Grey Gardens and 4 More Historic Homes on East Hampton Historical Society’s House & Garden Tour

East Hampton House & Garden Tour, Grey Gardens
Grey Gardens is on the East Hampton Historical Society’s 38th annual post-Thanksgiving house tour.
Courtesy of VERANDA Magazine/Pascal Chevallier

The East Hampton Historical Society will hold its 38th annual House & Garden Tour, celebrating five well-known historic houses, including the Grey Gardens, over Thanksgiving weekend.

“From East Hampton Village to the Devon Colony, the Historical Society’s annual House Tour offers a once-in-a-lifetime glimpse inside some of our town’s most storied residences,” the announcement from the historical society states. “Drenched in history, pedigree, and local lore, this year’s tour is sure to inspire, delight and invite appreciation for the stewardship of some of our most charming properties.”

The self-guided tour will take place on Saturday, Nov. 25, from 1 to 4:30 p.m., with a kick-off cocktail party slated for Friday, Nov. 24.

Perhaps the most stories of the home is Grey Gardens, a 19th-century shingle-style house, famously home to the Beales, relatives of Jackie Kennedy. Known as Big Edie and Little Edie, who were recluses in their home, were the subject of a 1975 documentary, later turned into a 2006 Broadway musical, and a 2009 HBO television movie.

The house is now owned by Liz Lange, a designer, who has reimagined Grey Gardens with bold and glamourous interiors and lush gardens, all of which can be explored during the East Hampton House & Garden Tour.

East Hampton House & Garden Tour
The village retreat at Wiborg BeachCourtesy of the East Hampton Historical Society

An artist retreat with Hollywood history is next up on the tour. The oceanfront residence overlooking Wiborg Beach features water views thanks to also being 300 yards from the pond. A long low modernist cottage, built in 1960, it was remodeled and redesigned in 2011 and features decking, a dramatic swimming pool and huge plane glass windows.

Wiborg Beach was made famous by Sara Wiborg and Gerald Murphy (The Fabulous Murphys of international socialite fame in the 1920s), the historical society’s announcement explains, as they met and fell in love there.

“Another love story by the current owner, Ted Hartley – a former U.S. Navy fighter pilot, investment banker, actor, film producer, and East End artist, and his wife Dina Merrill (1923 – 2017), actress, heiress, socialite, businesswoman, and philanthropist – also enjoyed the same intoxicating crimson sunsets for which Long Island has become famous – all from their decking.”

East Hampton House & Garden Tour
The Main Street home was built in 1799.Courtesy of the East Hampton Historical Society

A Main Street home, first built in 1799, is also included on the tour. This three-story building was originally the East Hampton Postmaster’s house where mail was sorted for residents. The first example of a shingle-style house in the village, it also boasts the second gambrel roof on a Long Island home.

“Over the centuries the house has been meticulously maintained, restored, and enhanced to bring it up to 21st-century standards,” the society says.

In the early 20th century, it was the home of May Groot Manson, one of East Hampton’s leading suffragettes. She also hosted the East Hampton Garden Club’s first plant sale on the grounds of this home in the 1910s.

Windy Dune is one of the two historic homes on the tour in the Devon Colony.Francis Fleetwood, Courtesy Fleetwood, McMullan & Sanabria Architects

Take a ride to the Devon Colony in Amagansett for a look at two historic residences, Windy Dune and The Procter House.

The residential enclave was created at the turn of the 20th century by four wealthy businessmen from Cincinnati; Richmond Levering, William Cooper Procter (a grandson of a Procter & Gamble founder William Procter), Joseph Rawson Jr. and William Stanhope Rowe. Procter and Levering, who had visited the area in 1906 for a hunting trip, bought the land and built grand stucco houses, along with two smaller ones. “Because their wealth came largely from Procter & Gamble, famous for Ivory soap, the Colony was irreverently nicknamed Soap Hill,” the society explains.

Windy Dune and The Procter House were both built around 1910. The former was originally called, Red Roof, but after the 1938 Hurricane blew its red tile roofs right off, it was renamed, “Windy Dune.”

The Procter House was one of the first homes to be built in the Devon Colony.Courtesy of the East Hampton Historical Society

A cocktail party will be held at Maidstone Club on Friday, Nov. 24. Tickets to the party are $250 each, which includes entry to the House & Garden Tour the following day. 

Tickets for the house tour only are $85 in advance and $100 on the day of the tour.

Both raise money for the society and its educational initiatives.

Tickets can be purchased on the society’s website, by calling 631-324-6850 or by visiting Clinton Academy at 151 Main Street on Friday, Nov. 24 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, Nov. 25, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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