By Tab Hauser
Hempstead Harbor and Glen Cove is our home. It is also a wonderful place to live, fish, swim and enjoy the views. We also boat here. Hempstead Harbor is the third bay on the north shore of Long Island situated between the mansions and sandy hills of the Port Washington peninsula and Glen Cove, Sea Cliff and Village of Roslyn Harbor, where it was settled by Europeans in 1643. The harbor is almost four miles long.
It is about two miles wide near the mouth but narrows down to about a quarter mile half way down. The harbor offers several beaches where one can cool off or play in the sand. These include the beaches off the Sands Point Preserve (no services), North Hempstead Beach Park, Tappen Beach, Sea Cliff Beach and Morgan Memorial Park in Glen Cove where concerts play on Sunday nights.
Hempstead Harbor is the only safe refuge for boaters in between Oyster Bay and Manhasset Bay caught in a storm. Here, boaters are protected from winds that are due east, west and south. For winds from the north, a boat will have some sea protection anchoring south of the long jetty.
Overnight boaters can dock at Brewers Yacht Yard in the Glen Cove Creek. Entrance to the creek should be done directly in the middle of the channel at low tide. Once you are in the creek you will see the remains of the 1908 Schooner Regina Maris on the north side up on land and the marina to the south. Brewers is a full-service marina with a swimming pool and restaurant on premises. Boaters can visit Glen Cove via mooring balls from the Sea Cliff Yacht or Hempstead Harbour Club. Nonboaters that wish to get on the water can contact Brewers for boats, kayaks and paddle boards.
Hempstead Harbor is good for mansion viewing. There are plenty of them you cannot see from the road. Two Gold Coast standouts include the Hempstead House, also known the Gould-Guggenheim Estate, and its neighbor Falaise. The Hempstead House is an impressive castle looking structure with an 80-foot tower. It holds 40 rooms on three levels and was built in 1909. Falaise next door is one of the few remaining intact historic mansions of the Gold Coast dating back to the Gatsby era. Tours are available of Falaise. On the north east side of the harbor in Glen Cove one can view the former mansion of Charles Pratt. This is now the famous naval architectural school called The Webb Institute. This mansion was completed in 1914 and has a very imposing view and lots of chimneys.
Sea Cliff bills itself as “A Victorian Village by the Sea” and is located on a bluff. There are many small streets to walk around to view the older homes complete with their pretty patios, gingerbread molding and widows’ peaks. Sea Cliff Avenue offers boutiques, antique and art shops and a few restaurants that play music Thursday to Saturday evenings.
For the best views of the harbor Glen Covers can go to Morgan Memorial Park for a picnic. Garvies Point Preserve nearby is a good place to hike around. For dinner on the water in Glen Cove go to Boca on the creek. Here you will have fine views of the marina. On the Brewers property the Lighthouse is under new management and worth a visit. Boaters visiting Glen Cove can enjoy plenty of restaurants only a three-minute taxi from the marina or a 20 minute walk to Glen and School Streets. The City of Glen Cove offers enough restaurants for every taste and budget. Information on Sea Cliff can be found at www.seacliff-ny.gov and www.glencovechamber.org.