Get a glimpse of the real Gilded Age by touring one of Long Island’s Gold Coast mansions, where it’s tempting to spread a blanket in the gardens and soak in the luxurious surroundings. But there’s much more on the schedule at many of them, from pet parades to chamber music and stargazing. Or pack a bag and spend the night — one of these gorgeous old homes serves as a hotel.
Sands Point Preserve Conservancy
127 Middle Neck Rd., Sands Point
This sprawling preserve with 216 acres of gardens houses three grand mansions: Hempstead House, Falaise and Castle Gould. Now owned by Nassau County, the mansions are mostly used for private events and for film and TV shoots, but chamber music programs are regularly scheduled at Hempstead House. Coming up, a “Fall Musicale” (Nov. 12) and “Touched by an Angel: Music Powered by Love” (Jan. 29), both at 3 p.m., $50. Outdoor activities include adult yoga classes on Mondays at 10:30 a.m. through Oct. 16 ($25 per class) and a guided nature walk at 10 a.m. Oct. 14, $5-$15. Tour Falaise Friday-Sunday through October, $15.
INFO Grounds entry: $15 per car, $4 individual; 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Wed.-Sun.; 516-571-7901, sandspointpreserveconservancy.org
Old Westbury Gardens
71 Old Westbury Rd., Old Westbury
The gardens will become a paradise for pooches Oct. 28-29 for the annual dog-friendly weekend, which concludes with a parade and costume contest at 3 p.m. Sunday (register by 2:30 p.m.). Earlier in the month, children 3-5 will delight in the garden’s storybook stroll, which includes a reading of the book “Owl Moon” by Jane Yolen and a craft project, 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 7 (free with admission). Tours of the estate’s mansion, Westbury House, include a behind-the-scenes look at the servant’s wing (tour tickets, $14-$21). A self-guided tour of the English country house, including the rich entry hall with its elegantly painted ceiling, is available daily (see the virtual tour on the website).
INFO Grounds entry: $15, $8 ages 7-17, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wed.-Mon. through Oct. 30; 516-333-0048, oldwestburygardens.org
101 Browns Rd., Huntington
The 33-acre park (normally open dawn to dusk) overlooks Huntington Harbor and is popular with dog owners, who let their pups play on the grass while they enjoy the view of the 1912 mansion, built for pharmaceutical magnate George McKesson Brown. Splashes of Hope, a nonprofit organization for artists, has studios there and members offer free tours, which can be arranged by sending an email to email@example.com or by calling 631-424-8230.
INFO Free; 631-854-4410, suffolkcountyny.gov
135 W. Gate Dr., Huntington
Spend the night at this mansion on one of the highest spots on the Island, once the home of financier Otto Hermann Kahn. (Hotel rooms start at $495). Guided tours of the 127-room mansion and gardens (a popular filming site for everything from TV shows like “Royal Pains” to a Taylor Swift video) take place daily at 11 a.m. (other times are occasionally made available).
INFO $25-$30, $15 hotel guests, $10 ages 12 and younger; 631-659-1400, oheka.com
Vanderbilt Mansion and Planetarium
180 Little Neck Rd., Centerport
See the stars at the planetarium that is part of this 43-acre estate left to Suffolk County by William K. Vanderbilt II. Shows take place throughout the day, with daytime programs for children of all ages and evening/weekend presentations for adults, like a laser show featuring Taylor Swift songs; planetarium programs $14-$18. The mansion also has a mile-long walking trail that includes a scale model of the solar system. Tours of Eagle’s Nest, the Spanish-style mansion that was Vanderbilt’s summer home, highlight his passion for collecting.
INFO $10, $7 ages 3-12; tours (limited to 12) are held throughout the day and can be added upon arrival for $8; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sun. and 7-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat. (planetarium only); 631-854-5579, vanderbiltmuseum.org
Planting Fields Arboretum
1395 Planting Fields Rd., Oyster Bay
The work of Shinnecock artist Courtney M. Leonard will be highlighted through Nov. 4 in a site-specific installation exploring themes that impact the Shinnecock Nation (tours on Oct. 21 and Nov. 4 are $10, $5 for ages 13-17). To see Coe Hall, the mansion built by railroad and insurance magnate William Robertson Coe, take the 60-minute guided tour, “Designing Nature Inside and Out,” which highlights several rooms and the gardens. A self-guided tour is offered from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays through December. Reservations recommended for mansion tours 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesday-Friday and 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday-Sunday; $10, $9 ages 62 and older, $5 ages 7-17.
INFO $8 per car weekends and holidays through Nov. 21; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily except Christmas; 516-922-9210, plantingfields.org