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Ah, the last half of August. It’s just one gorgeous, two-week-long Good-bye.

And what better place to say farewell to Summer than in our neighborhood estate of William Cullen Bryant? William Cullen Bryant. Know him? No, not him; that’s William Jennings Bryant. William Cullen Bryant, for whom our town named its library.

This William Cullen Bryant: November 3, 1794 – June 12, 1878, the American romantic poet, journalist, and long-time editor of the New York Evening Post. He lived in Roslyn from 1843 – 1878, at a place he called Cedarmere.

His estate is two miles from my house. Top Cat and I went there Wednesday evening to watch the sun set, to say the first of our many, many Good-bye’s to Summer.

The house, on a bit of a cliff above a deep cove off of the Long Island Sound, is situated so that the side of the house (the side that houses the library)catches the early evening light. That’s the atmospheric quality that photographers call The Magic Hour. 

Which is why these were the only other people at Cedarmere this evening, a 20-something girl, and her mother, and a photographer. I guessed that she was a young chanteuese and they were taking cover shots for her debut CD.

They left the property before 8 o’clock. Which was a shame, because…

…because that’s when the light got really magical.

There is a grist mill on the property, down a bit from the main house, closer to the water. Top Cat wants to petition the county (who owns this whole property) to let him live here. The mill, like the mansion, (if you look closely), is a shambles. Top Cat thinks that if he offers to fix the place up, the county manager will let him live here for free.

Everybody should have a dream.

I must admit. It’s a nice dream.

The county had a dream for Cedarmere, once upon a time.

They kept the house open for watercolor classes in the Summer. And they put one of the Parks Commissioners’ office here. 

And, three years ago, they had the great idea of using William Cullen Bryant’s old pear orchard as the centerpiece for an annual Fall Pear Festival

They thought yeah, that’s what Nassau County needs! An outlet for all that pent-up yearning for pear-flavored fruit! A Fall Pear Festival!!

It lasted one year. And now the house is shut down “until further notice”. The paint is peeling. Some of the windows are boarded up. Teen age boys hang out here, smoking cigars. (Yes. Cigars. Probably Cubans. What can I say? It’s Long Island.) 

And this is the only pear I found in the whole orchard. (Pears are supposed to ripen in the Fall. It’s only August. Global warming?)

But the sunset, William Cullen Bryant’s sun set, is as fine as ever.

(Swans. Mother, Father, and three almost full-grown grey ducklings. Who’d a thunk it, on Long Island??)

Ah. A slice of August life.

Catch it, if you can.

P.S. Visit our favorite writer in Buenos Aires, American novelist Donigan Merritt, at his blog at:

10 comments to The Long Goodbye.

  • Deborah

    What a shame to let the property languish. It looks like they do mow the property, at least.

    I want that mill house, too. I’ve been wanting to build a spirit house for my garden, and I think the mill house (especially the entry) would be a great design.

  • That looks magical. The afternoon light is divine. What a great way to pass the dog days of August. You have a knack for finding gorgeous spots. That mill house looks like it would be very cozy, and look at those views. And that top cat, what a catch!

  • Shelley

    What a beautiful, peaceful place. Thanks for sharing it with us. The mill house is absolutely wonderful. I can certainly see why Top Cat is ready to move in!

  • This is beautiful. There’s so much of Long Island that isn’t being utilized (and the wrong things that are…- at least when I lived there 20 years ago it was like that, but I was out in Suffolk.)

  • Rachel

    Sadly I could see the denoumont coming, that the property is *closed.* All over the ocuntry there is no money for the kind of *frills* that civilize a society. So glad that you and TC were still able to access the grounds for this beautiful evening.

  • mary

    Vivian; I’ve returned to this site three times already today. It is peaceful and beautiful. Did you say there were millions of people within 20 square miles of you?–something like that.?

    How do you find these lovely places near New York City? Has Top Cat found them because he’s always lived there? How can you work full time, take care of ferel cats, and enjoy evenings of bliss–just enjoying what is all around you.
    That’s why you wrote WTCTR. You have taught us how to stop and “smell the roses”.

  • Barbara

    We were at Cedarmere yesterday for the first
    time! Sad to see the state of disrepair, but enjoyed exploring the property and seeing the view.

  • JOAN

    So sad to see these once elegant estates fall to tatters. The Mill House is enchanting, at least in the photo. August may be your farewell to summer but where I live (intermountain high desert) it won’t be the end until October.

    I hope you find some more gorgeous spots to show us as you bid fare thee well to summer.

  • Jacquelyn Hoag

    VISITING OREGON COUNTRY IN THE MONTH OF AUGUST: I too had a house that I would go to and fantasize all manner of things…this was the Franceshi Estate on the Riviera in Santa Barbara. This historical place was closed and in such a sad state of disrepair. Now I am inspired to google it up and see what is transpiring there as my family no longer living in SB. But right now, we are off to visit and explore the Ace Hotel in downtown Portland after a stop at Powells Books.
    Leaves have begun to fall here….I feel a bit of September in the night chill altho the days are getting quite warm (short small heat wave)
    I am surprised you didn’t ask us readers what dreams we made while visiting old abandoned places. I think they must collect and harbor them.

  • nicole

    Your beautiful pictures of the ‘two week long goodbye’ remind me of a song I learned way back in the last millenium – ‘So watch your summers with an open eye, listen with an open ear, for the winds that blow and the leaves that fall, won’t blow, won’t fall, next year. Round goes the autumn wind, swiftly fades the breeze, summer dies the sweetest death that I have ever seen’.

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