Sidequest: Sagamore Hill and Teddy Roosevelt Museum

Sidequest: Sagamore Hill and Teddy Roosevelt Museum

It’s been a while now since we got back from our Alaskan adventure. Preparations for the baby (including some pretty hefty home renovations) have occupied most of my free time.

This weekend however, Ariel and I found ourselves heading out for a wedding (congrats MarJar!) on Long Island.

Nassau Colosseum

While Nassau County might not seem like a place to go in search of adventure, in these days of increased responsibility, you need to maximize the time you are given. So we decided to take a sidequest detour to Sagamore Hill, another hidden gem of the National Park system.

Sagamore Hill on Long Island
Sagamore Hill, Teddy Roosevelt’s summer home.

Getting there was no problem – about an hour and 45 minutes by car from Central New Jersey or about an hour from Manhattan. And it was a relatively short experience there, so you could easily take a trip out there in morning and be back in your apartment by late afternoon. Or combine and make it a stop on the way out to the Hamptons or (a much better choice) Montauk for a weekend. In short, if you live in New York City, there’s no reason not to go here.

Aside from chronicling the history of the Sagamore Hill mansion and farm and the life and presidency of Theodore Roosevelt, which itself is fascinating, there are nice little nature trails that make it easy to forget you’re less than 20 miles from Times Square.

Probably about as close as your going to get to wild elk in this part of the world...

But most importantly – one of Teddy’s greatest passions was protecting nature and open spaces and keeping them pristine for future generations. In fact, much of the National Parks System we have today, from Denali to the Everglades and everything in between, are due to Roosevelt’s actions over 100 years ago.

In many ways, this is where it all began. Not just in the United States, but throughout the world. Yellowstone, which was the first American national park, was also the first national park designated by any country, anywhere. So whether you’re on the National Mall in Washington, DC or trekking across the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in New Zealand, you can thank the 26th US President for setting an example that would be followed by future-minded governments around the world.

Leave it as is
If it wasn’t for Teddy, the Grand Canyon would probably be a uranium mine today.

Teddy’s life is also something of an inspiration for wanderers. From his experience leaving his native New York City to spend time in the badlands of South Dakota, to his post-presidency international trips to Africa and the Himalayas, to his return to the United States to stand up to forces that would corrupt and weaken the nation, to his tireless defense of all things natural – there is a real Tolkien-esque feeling to his presidency and life.

Still not convinced? How about this then?

Was President Roosevelt actually a hobbit?

President Roosevelt brought these pipes home with him from a trip overseas.

You find me a hobbit who wouldn’t be thrilled to smoke some leaf out of these pipes. I challenge you.

In short, we really enjoyed our trip to Sagamore Hill, which was both inspiring in light of the current pathetic state of political discourse in America, as well as an excellent and easily reachable destination for anyone who longs for the open spaces and natural splendor of the wild places of our planet…but doesn’t quite have the time or ability to get there.

“When you encounter an obstacle, the rule is, ‘over, under, or through…but NEVER around.” -Theodore Roosevelt

If you live in the New York City area, GO HERE. Don’t wait. Just go. Because if there’s one OTHER thing I learned from the life of Theodore Roosevelt, it’s that he, like JRR Tolkien, believed that the most important thing we can go with our lives..

…is to make the most of the time which is given to us.

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