On the outskirts of Oyster Bay  is the Sagamore Hill National Historic Site (20 Sagamore Rd., off Cove Rd., 516/922-4788, www.nps.gov/sahi , 10 a.m.–4 p.m. daily June–Sept., 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Wed.–Sun. Oct.–May, adults $5, children under 16 free), a rambling hilltop estate that was once the summer home of Theodore Roosevelt.
The former president of the United States, assistant secretary of the Navy, governor of New York State, police chief of New York City , and author of 30-odd books came here with his wife and six children to indulge in the “strenuous life”—i.e., hiking, swimming, playing tennis, and horseback riding.
Roosevelt never forgot his public duties while living here, however; out front is a wide porch with its railing removed so that he could more easily address the crowds who often assembled to hear him speak.
Sagamore is now operated by the National Park Service, and rangers conduct tours through the dark, creaky house, filled with antiques—and an enormous number of preserved animal parts.
Across the street from Sagamore is the 12-acre Theodore Roosevelt Sanctuary (134 Cove Rd., 516/922-3200, http://ny.audubon.org/trsac.htm , 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. daily, free admission). Now owned by the National Audubon Society, the refuge is planted with trees, shrubs, and vines specifically chosen to attract birds. A small visitors center (9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 1–4:30 p.m. Sat.–Sun.) features exhibits on the area’s wildlife and on Roosevelt’s extensive involvement in the then-new conservation movement.