7 Places to Experience Gatsby’s World

by  Teresa Bitler | May 10, 2013
The Biltmore
The Biltmore / Photo courtesy of the property

Director Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby" – starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, and Tobey Maguire – brings to life the lavish, decadent Jazz Age. Although those days are long gone, you can still step into Jay Gatsby’s world with these seven destinations and experiences.

Oheka Castle, Long Island

Said to be the inspiration for Gatsby’s mansion, Oheka Castle dominates the Gold Coast on Long Island’s north shore. Imagine attending a Gatsby gala as you tour the estate and gardens. Or, book a room and stay the night here. Other estates – including Old Westbury Gardens, Vanderbilt’s Eagle’s Nest, and the three mansions at Sands Point Preserve – can also be toured.

Great Gatsby Boat Tour, Long Island

For a different Long Island perspective, take to the sea. The tour sails past the Prohibition era mansions of King’s Point (the inspiration for West Egg) and Sand’s Point (East Egg).

Bobby’s, New York City

If you want great jazz in The City that Never Sleeps, head to Bobby’s. The art deco-style nightclub features live acts and encourages dancing. You almost expect to see Gatsby at the champagne bar. Another option: Bobby’s Jazz Club in Baltimore. Tin ceiling. Long wooden bar. Great live jazz. Need I say more?

Franklin Mortgage & Investment Company, Philadelphia

The original Franklin Mortgage & Investment Company served as a front for the largest alcohol ring in the country. Whether Gatsby used a similar – albeit smaller – front or not, he would have supplied the speakeasies that today’s Franklin Mortgage & Investment Company emulates. You can sip craft cocktails like the ones found here at speakeasies throughout the nation, including Tavern Law in Seattle, Speakeasy in Cleveland, and Singlebarrel in San Jose. Check out more hidden bars in NYC.

The Rum Runners Tour, Ontario, Canada

Want to learn more about rum running? The Rum Runners Tour enlists a full cast of costumed characters to tell the story of Ontario’s role in smuggling illegal alcohol into the States. At the end of the tour, celebrate Prohibition’s repeal at The Canadian Club Brand Heritage Center with a tasting of Canadian Club Whiskeys.

Biltmore, Asheville, North Carolina

The 250-room Biltmore is just the sort of place where Gatsby might get away from it all. Built by George Vanderbilt, the French chateau sits on an 8,000-acre estate that includes gardens, stables, and a winery. Vanderbilt Grace, the private Newport, Rhode Island residence of Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, offers urban luxury as an alternative. For a more Southern experience, though, visit The Willcox in Aiken, South Carolina.

Hearst Castle, San Simeon, California

If Gatsby built a West Coast retreat for himself, we imagine it would be something similar to Hearst Castle. The Spanish Revival mansion features 56 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms, 19 sitting rooms, 127 acres of gardens, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts, a movie theater, an airfield and the world’s largest private zoo. It’s the perfect setting for an epic party.

Are you seeing the movie? What are your favorite Gatsby-inspired destinations or experiences?

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