(Long Island, NY) Every year has a wonderful new beginning like a spectacular golden sunrise of each new day and my husband and I traditionally spend our New Years Eve at the elegant and charming Coral house in Baldwin, New York. Their New Years Eve Gala is personified class and style with every bit of the charm of a quaint New England Country Inn.
Set on the shores of sparkling Milburn Lake, the Coral House offers a stunning location for any grand celebration whether it is a traditional wedding, bat mitzvahs or anniversary it offers its patrons a charming venue that rivals others. The Coral House’s renowned cuisine is an eclectic mixture of international and American favorites. My husband and I have celebrated many events and New Years Galas at this fabulous nostalgic venue that I decided it was time to write a story about this lovely place.
I started to do some research about the Coral house and spoke to some of the friendly staff. Laurie Esposito who took my reservation started to tell me the fascinating history of the town of Baldwin and The Coral House itself.
The town of Baldwin was originally named after Thomas Baldwin (1795-1872). He was sixth generation resident of Hempstead town who lived with family of three children and wife in Hicks Neck an area between Parsonage Creek near Oceanside. Mr. Baldwin owned a hotel and general store called T. Baldwin and Son. The Baldwin family did much for the community that by 1855 the village was renamed Baldwinsville in their honor. In 1871, the name was changed to Baldwin so it would not be confused with Baldwinsville in upstate New York. The village was officially called Baldwin in 1892.
In the early days a tavern, known as Milburn Inn was erected near the mill. Besides serving as a popular meeting place for local residents, the inn was also once used as a courthouse and jail. In later days it was run by Ben Homan, then by Smith Pettit. The inn still stands on the northeast corner of Merrick Rd. and Milburn Ave. moved back fifty feet from its original location.
Lott’s Landing and Lott’s Inn were established on the waterfront and, as years went by, this landing became an important shipping point for the people of Hempstead Town. Here coastwise sailing vessels loaded and unloaded and a packet ran daily between Lott’s Landing and New York City.
There were other important landings, among them Bedell’s and Tredwell’s. After 1850, however, shipping declined due to competition with the Long Island Rail Road. Some of the captains in the early days were Henry Jackson, John Jackson, Daniel Bedell, Joseph Johnson, John Thomas, Thomas Raynor, and Benjamin Tredwell.
In the latter part of the 1800’s a gentleman by the name of Charles Noble opened a hotel and restaurant in the old Tredwell homestead (now the Coral House) and called it “the Willows” it was the third hotel at the corners of the Milburn area.
During my conversation with Ms. Esposito at the Coral House, she revealed that later on two gentlemen by the name of Felix and Pierre bought the old Coral house and made it into a flamboyant speakeasy and named it Corbon Rouge Restaurant. To the dismay of many people, another first was made in 1920 by the United States Government. A Prohibition Law was passed making alcoholic drinks illegal. Dealers who smuggled illegal alcoholic drinks into the Baldwin area were called bootleggers and rum-runners. Often, large boats in the ocean waters off Baldwin were met at night by smaller speedboats that carried cased of illegal drinks to the shore and waiting trucks to be sold to various restaurants such as Corbon Rouge Restaurant (The Coral House). The liquor was brought to the Coral House’s underground tunnels and hidden passageways.
Back in the 1920s it was a big deal to drive up Grand Avenue all the way to the North Shore and tool around. There weren’t many cars on the north-south roads in those day, but on weekends Merrick Road was jammed around Baldwin with people driving from the city out toward the East End and back. One of the highlights was when Baldwin resident and actor Victor Moore was making silent films – his Klever Komedies – in Baldwin. Mr. Moore would make these short, one-reel films and he would always shoot around the Coral House by the lake.
Ms. Esposito also revealed that throughout the years the staff has encountered paranormal activity late at night. Doors opening and closing, the sound of footsteps up and down the stairs even the scent of perfume when no one was in the room have given the Coral House an aura of mystery and romantic charm.
Since 1977, Coral House on Milburn Lake has been one of Long Island’s premier event facilities. Over the past nearly three decades, owner Bill Ferguson and his staff—many whom have been with the Coral House since the beginning—have hosted some of the region’s most memorable events, including weddings from the most intimate to the truly grand, joyous anniversary and birthday celebrations, engagement parties and bridal showers, business meetings and conferences, banquets, bar and bat mitzvahs, retirement and corporate parties, and so much more.
My husband and I truly enjoyed ourselves on caviar, champagne, lobster and shrimp as we toasted the New Year at the Coral house.
For more information please visit www.coralhouse.com.