Enormous French-Style Chateau on 23 Verdant Acres
At a whopping 109,000 square feet, Gilded Age financier Otto Kahn’s 127-room country estate on Long Island is one of the largest private residences ever constructed in the United States. Orson Welles used shots of the French-chateau-inspired building and its meticulously manicured grounds to represent Xanadu, the title character’s gargantuan home in Citizen Kane. Today, Oheka Castle Hotel and Estate—which takes its name from a condensed version of the original owner’s full name, Otto Hermann Kahn—gives its guests a taste of baronial opulence, complete with ornate ballrooms, exquisite three-course meals, and sumptuous furnishings.
Turrets, sloping roofs, and dramatic archways define the castle’s silhouette, which is surrounded by spiral topiaries, lush lawns, and burbling fountains designed by famed landscape architects the Olmsted brothers. Handsome woodwork and marble give the mansion’s interior an aura at once stately and comfortable. The library boasts a mahogany grand piano, crimson-colored couches, and a collection of leather-bound Family Circus comic strips. Individually designed Chateau and Whitney rooms call to mind both French palaces and New York’s Metropolitan Opera. Frette Italian and Egyptian-cotton linens dress the beds, claw-foot or jacuzzi-style bathtubs anchor the bathrooms, and graceful chandeliers cast warm light onto elegant living areas.
Huntington, New York: Long Island Estates and Relics of the Jazz Age
Located on Long Island’s Gold Coast, Huntington is characterized by its grand, Gatsby-esque estates erected in the 1920s by ultrawealthy captains of industry and finance. Paying little heed to cost, these Jazz Age barons constructed extravagant homes with parts and pieces shipped from foreign countries via expensive, bathtub-gin-powered zeppelins. Many estates remain intact and offer an enticing look at a vanished world.
Nearby museums, an expansive arboretum, and a Japanese garden also keep visitors busy. Located just 38 miles from Manhattan, the North Shore is ideally situated for day trips to the city as well as historical seaside towns and Long Island's beautiful wine country.