Familiarity can breed contempt, I know, so oftentimes we don't appreciate the riches right under our noses. One place I've never taken for granted, though, is Old Westbury Gardens.
Appreciated by advertising agencies who shoot magazine ads on the great lawn, producers who film episodes of TV shows such as "Royal Pains" and "Gossip Girl," and even film directors who've chosen the site as a location for movies such as "American Gangster," the remake of "Arthur", it's unfathomable that any Long Islander might not have ever visited. I'm not one to throw stones, though, because although I grew up in the city, I was about 22 before I ever got up close and personal with the Statue of Liberty.
This week, Budget Travel magazine unveiled its list of "The 14 Most Beautiful Home and Garden Tours in America," and Old Westbury Gardens is listed among them. Honored as "the most majestic historic homes and the must-see gardens around them," the sights include Monticello (Charlottesville, Va.), Biltmore Estate (Asheville, N.C.), Magnolia Plantation & Gardens (Charleston, S.C.) and Green Animals Topiary Garden (Portsmouth, R.I.). You can see the entire list at Budgettravel.com.
Historically, this is a lucky week for Old Westbury Gardens: A year ago, it was named one of the top public gardens in the world by Four Seasons Magazine, sharing the honor with such places as the National Orchid Garden at the Singapore Botanic Gardens and the Royal Horticultural Society Garden in Wisley, Surrey, England.
And in January, 2009, OWG was named by ForbesTraveler.com as one of the World’s Most Beautiful Gardens, calling it "incredibly beautifully maintained and impeccably manicured."
Old Westbury Gardens is located at 71 Old Westbury Rd., Old Westbury, 516-333-0048. Don't let it become your Statue of Liberty; get out there and visit.