An added bonus of going out with Ryan is that I’ve been able to visit Long Island – where he grew up – many, many times. When you can tear me away from our new(ish) neighborhood, going out there is one of my favorite weekend things to do.
And this weekend? There was the countryside! animals! history! and tours!
(Oh, and Ryan.)
Every summer, the Long Island Fair takes over Old Bethpage, an area of farmland in Oyster Bay that’s dotted with houses dating back to the 1800s. One house – the Powell Farmhouse – is the only building still in its original place, while the others – from potters’ barns to ye olde grocery stores – were picked up from other parts of the peninsula and reconstructed here.
We took a hay ride to check it out and popped our heads into the houses to say hello.
Inside the houses, costumed characters describe the day’s activities or show off their skills, such as making candles. There are also school houses, churches and businesses – all dotted with actors telling you why their roles were key.
After wandering around the houses, we meandered through an apple orchard at the Restoration Farm to reach the fair. It was the only spot in the whole place that we seemed to have to ourselves, and it made me reminisce about picking apples in the autumn.
Then we headed to the fair proper, where we oohed at the vegetable contest (as I tried to convince Ryan to enter his radishes next year) and aahed at the prize-winning flowers.
Next up: the petting zoo. As a vegetarian animal lover, I hate zoos. They’re miserable places and I never want any part of them. But the petting zoo here wasn’t concerning at all – the confident little animals seemed more than happy to gobble snacks from our hands.
My one qualm with the place was the lack of food I could eat. I shouldn’t really be surprised that the food was mostly fried meat (and to be fair, it wasn’t half as disgusting as I expected), but all there was for me was grilled corn. Delicious grilled corn, yes, but a little more thought might not be a bad idea, Long Island Fair.
That aside, it was the perfect day trip for little kids and big ones like us, who appreciate the outdoors and history. And something I really liked compared to the recent Renaissance Faire was how we weren’t interrupted at every turn by a ye olde actor trying to flog us something. Instead, we wandered aimlessly, took a hay ride and stroked the smiling animals.
Long Island, you did good.