In the spring of 1790, just a year after his inauguration as the first president of the United States, George Washington took a break from his presidential duties in Manhattan and set out on a brief tour of Long Island. While the exact details of Washington's trip have been clouded by legend over time, here are some of the spots he’s believed to have visited, along with some of the notes he made in the journal he kept along the way.
Washington and his entourage set out from Manhattan on April 20, 1790, crossing the East River and traveling to Jamaica, where they spent the night.
Washington wrote in his journal the next day: "The morning being clear and pleasant, we left Jamaica around eight o'clock and pursued the road to South Hempstead." There, according to Washington, they stopped at "the house of one Simmonds."
It's possible that "Simmonds" refers to the Sammis Tavern, which is marked by a plaque on Fulton Avenue and Main Street in Hempstead, as seen on Feb. 14, 1975.
Leaving South Hempstead, Washington went west along the Great South Bay. He wrote, "We came in view of the Sea & continued to be so the remaining part of the day's ride, and as near it as the road could run."
He ended the day at "Squire Thompson's," which is the Sagtikos Manor in West Bay Shore, seen here on April 29, 2015.
During the Revolutionary War, the Sagtikos estate served as headquarters for the British army on Long Island, according to sagtikosmanor.org, Sagtikos Manor was built in 1697.
On April 22, 1790, Washington left Sagtikos Manor and continued along the "South road." He described the land he passed through, writing, "The country through which it passed became more and barren as we travelled Eastward, so as to become excedingly poor indeed."
He stopped briefly at the West Sayville home, seen above on Oct. 15, 2012, of Samuel Greene, one of Sayville's original settlers. Washington reports that he then dined at Hart's Tavern in Brookhaven before turning north, passing through "Koram" on his way to "Setakit."
In Setauket, he spent the night at the house of "Capt. Roe, which is tolerably decent with obliging people in it." A historical marker for Roe's Tavern stands at the intersection of 25A and Bayview Avenue in East Setauket.
Town of Huntington
Washington departed Roe's at 8 a.m. on April 23, 1790, and headed west through "Smith's Town" toward Huntington, according to his journal. He continued to observe the topography, writing, "The whole of this day's ride was over uneven ground, and none of it of the first quality . . . after passing Smith's Town it was a mere bed of white sand, unable to produce trees 25 feet high . . . but a change for the better took place between that and Huntington."
In Huntington, he dined at Platt's Tavern, which he described as "tolerably good." Above, a historic sign marks the site of Platt's Tavern near the intersection of Park Avenue and Route 25A in Huntington, as seen on May 12, 2015.
During his April 1790 visit to Huntington, Washington is believed to have used this chair, as seen on Aug. 5, 2012, at the Conklin Farmhouse Museum in Huntington.
Washington spent the evening of April 23, 1790, at the "very neat and decent" home of a Mr. Young in Oyster Bay, according to Washington's journal. Above, the exterior of the Young home on Cove Neck Road in Cove Neck is seen on Feb. 15, 1974.
On the morning of April 24, 1790, Washington continued west, passing through "Musqueto Cove" (Glen Cove) on his way to breakfast at a "Mr. Underdunk's" in Roslyn, according to the journal. Hendrick Onderdonk's farmhouse is still standing at 1305 Old Northern Blvd., and is known as Hendrick's Tavern, as seen above on Feb. 12, 2014.
After breakfast, Washington headed through toward Flushing through Brooklyn, crossed the East River and was back in Manhattan by sundown.
Today, diners waiting for a table at the upscale Hendrick's Tavern can sit at the George Bar and have a drink under the gaze of President Washington.