Long Island Mansions Guide

My unofficial guide to fine country house living.

Planting Fields

Location: Oyster Bay

Built: 1918-1921

Built for: William Robertson Coe

Architect: Walker & Gillette

Rooms: 65

Acres: 353

Guided Tours: Yes

Planting Fields in Oyster Bay was the summer estate of William R. Coe and completed in 1921. It is now Planting Fileds Arboretum and consists of the main house (Coe Hall) and acres of formal gardens and natural woodlands. The original mansion which burned in 1918 was more of a Queen Anne style building. Coe Hall is a great example of a Tudor mansion. Note the different styles of chimneys. A prime example of Tudor architecture. The new house contains the same footprint of the original since it was built on the original foundation. The mansion itself incorporates three different styles to make it look like it was built and expanded on over time. The mansion is open for tours that are very interesting. A crowd favorite is usually the breakfast or buffalo room. The walls are painted in a western motif (featuring...you guessed it buffalo) that seem to glimmer and almost appear 3D.   

The gardens feature the Italian or Blue Garden (my personal fave), statuary scattered throughout, green houses and some natural woodland trails for hiking. You can also walk down the main entrance drive to see one of the best features of the estate...the Carshalton Gates. These gates were taken from a park in England and installed at Planting Fields. They were made in 1712 and are best viewed from outside the grounds on Chicken Valley Road. They are quite impressive. You can't believe how big these gates are. Add on the columns at each side with the statues on top and you have quite an entrance. Another cool place is the secret garden by the South Terrace. This terrace consists of a grassy area with a fountain in the center with some benches surrounding it. Behind the brick bench is the secret garden with a small pond. The hay barn, laundry and some other outbuildings also remain intact.

You can also check out the synoptic gardens. These are garden areas that have plant species for every letter of the alphabet arranged A - Z. You might not even know that they are there because the trails and gardens are on the perimeter of the grounds hidden by trees.

They have created a great Visitor's Center in The Hay Barn. This includes an educational area with a topographical map of the entire Planting Fields estate as well as a video history and several other educational exhibits. They have also moved the gift shop here and there is a cafe at this location. I think it is a great addition and great use of the building.

Planting Fields is also used for concerts and special events. 





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