Plum Island Trip


AUGUST 5, 2013  - 9:00 pm -2:30 pm

If you are not a member and would like to participate, you need to become a member of the museum before your registration can be processed. You can sign up for membership online.

We will take a boat from Orient Point, NY to Plum Island, where the Department of Homeland Security and a museum representative will conduct the tour.

Participants will take a bus tour around the island, where they will see the famous Plum Island lighthouse, the remains of Fort Terry, and reputably the most beautiful white sand beach on the East End of Long Island. 

A Brief History

Plum Island has a rich history. It was called “Manittuwond” by the Indians, meaning “where we grow corn.”  The first map of Plum Island was prepared by Adriaen Block in 1614, a Dutch trader employed by the Dutch East India Company.  He is also credited with discovering Block Island.

The Dutch named the island after the beach plum that grows along its shores. Wyandanch, Sachem of the Montauketts sold the island to English settler Samuel Wyllys in 1659. 

Plum Island was the site of the first skirmish between the Continental Army and the British in the Revolutionary War.  On August 11, 1775 the Americans landed on the island in an attempt to round up the sheep and keep them from British troops as food.  (We lost the skirmish but ended up winning the war.)

In the late 1880s, the island became a well known place for sportsmen, including President Grover Cleveland.  Fort Terry was built in 1897 as an artillery post to protect the US coast from enemy ships during the Spanish-American War and later served as a lookout for German U-boats and planes during WWII.

Plum Island Lighthouse was closed in June 1978.  The lighthouse’s Fresnel lens and clockwork mechanism can be seen at the East End Seaport Museum.

Special Guests

We will have two special guests with us on this year’s trip:

Richard Kenny was the lighthouse keeper on Plum Island during 1973-74.  He’ll talk about life on the island and his encounters with Col. Thomas Gardiner’s ghost.

Gary Garren grew up on Plum Island and will share his experiences with the group.


If you are interested in registering, please send an email with “Plum Island Trip” in the subject line to

Trip registrants are processed on a “First Come, First Served” basis.  You will be contacted to provide personal information required by the Department of Homeland Security.  No binoculars, cameras or photography is permitted.

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