and a lot more, her blog has become a reference in Portuguese (also available in English) for anyone planning a trip to New York City.