What to see and do in Douglaston, Queens [Closer than You Think]

Blowing reeds, rippling water and swans—this peaceful scene looks more like the English countryside than Queens, but residents of Douglaston call this place home. This community in northeastern Queens sits just at the Nassau County border.

To get a sense of just how special it is, I spoke to architect and unofficial historian Kevin Wolfe.

"The largest building boom in the United States happened here as the railroad connected the city, Manhattan, to the suburbs," he said.

Douglaston was named after the Douglas family. Its mile-long waterfront is a big draw. Wolfe said the Douglas family had a 200-foot yachting pier that was used for swimming and boating. The family promoted the athletic lifestyle of the community.

Tree-lined streets and gorgeous mansions make this neighborhood charming. Douglaston Parkway is where you'll find quaint shops. A mile away is the Douglaston Park Golf Course on Marathon Parkway.

The golf course is adjacent to Douglaston Manor, a historic home turned catering facility, which hosts indoor and outdoor ceremonies and cocktail hours.

If you get hungry in Douglaston, check out Il Toscano, a tiny restaurant that reminds you of being in Tuscany. It is known for its handmade pasta. Alex Privilegi, the owner, said three things make the difference between a good restaurant and a great restaurant: making fresh pasta daily, going to the market for the best ingredients, and family.

Douglaston is a little slice of heaven in Queens. And it is closer than you think.