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Bidding at Cornelia Guest's Old Westbury estate

Templeton, socialite Cornelia Guest's Old Westbury estate, is

Templeton, socialite Cornelia Guest's Old Westbury estate, is on the market for $9,695,000. Photo Credit: Handout

The fabled Templeton estate in Old Westbury is getting a whole lot more lookers of late. This according to owner Cornelia Guest, who told Newsday that after a quiet period, well, traffic is picking up and there has been bidding on the $8.9 million property.

There were multiple bids last weekend, confirms listing broker Sandy Binder of Shawn Elliott Luxury Homes & Estates.

“It’s heaven on earth for kids growing up there,” says Guest. “It’s serene, it’s private, it’s formal, but cozy. And even though it’s a big house, if you want to have a dinner party for four you can. But you can easily have 400. It’s everything you want it to be.”

The 29-room, Georgian-style brick mansion was built in 1924. It’s set on 15.515 acres and is among of the last original remnants of the aristocratic Gold Coast. “The property is one of the most magnificent on the North Shore," says Binder.

Visitors over the years have included the likes of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (Guest’s godparents), Truman Capote, Yves St. Laurent, Rudolph Nureyev, the Kennedys and even Oscar de la Renta, who reportedly had a permanent room there (hey, with 29 of ‘em why not?).

“My mother knew how to bring together great people and create great parties, and I’ve taken a lot from what I’ve known growing up,” says Guest, who, among other endeavors, runs a healthful catering company.

Back at the house, there’s much more, too: a pool, tennis court, three greenhouses, cottages, two horse barns with 17 stalls, paddocks and a caretaker's cottage.

And don’t forget the stellar gardens all designed by Cornelia’s mother, C.Z. Guest, the glamorous best-dressed listed beauty who became a syndicated garden columnist in later years. “My parents both loved nature,” says Guest, an animal activist. “Growing up I would rescue anything: ponies, pigs and birds. Peter, our gardener, would show me new nests, and at Christmas, I would always make a gingerbread house and break it up the next day to feed to chipmunks and other critters. It’s pure magic.”

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