The Stony Brook Village Center, located at Main Street on the Harbor, is the creation of philanthropist Ward Melville, and was recognized as the first planned business center in the United States. Its many unique features include a sweeping village green and a crescent-shaped design. In its early years, the American Institute of Architects hosted an annual conference in Stony Brook to meet with Mr. Melville and study his creation. The eagle on the Stony Brook Post Office pediment flaps its wings every hour, on the hour, from 8am to 8pm daily – as it has done so for 75 years, continuing to welcome thousands of visitors to the specialty shops and restaurants in Stony Brook.
For more information about the Ward Melville Heritage Organization, visit www.wmho.org
Preservation, education and performance is the mission of The Jazz Loft, a 6,000 s/f venue leased to this not-for-profit organization by the Ward Melville Heritage Organization. Located at 275 Christian Avenue, Stony Brook (next to the Three Village Inn), President and Founder Tom Manuel offers a treasure trove of memorabilia that includes thousands of archives from some of the greatest jazz musicians of their day. On display are instruments, diaries, autographed pictures, original sheet music, and even an orchestra stage that was constructed from the original Roseland Ballroom dance floor. Given the mission of The Jazz Loft to educate and preserve this American-born art form, the venue includes a full calendar of musical performances, as well as classes for special needs people with autism, learning disabilities, dementia and Alzheimer’s. Visit thejazzloft.org for full information, details and upcoming events.
For reservations and more information please call:
The Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s 27-passenger pontoon boat cruises through the organization’s 88-acre wetlands preserve for a 1 1/2-hour tour. An on-board naturalist describes the wildlife and flora you’ll see. Cruises are scheduled according to the tide table, starting in May and going through to October. The vessel is located across Shore Road from the Three Village Inn, and departs from Stony Brook Marine Services (see map). Advance reservation tickets are $28 for adults, $25 for seniors 60+ and students, and $18 for children under 6. This season Berber Bros. offers photography cruises aboard the Discovery. This cruise is $50 per person and advance reservations are recommended by calling (631) 751-2244. Click here for more information.
Ward Melville Heritage Organization Educational & Cultural Center
Village Center Environs
97 P Main Street, Stony Brook, NY 11790
The Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s Educational and Cultural Center in the Stony Brook Village Center is a state-of-the-art venue that offers a wide variety of events throughout the year.
A sampling of events includes:
Annual Summer Exhibits such as “Celebrating Coney Island, America’s First Amusement Park,” “Celebrating P. T. Barnum…the Man,” and “Motorcycles & the Open Road,” with memorabilia, artwork, sculptures, displays, and speakers
Spring and Fall Musical Theatre Performances with high tea luncheons paying tribute to the lives of famous celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and many more
LEGO® Building Block Competition and Exhibit
Chinese New Year Celebration
Winter and Spring Break Programs for Children
Black History Month Educational Programs and Living History Performances such as “Running Scared, Running Free: Escape to the Promised Land,” which tells the riveting story of the movement of escaping slaves from the south to Long Island and north to Canada
On-Site Adult and Youth Programs
Video-Conference Distance Learning Programs that broadcast live to schools and groups throughout the United States.
The 8,800 s/f, two-story, colonial style center is also available for rental,and can accommodate a total of 299 persons. The Great Room on the first floor has a 28-foot ceiling and can hold up to 200. The second floor can accommodate 99 people in small workshop groups or in a theater-style setting. There is also a second floor conference room that can hold up to 15 people. Additional fee items include: podium, microphones, sound system, grand piano (Great Room only), projector, and video conferencing equipment. The facility can be rented for corporate functions, family celebrations, seminars, and more.
The charming Heritage Gift Shop is located at the venue as well, and offers over 150 items that include books, educational games, toys, kits and crafts, food, accessories, and other unusual gifts.
Known as the Old Homestead, the original structure of Mirabelle at Three Village Inn was built in 1751 by Richard Hallock and originally owned by Jonas Smith who was known to be Long Island’s first millionaire. The Inn offers a tavern, overnight accommodations and a four-star restaurant. Their Master and Signature Suites are the ideal getaway retreat for that perfect occasion offering luxury accommodations, complimentary high speed internet access, breakfast at Mirabelle Tavern and courtesy discounts towards the Stony Brook Village Shopping Center. A Lessing’s property, the Three Village Inn is also a unique setting for weddings, private affairs or your special event in their manicured gardens overlooking scenic Stony Brook Harbor.
Click here for additional information about the Three Village Inn.
Kayak & Paddle Board Rentals
Village Center Environs
51 Shore Road, Stony Brook, NY 11790
Kayak & Paddle Board Rentals Stony Brook Harbor Kayak & Paddleboard Rentals is across from the Three Village Inn and offers an opportunity to get out on the water in beautiful Stony Brook Harbor on a daily and hourly basis. Instruction is also provided for the novice. Contact 631-834-3130 (Nick) for pricing and full details or visit www.sbharborrentals.com
The Stony Brook Grist Mill, Long Island’s most completely equipped working mill, is listed on the National and New York State Register of Historic Places.
During the 1800s, a vineyard was planted on the island in the Mill Pond. Catawba grapes were pressed and fermented in the Stony Brook Grist Mill, bottled in Brooklyn and sold at a nearby tavern. In earlier times, the mill was the center of community life. People exchanged news and gossip as they waited for the miller to grind their grain. In the 19th century, Alois Kopriva, who emigrated from Poland, played the violin and entertained his guests with gypsy music. Kopriva was also an advocate for women’s right to vote.
As recently as the 1950s, farmers still brought their wheat and corn to be ground at the mill. Miller Schaefer ground natural wheat at the mill and shipped his “health food” to customers in 42 states. The Stony Brook Grist Mill is open to the public for guided tours with a miller on Saturdays and Sundays, 12pm – 4:30pm, April through mid-October. Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for children.
Click here for more information about the Stony Brook Grist Mill.
Across the road from the Stony Brook Grist Mill is one of Long Island’s environmental treasures. The eleven-acre Mill Pond, or Lower Pond, is spring fed from the Upper Pond located on Rhododendron Road. The Setalcott Indian clan called this aquatic linkage Cutsgunsuck which translates as “brook laden with stones” or Stony Brook, as the entire area is known today. Low Island, in the middle of the pond, is a nesting place for local waterfowl. In the 1800’s, grapes for winemaking were grown in this area. The water from the Mill Pond has driven the wheel at the Grist Mill since 1699. T. Bayles Minuse Park is a popular spot where generations of children have visited the ducks and swans. The park’s Sensory Garden features plants with a variety of scents and textures for the enjoyment of both sighted and visually impaired visitors.
This arboretum/preserve was created by its founder in memory of his son. It is a nature lover’s paradise – with more than 80 acres of trails, a wildflower meadow, habitat for numerous woodland animals, many species of ferns, and massive oak trees. It is located on Harbor Road, off Main Street, across from Stony Brook Grist Mill. The preserve is open to the public year-round from dawn to dusk and is free of charge.
Overlooking Stony Brook Harbor, the Hercules Pavilion on Main Street, Stony Brook, houses the figurehead and anchor from the prestigious U.S.S. Ohio, the first ship launched from the Brooklyn Navy Yard in 1820. Toward the end of the century, the U.S.S. Ohio was decommissioned, destroyed and sunk in Greenport, Long Island; however, the figurehead was saved. The massive bust was first sold for $10 to the Aldrich family of Aquebogue; then to Miles Carpenter, owner of the Canoe Place Inn in Hampton Bays for $15, where it remained for decades. The figurehead was acquired by Ward Melville in 1954, who deeded it to The Ward Melville Heritage Organization for preservation. It is said if you kiss the brow of Hercules, you’ll be married within a year.
Polaris Whaleboat (part of Hercules pavilion)
Sharing the Hercules Pavilion with the historic figurehead is the Polaris whaleboat, thought to be the only surviving artifact from the Charles Hall expedition to the Arctic in 1870. Commander Robert Peary recovered the Polaris during his 1905 Arctic expedition and subsequently placed it with the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Some forty years later, naturalist Robert Cushman Murphy was instrumental in transferring the Polaris to Ward Melville. It is now a property of The Ward Melville Heritage Organization
Click here for more information about the Hercules Pavilion
The Stony Brook Post Office is also home to the Mechanical Eagle that resides on its pediment, where it flaps its wings every hour, on the hour (from 8am – 8pm) – as it has done so since 1941, welcoming thousands of visitors to the village’s specialty shops and restaurants. The eagle was hand carved and its wings span 20 feet. The post office, a traditional hub of community activity, was the core of Mr. Melville’s original vision and project – his “living Williamsburg.” It is located in Harbor Crescent, where a series of connected shops overlooks the Village Green. The Stony Brook Post Office is the site of The Ward Melville Heritage Organization’s holiday tree lighting and has become a premier wedding photograph location for generations of the area’s brides and grooms.
This historic church was designed by famous architect Stanford White in 1889. Two special points of interest are the stained glass window behind the altar and the Tracker pipe organ. The window (which was fabricated by the Mayer Company of New York City) represents the ideal of Caritas (Charity) by depicting a wealthy woman giving a coin to a beggar. The window is dedicated in the memory of Jonas and Nancy Smith of the Smith family, from whom Smithtown takes its name. The Smiths donated funds for the stained glass windows. In 2001, All Souls Episcopal Church was placed on the National Historic Registry of historic sites.
The Country House Restaurant, c. 1710, is located on the corner of Route 25A and Main Street in historic Stony Brook. Whether it be fine dining, a special party or just a night out, the Country House will make that occasion memorable. Beautiful details abound in each room from the centerpieces to the hand painted murals and intricate details of the carved gilded fireplace. In the 1800’s it became home to the famous English actor Thomas Haddaway. Spiritual séances would be held there, with neighbor William Sidney Mount trying to conjure up past spirits, a popular practice at the time. Known to have a ghost of one of the original owners, the story is now published in the book, “Ghosts of Long Island.” The Country House is open 7 days a week serving lunch and dinner daily and was voted “Most Romantic Restaurant on Long Island,” by AOL City Guide 2007.
Toward the end of the Great Depression, Ward Melville, his wife Dorothy Melville, Robert Cushman Murphy, Winifred Curtis, and O.C. Lempfert created the Suffolk Museum on the very site that now houses The Jazz Loft. As their collections grew, the museum was moved to its current location. The Long Island Museum of American Art, History, and Carriages (informally known as the Long Island Museum) is known for its collection of over 200 carriages and its extensive array of work by famed painter William Sidney Mount, and over 4,000 other paintings, sculptures and prints. Since 1973, the museum has been accredited by the American Association of Museums for excellence in exhibitions, programs and collection care. In 2006, the museum joined a small group of institutions nationwide as a Smithsonian Affiliate.
Built in 1665 and considered the oldest house in the Town of Brookhaven, the Brewster House was home to six generations of Brewsters. The house has transformed over the centuries from the one-room cottage to its present saltbox structure. During the American Revolution, Joseph Brewster operated the house as a tavern and general store, entertaining British troops inside. American Patriot Caleb Brewster, cousin of the Joseph Brewster and presumably a frequent visitor to the house, was a member of George Washington’s Culper Spy Ring during the Revolutionary War. WMHO education programs are held here by appointment. The Brewster House is listed on the New York State and National Register of Historic Places.
Find out more information about the Brewster House here.
91 N Country Rd, Setauket- East Setauket, NY 11733
Built in 1709, this five-room saltbox farmhouse is one of the largest houses in the Town of Brookhaven. The Thompson House was home to five generations of Thompsons. American Patriot, Farmer and Physician, Doctor Thompson was a prestigious member of the Setauket community, who treated many local residents. Members of George Washington’s Culper Spy Ring are listed in his “Cash Receipt Book,” c. 1787, which was a list of his patients. WMHO education programs are held here by appointment including “Medicine: Past, Present and Future” where students are given the opportunity to discover medicine from the 18th through the 21st Century. The Thompson house is listed on the New York State and National Register of Historic Places.
Find out more information about the Thompson House here.
Stony Brook Medicine integrates and elevates all of Stony Brook University’s health-related initiatives: education, research and patient care. It includes five Health Sciences schools —Dental Medicine, Health Technology and Management, Medicine, Nursing and Social Welfare —as well as Stony Brook University Hospital, Stony Brook Children’s Hospital and more than 90 community-based healthcare settings throughout Suffolk County. Stony Brook University Hospital is Long Island’s premier academic medical center. With 603 beds, SBUH serves as the region’s only tertiary care center and Regional Trauma Center and includes Stony Brook University Heart Institute, Stony Brook University Cancer Center, Stony Brook Children’s Hospital and Stony Brook University Neurosciences Institute.
Staller Center for the Arts, named in memory of Max and Mary Staller, offers a wide variety of world class performances from September through May and presents the Stony Brook Film Festival every July. Over 50 professional performances, as well as approximately 450 events generated by the departments of Art, Theater Arts, and Music, are part of the Staller Center season. In 1994, the center introduced 35mm film presentations in the Main Stage Theater, complete with Long Island’s largest screen and a Dolby sound system. In 2013 the center introduced Digital Cinema Projection and remains at the forefront of projection presentation. The Main Stage theater seats approximately 1,050, the Recital Hall seats 380, and the three “black box” theaters have a seating capacity from 75 to 225.
Stony Brook Yacht Club: Founded in 1913 when a group of Stony Brook permanent and summer residents met regularly with each other and their families to pursue their boating interests and pleasures and the name Stony Brook Yacht Club was adopted. A membership organization it offers slips, tournaments, catering and more.