Stepping Out

Memories of the 'Great War' at Old Westbury Gardens

Historical festival recalls an earlier era

Posted

Seasonal Delights

Garden Festival

Old Westbury Gardens’ Westbury House welcomes visitors to its Garden Faire and Gymkhana — as a kickoff to its latest exhibit “The Great War: Portraits of Privilege, Duty, and Sacrifice,” which will be on display in Westbury House through Oct. 7. In June 1918 John S. Phipps held a gymkhana on his estate for the relief of the families of British and Canadian servicemen during World War 1. It included equestrian games and demonstrations, food tents and flyovers by military aircrafts based at Mitchel Field. Old Westbury Gardens commemorates this event with a special weekend of activities, including World War I re-enactors, period vehicles, crafts and games for kids and equestrian demonstrations. And in keeping with the “British” flavor of the original Phipps’s gymkhana there will be a tea tent featuring English baked goods, music performances, and dance demonstrations, along with other experiences. The Band of Long Island will perform a salute to the Great War on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, June 23, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday, June 24, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. $12, $10 seniors, $7 children 7-17, $10 students. Old Westbury Gardens, 71 Old Westbury Rd., Old Westbury. (516) 333-0048 or www.oldwestburygardens.org.

Stepping Back in Time

Living History

It’s 1936 again in the Vanderbilt Mansion. Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan is enjoying a reunion of her friends in the women’s suffrage movement. During the mansion’s popular, annual tours, guides dressed as members of the Vanderbilt family and household staff tell stories about the estate’s famous residents and their world-renowned visitors. Stories told are based on the oral histories of people who worked for the Vanderbilts as teenagers and young adults. Some originated in Mr. Vanderbilt’s books of his world travels and extensive sea journeys. This summer of 1936 was particularly eventful. “The movie Captains Courageous with Spencer Tracy is playing in the theaters, and Agatha Christie’s new novel, Dumb Witness, is in the bookstores,” said Stephanie Gress, director of curatorial affairs. “Legendary aviator Amelia Earhart is lost at sea in July, and European leaders are faced with threats of German expansion. The U.S. Post Office has just issued a commemorative stamp in honor of the women’s voting rights activist and social reformer Susan B. Anthony on the 30th anniversary of her death in 1906.”

Saturday and Sunday, June 23-24, 12:30, 1, 2, 3 and 4 p.m. $8; available only at the door. Vanderbilt Museum, 180 Little Neck Rd., Centerport. (631) 854-5579 or www.vanderbiltmuseum.org.