“SECOND HOUSE” IN MONTAUK, out at the tip of Long Island, is so called because it was — you guessed it — the second house built there, when Montauk’s 15,000 acres comprised America’s first cattle ranch. First House, built in 1744, burned down long ago. Second House, now a museum maintained by the Montauk Historical Society, went up in 1797 — the oldest parts of it, anyway.
It served as an inn for travelers, fishermen, and hunters, later as a summer home for a family named Kennedy. I’d driven past it many times but never found it open.
Today I went inside for the first time (it’s open every day but Wednesday in summer) and can report that Second House is filled with furnishings in styles ranging from Colonial to Victorian, along with displays of old tools and framed photographs of local scenes.
There’s also an array of Montauk-abilia, including an arresting portrait of Stephen Talkhouse, below, the legendary 19th century Montauk Indian and Civil War vet said to be able to walk from Montauk to Brooklyn (a distance of 100 miles) in a day.
There’s a fine cottage garden surrounded by a picket fence, and an interesting rockery/herb garden alongside one of the outbuildings.
For the $4 price of admission, it’s definitely something to keep in mind for a rainy day at the beach.