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Home > About Us > The Estate and Environs - Vanderbilt Tea House

The Estate and Environs
Vanderbilt Tea House

Vanderbilt Tea House The accessory building that today looks least like it did when constructed sits on the water's edge where the Connetquot River approaches the Great South Bay. The Vanderbilt Tea House was built in 1888 according the plans of architect Isaac H. Green, of Sayville, and included in his photograph album of houses.

The one and a half story building had a brick first floor and half-timbered and stucco second floor. A gable roof with twin chimneys at opposite gables topped the tea house. The diamond pane casement windows had granite sills.

The Tea House was a favorite spot of the Vanderbilts. Members of the family would take a carriage ride to the tea house for refreshments and conversation during the warm summer afternoons. It was also used for clambakes. Consuelo was particularly fond of taking friends there on the "Mosquito, "a small Vanderbilt side-wheeler. The canal was extended to the Tea House so that she could make the journey from the mansion through the Idle Hour canal system without entering the wider portion of the river and being subjected to the splashes of the waves there. Even today the street which provides access to the restaurant is named Consuelo Place in her honor.

After the Vanderbilts sold Idle Hour, the Tea House continued in its entertainment function. Because of a huge tin kettle sign which hung over the entrance, it was at one time called "The Singing Kettle." In the 1950's, it was run as a tavern called Hotel Pirnat. For many years it was the Saxon Arms Restaurant, and later became the Riverview. It has been extensively remodeled and enlarged, but still includes an original room with fireplaces at each end and diamond paned windows. It attracts customers for the same reason the Tea House attracted the Vanderbilts and their friends -- the beautiful water view and the cooling sea breezes.

Now a visit to the home of Iron horse - The Oakdale Railroad Station.