Where: Lakeland County Park, Islandia
What: Hiking (trail, boardwalk/ dirt)
Snacks: Cornucopia Natural Foods, Sayville
Let’s go! Lakeland County Park has an address; a real address. This is a miracle of sorts since most trail head finding is an elaborate guessing game. Use 176 Johnson Avenue, Islandia NY 11749 for your GPS. There are also public restrooms so, true treat – obviously.
Lakeland boasts basketball courts, a full playground and accessible trails. I, myself can’t resist the swings. There is a decent sized parking area that I have yet to see full.
The trails here consist of unpaved dirt and a raised boardwalk. The boardwalk is loose in a few spots but nothing unsettling. Watch where you step – not everyone frequenting the park is courteous enough to clean up after their pets. (Yes, I’ve stepped in it. Yes, I’m bitter.)
Weave through the boardwalk and follow the signs for ‘Honey Suckle Pond.’ It is haunting but not in an unsettling way. For me, Lakeland offers a sense of ease. Pass the pond and you’ll see a shady graffiti covered underpass. Train tracks above it will give you a slight “Stand by Me,” vibe — if you’re old enough. I assure you, it won’t be nearly as death defying.
Speaking of graffiti, Lakeland is full of it. The boardwalk seems to invite it. If you end up on the dirt trail, be mindful or you’ll get a far longer adventure than you planned for. The 30+ mile Greenbelt Trail* enters the park. It is marked by signs and white trail blazes. There are also scattered blue blazes for a horse path.
Overall, enjoy the park. Lounge on the many benches. Go down the slide like you’re a kid again. Have a picnic in their well kept picnic area. You’ll occasionally get a whiff of marijuana but you won’t be able to find the source. Teenagers are crafty. Don’t let this turn you off.
My snacking habit brought me to Cornucopia Natural Foods. It is a small organic grocery store and deli – from black bean burgers to specialty chocolates to smoothies. It is essentially a prepared foods wonderland. I wanted a mint chip smoothie but they’d finished their mint for the day so I opted to try a specialty chocolate from Honey Mama’s to get that mint craving satisfied.
*It is on the list!
See you on the trails!