The official trailer for Baz Luhrmann’s new film adaptation of “The Great Gatsby” was released this week, inciting nostalgia across the Internet for the passion, parties and Prohibition-fueled recklessness of 1920s-era New York City. The film doesn’t come out until Christmas but if you’re hankering for a preview, try visiting Long Island‘s Gold Coast, where F. Scott Fitzgerald lived, wrote and based his famous novel.
Geographically located on the North Shore of Long Island, the Gold Coast’s grand mansions and landscaped gardens beckon visitors to explore the lives of the magnates and tycoons that called them home. Former inhabitants include familiar names like the Vanderbilts, Roosevelts, Whitneys and Pratts, and nearly all of the estates are open to the public throughout the summer.
One Gold Coast must-see is Old Westbury Gardens, a traditional English manor home that you’ll recognize from films like “The Age of Innocence” and “Cruel Intentions.” Built in 1906, the estate was once inhabited by financier John S. Phipps, who outfitted it with lavish furnishings and artwork. Guests are welcome to tour the home’s interior or stroll around the estate’s rose gardens, walled gardens and pond.
The Gold Coast’s residents weren’t all as traditional as the Phipps. A trip to the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum reveals the eclectic nature of former inhabitant William K. Vanderbilt II. The 43-acre complex includes a marine museum, seaplane hangar, natural history habitats and a wide array of quirky ethnographic objects. The on-site planetarium is currently under construction, but it is expected to be one of the most advanced in the country once it is completed.
And if you’re a true literature geek, you can’t miss the Hempstead House or Falaise Mansion in Sands Point, a part of Long Island that Fitzgerald referred to as the “East Egg” in “The Great Gatsby.” Both homes are surrounded by wildlife, nature trails and picturesque spots that are perfect for setting out a picnic blanket and giving the classic novel a re-read.
For three evenings only, Swallow Tail Canada will once again be hosting their Secret Supper Soiree in Vancouver, British Columbia, in Canada. While guests can expect a classy 1930’s-inspired underground bar, murder mysteries, transportation in a timeless double decker bus, and tastings of wines that are not available on the market, they will not know the location of the speakeasy until the night of the event.
The creators of the prohibition-era pop-up event are telling guests to meet at Pacific Central Station and from there will be picked up and taken backwards in time. To make the event more realistic, participants are also being asked to wear their fanciest speakeasy attire. Once at the secret location, a five-course tasting menu by Chef Andrea Carlson of Bishops as well as one Pims Cup and three wine tastings from local wineries will be offered.
Says Chef, Sommelier, and Owner of Swallow Tail Canada, Robin Kort, “I used to be a swing dancer, so I’m really enamored by the 1930s and that whole speakeasy era. It embodies what Swallow Tail is, too. It’s underground, exclusive, and secret. I like that vibe.”
Dates for the event are January 21, January 28, and February 4 at 4PM. Click here to purchase tickets.
GadlingTV’s Travel Talk, episode 14 Part 1 – Click above to watch video after the jump
Blame it on the weather, the beautiful scenery, or the friendly hop-growing climate – any way you look at it Portland, Oregon is the proud home to the most breweries (and some of the best) in America.
As we continue to explore Portland, we take a look at the strange and obscure laws of consuming and purchasing alcohol in the United States. It’s important to know what the law is wherever you’re traveling, so tune in to find out who has the earliest last call, what a ‘dry county’ is, and why 21 isn’t necessarily the legal drinking age in the United States.
Check back soon for our continuation on Portland & a look into the most conservative & most liberal liquor laws around the world!
If you have any questions or comments about Travel Talk, you can email us at talk AT gadling DOT com.
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Links Be informed – list of consumption laws state by state.
When in Portland, take in the views from the aerial tram!
The spiciest wings in Portland! Fire on the Mountain!
Contest: We’re still giving away two free tickets on Virgin America!
One of my favorite bars in Chicago, the Violet Hour, can be a bit difficult for first-timers to find. There’s no sign, no address, no windows, and upon first glance, no bar there at all. But if you look more closely at the boarded up storefront, you’ll see there is a door. And once inside it, you’ll be transported to another world – one where cell phones are not allowed, where plush curtains absorb the sound of patrons engaged in quiet conversation and candles provide the only light, where it’s “sitting room only” and capacity is strictly controlled, and where inventive cocktails are expertly handcrafted using ingredients like egg whites, rosewater, and homemade bitters.
The Violet Hour is a speakeasy style lounge. The old-timey uniforms of the staff and the novelty of the mystery location provide a gimmick that gets people in the door (once they find it anyway), but what keeps them coming back are the quality cocktails, quiet, relaxed atmosphere and extremely talented staff. Costing $12 each and taking around 10 minutes to make, the cocktails aren’t for those looking for a quick buzz. But for intimate evenings with friends, a romantic date, or just a darn good drink, the Violet Hour is worth searching for.
Along with the Violet Hour, Budget Travel also recommends several other speakeasy lounges around the United States. From Los Angeles to New York and Cleveland to New Orleans, these hip haunts serve up retro cocktails in glamorous throwback settings. You can “party like it’s 1929”, without that pesky Prohibition law.
Well, it appears that dry towns are no longer an American anomaly. The Australian town of Alice Springs has banned alcohol drinking in public places because “large groups of people, mostly Aborigines, binge drink in ‘full view’ of other residents and tourists”, The Guardian reports.
The restrictions apparently do not affect Alice Springs’ 90 licensed clubs, hotels or restaurants, and a park near the town used for picnics. It seems that this ban is de facto directed mainly at the 3,000 Aborigines who live in town camps in the area. Great! Now, the impoverished Aborigines will also be more likely to be engaged in criminal activity (of making illegal alcohol and drinking it.)
Is there one place on this planet where prohibition actually solved a major drinking problem?