Planting Fields and the Pink Playhouse
“Daddy, can you take me to see the pink playhouse again?”. Many mornings on the weekend I hear this request from my middle daughter, Alana Rose. It’s easy to say ‘yes’ to my sweet girl as all of us enjoy visiting Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay!
Planting Fields is now designated as a New York State Park, but initially it was purchased in the early 20th Century by the Byrne family when it was simply farming property and built into a ‘Gold Coast’ estate on the North Shore of Long Island. An architect was hired and immediately the development plans included what is now the “green garden”, circular pool, and plantings of many fruit trees and layouts for perennial plantings.
In 1913, William Robertson Coe purchased the estate his family had been renting for a couple of years and continued planting pine, oak, cherry and other trees and much more vegetation and flowers.
The original mansion on the property burned to the ground before the decade was over , and Coe Hall was built in its place. The tennis court was replaced by the Italian Blue Pool and the brick Tea House. Other structures like the green garden, circular pool and fountain statue were rebuilt as it had been previously.
In the middle of the Century, Mr. Coe deeded the property to New York State and it remains a State Park today. Thanks, William!!
Just behind the Italian Blue Pool Garden is a brick tea house that has been restored in the last decade. The initial layout on this land behind Coe Hall was a tennis court. This is one of many spots at Planting Fields that the girls sit in awe and watch pre-wedding and engagement photos being taken by much more qualified photographers than the one who drove them here 🙂
Just off to the right of the tea house the kids have fun climbing up their unique tree. You will find dogwood, beech, white pine, wheeping cherry and magnolia among other tree types.
From Alana, 5: “I like to go to the park and see all the wedding people having their pictures taken. We went there yesterday and we climbed a really big tree! I also found this pretty tree with red berries but I didn’t know if I was supposed to eat them so I didn’t”.
The Camellia Greenhouse displays the largest collection of camellias in the northeast, and the Main Greenhouse has extensive collections of hibiscus, orchids, succulents, and seasonal displays. You will also find cacti and a banana tree inside!
From Brandon, 10: “In the greenhouse there are all different kinds of cacti; some of them are in weird shapes. They have these plants that kind of look like pumpkins but they are green and they have thorns on them. In all of the greenhouses Sofia runs through the aisles and I run after her. It’s like a maze!”
Also behind Coe Hall Historic Mansion you will find “The Green Garden” which includes a circular pool with a beautiful fountain statue and this brick walkway below:
From Brandon: “There is a bigger pool near the brick tea house and then behind the Coe Museum there is the one below. We have another picture of Alana in front of the small fountain where she has a big grin; what you can’t see in the picture is that she was picking a wedgie!”
Planting Fields Arboretum State Park was voted by Long Islanders (LongIslandPress.com) as the best public garden on Long Island in 2011 for a reason. There are over 400 acres of greenhouses, gardens, woodland paths and outstanding plant collections to explore.
Along the paths you will find many species including dahlias, peonies and of course roses in the Summer. Also, 100s of rhododendrons and azaleas.
There are too many open fields to list!
Each time we talk about where our next adventure is going to be Alana shouts, “Can we go back to my pink playhouse?”. It’s hard to deny her wish and she always prances around and peeks in the windows; trying the doorknob to see if just this once she can get inside and play!
The estate owner had this playhouse along with the brick tea house built for his two young daughters early in the 20th century. Now that’s a doting dad!
and…we’re back again
We mentioned earlier that each weekend you will find wedding photography at several lovely locations within the Arboretum. We came here AFTER a family event and had some fun of our own!
From Sofia, 7: “So….we went to our cousin Kelsey’s party and then after we went to the park we are writing about right now. And…I was spinning around on this ledge. Then all of us were running around on the grass in the field. I like to look at me in my dress, it looks really pretty!”
Please don’t hate the oldest editor of this post for it being so kid photo focused! The first several times we visited I was just taking shots of my little ones. I’ll add some more shots of the property at Planting Fields shortly.
Hours & Admission:
9:00 am – 5:00 pm daily
$8 per car until Nov, 13th. **The park accepts the Empire Pass, which if displayed on your car window gets you in for free (nothing’s free, you have to purchase said Empire Pass, but it’s so worth it as you can use it at State beaches and parks)
COE HALL HOURS:
Self-Guided Visits to Coe Hall
11:30 am – 3:30 pm 3/31 – 9/30 daily
October Weekends only
Members & Children under 12 are free
Long Island Expressway to Exit 41 North or Northern State Parkway to Exit 35 North. Proceed north on Route 106 towards Oyster Bay. Turn left onto 25A Northern Boulevard. Make first right onto Mill River Road. Follow green & white signs to the Arboretum on Planting Fields Road.
Oyster Bay is the last stop on the Oyster Bay line of the Long Island Railroad. Planting Fields is approximately 1 ½ miles west.
And don’t forget to add comments about what you like at the Planting Fields; my kids are excited to see if you like this quest!
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