Yes, I love New York, but there’s no denying that the longer I live here, the more I seek out huge open spaces and greenery. I’m shocked when I see a front yard. Luckily, there are plenty of places for day trips from the city, from Beacon to Cooperstown.

Last weekend I got my fix at the Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park in Oyster Bay, Long Island, where I joined Ryan and his family for their deliciously relaxing Mother’s Day picnic tradition.

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After snacking on egg salad and crumb cake, we wandered around the estate.

First stop: the house.

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Coe Hall was the home of William Robertson Coe, an insurance and railroad executive, and his family. The 67-room house was built in 1921 (after an original property burned down), but you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s far older. It took its design from Tudor-style English country homes, and it definitely reminds me of olde properties back in the UK.

Inside there are endless halls, studies, bedrooms and hand-painted walls.

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<< the back of the house // with a bride mid-photo shoot

Interestingly, for a few years in the 50s and 60s, it was used as a temporary campus for the State University of New York. Can you imagine heading there for class?!

The property is nestled among 400 acres of land, and it was these gardens and greenhouses – filled with orchids, cacti and fruit trees – that really won me over.

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And best of all – the doll’s house (still far bigger than my apartment).

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There’s nothing like escaping the city to fill my lungs with the fresh air of the countryside. It’s indescribably healing. Of course I love New York, but if I didn’t escape every now and then, she might drive me a little crazy. So thank you for keeping me sane, Long Island!

We drove to the Planting Fields, which took us less than an hour. You can also catch the train to Oyster Bay (on the Long Island Railroad) and then the park is one mile west. More info here. It costs $8 for parking and $4 to get into the house.