Long before the fictional Jay Gatsby discovered Long Island’s charms, droves of Victorian-era visitors spent summers enjoying the tranquility of New Suffolk.
Since then, more than 100 years have passed — but many of the hamlet’s picturesque 19th-century homes remain. And at the end of the month, the public is invited to tour seven of them.
The New Suffolk Waterfront Fund will host the “Historic Gems of New Suffolk House Tour” Saturday, June 27, from 2 to 5 p.m. During the event, participants can take self-guided tours of seven old houses — all within walking distance of each other.
“The homes are all in ‘the grid’ of New Suffolk, which is the downtown area between First and Fifth streets — the heart of the town,” said NSWF vice chair Linda Auriemma.
Barbara Butterworth, a NSWF board member, said the tour includes properties like The Grove, built in 1850, and Whitecap, a former boarding house. One of the featured homes functioned as a bar in the early 1900s, Ms. Butterworth said.
Guests will also be able to explore the hamlet’s schoolhouse, which was built in 1907. Old photos, maps and timelines of New Suffolk from the mid-1800s to early 1900s will be on display at the school. Docents and homeowners will be on-site at nearly all tour stops, Ms. Butterworth said.
The biennial event, which has a historic theme this year in honor of Southold Town’s 375th anniversary, includes lunch at the New Suffolk ball field, which will be decorated to resemble the long-defunct New Suffolk Hotel. Victorian fare like cucumber and watercress sandwiches, codfish cakes and ice cream will be served, along with non-alcoholic “temperance” punch and local wine. A banjo player will provide entertainment with 1880s-era tunes.
“I think it will be a fun afternoon,” Ms. Butterworth said. “It’s a unique take on a house tour.”
Proceeds from the event will benefit the NSWF’s effort to restore the hamlet’s waterfront and former Galley Ho property.
“We have a long way to go in terms of landscaping and we’re working on reconstructing the Galley Ho,” Ms. Butterworth said.
The “Historic Gems of New Suffolk House Tour” begins at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 27, at the intersection of King and Fourth streets in New Suffolk. Tickets are limited and cost $100. To order, call 631-566-0806 or visit newsuffolkwaterfront.org.