Historical villages, gorgeous homes, elaborate gardens -- these are the stars of upcoming tours that invite the public literally to take a peek into the private (or past) lives of their owners.
"So often, we just drive by everything," says Vigneaux, 67. She appreciates the chance to see things up close, explained by a guide who can shed light on the historical significance. And it's good exercise.
Here are a handful of upcoming tours:
Walking Tour and Tasting at Amber Waves Farm
WHEN | WHERE 10-11:30 a.m. Saturday, 375 Main St., Amagansett. Reserve via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
INFO 631-283-3195 ext. 19, amberwavesfarm.org
ADMISSION $10 per family
Participants will tour the land, meet the farmers, explore the greenhouse and learn about the vegetables growing in the field at this working farm. The tour ends with a wheat milling demonstration. "This is a very unusual place," says Kathy Kennedy, outreach manager of the Peconic Land Trust. "It is the only farm that is making flour from their wheat."
WHEN | WHERE Noon-4 p.m. Sunday, Northport. Reservations suggested.
INFO 631-757-9859, northporthistorical.org
Northport Historical Society's self-guided tour will feature some of Northport's most beautiful residential gardens. One of the highlights is a 1904 Victorian house on Mill Pond in Centerport that is surrounded by daylilies, Montauk daisies, asters and hydrangeas. "If you are into gardening or just into flowers, it is something you should really see," says Kari-Ann Karr, the society's assistant director. Refreshments will be served at several locations.
The Peony Path Tour
WHEN | WHERE 10:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. and 1-3 p.m. Sunday, Sagtikos Manor, West Bay Shore. Reservations suggested.
INFO 631-665-6975, sagtikosmanor.com
Tour-goers will explore the art, history and horticulture of the peony with a private tour through the Manor's walled garden. "The tour is about the partnerships, preservation and restoration of the original peonies from the Manor," says Celeste Topazio, founder of Friends of the Manor Gardens. Light refreshments will be offered.
WHEN | WHERE 10 a.m.-4 p.m. June 15, Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park, Oyster Bay. Reservations required.
INFO 516-922-6982, oysterbaymainstreet.org
ADMISSION $75 (includes lunch) or $50 garden tour only.
Tour the gardens of several private homes in the Oyster Bay area as well as Planting Fields' own rose garden. The day includes a luncheon at the arboretum's Periwinkles Café. Author Suzy Bales will be signing her book, "Garden Bouquets and Beyond."
Historical Walking Tour and Pub Crawl
WHEN | WHERE 6:30 p.m. June 17, from 228 Main St., Huntington. Reservations required.
INFO 631-427-7045 ext. 401, huntingtonhistoricalsociety.org
Town historian Robert Hughes leads a historical walking tour of Huntington Village. Participants will learn about the history and development of its commercial district. The tour includes stops at three local pubs that played a role in the village's history. "The charm of Huntington is that we have buildings that have been here for over 100 years, and we are still using them today," says Claudia Fortunato, operations director of the Huntington Historical Society.
WHEN | WHERE 10:30 a.m. June 18, from 95 Main St., Setauket
INFO 631-751-3730, tvhs.org
Participants will stroll by 17th and 18th century homes of early Suffolk residents and 19th century homes of area sea captains. Additional highlights of the tour include visits to a battleground, the cemetery where the leader of the Setauket Spy Ring is buried and the oldest Episcopal church in the United States. "The tour is a wonderful combination of nature and history," says guide John Hewlett. "It shows about 300 of the 355 years of the Town of Brookhaven."