Prospect Park

Where: Prospect Park (Brooklyn, NY)

What: Walk (trail, paved, cobble stone)

Snacks: Blue Marble Ice Cream (Brooklyn, NY)

You can drive here if you want to. You can find some street parking and various parking garages. I took the LIRR and the the subway (2 or the 3 to the Brooklyn Museum stop). Various entrances are walkable from various other subways, this one is just the simplest, in my opinion. Go to the museum too, and the botanical gardens and the library. Certainly, if you’re schlepping into Brooklyn, make a full day of it. This is especially true if you’re an East Ender like me.

Prospect Park has everything you’d expect from a large urban green space: baseball fields, sledding hills, ample walking spaces, people playing quidditch as best they can, a zoo, dogs, people on cell phones and inline skates. Oh and a carousel. It isn’t an unpopular park by any stretch. Even at thirty degrees the park was full. When I say full I mean that you can’t get a moment away from other people anywhere in the park. You also can’t escape the road noise; it is Brooklyn after all. I can’t imagine what summer in Prospect Park is like. I mean, I can, I’ve been there but, I don’t want to. I don’t know if you’ve picked up on this yet, dear reader but I don’t like crowds and I’m not really a people person.

I entered by the archway across from the library; roaming the park for an hour and a half. I took the perimeter loop, which is roughly three and a half miles with various intersections. You can see a good portion of the park if you block out two or so hours. There are lots of benches and grassy areas if you need a break from exploring. The park is filled with maps and signage leading you to popular destination points. Maps are also available online (https://www.prospectpark.org/media/filer_public/7f/88/7f88b8ca-f614-4cf4-9761-7e3097e74753/prospect_park_running_map.pdf).

I don’t dawdle. I walk frustratingly fast when I’ve got lots to see and limited time. The city brings this out times infinity. Pro tip – play video games it will help with your spacial awareness and navigating through the dense fog of other people.

For this trip I overindulged on ice cream at Blue Marble. Ignore how smooth that is, I forgot to take a photo before starting. I promised myself that I wouldn’t skimp on food photos. Small warning to those that don’t like being around children – Blue Marble has a play area and is extremely child friendly.

See you on the trails,

x

Jess

HikeBeyondLI: Teddy Roosevelt Island

Where: Teddy Roosevelt Island (Washington D.C.) and the Mt. Vernon Trail (Washington D.C. to Mt. Vernon)

What: Hike (trail, unpaved // trail, paved)

Snacks: Baked & Wired (Washington D.C.)

Teddy Roosevelt Island is near the trail head at the start of the Mt. Vernon Trail, which stretches 18 miles from D.C. to Mt. Vernon. It ends at George Washington’s Mt. Vernon Estate. The trail is paved, Teddy Roosevelt Island is not. Years ago, I cycled the trail from end to end and back in the rain. It was my birthday present to myself and well worth it, even after the fall. The trail is gorgeous, but crowded. Be alert. The Mt. Vernon side is narrower and hillier than the D.C. side. Around Alexandria, VA you have to navigate some urban cycling.

There are parking areas scattered along the trail. The one for Teddy Roosevelt Island is found by using GPS for the Island itself. It holds a fair amount of vehicles but fills up fast. The island is open to foot traffic only.

Choose between the mile and a half Swamp trail or the shorter Upland and Woods trails. If you choose to do all three it is around three miles. The trails encircle a Teddy Roosevelt Memorial. There are also port-a-potties on the Island. Their cleanliness isn’t known to your author.

The loop around Teddy Roosevelt Island has great views of the city. You’ll also have access to benches and part of the loops is boardwalk. Continue on the Mt. Vernon trail if you’d like to extend your walk.

For snacks head to Baked & Wired. It is a super popular coffee shop with cupcakes, breakfast fare and of course coffee. Perhaps I went a little overboard?

See you on the trails,

x

Jessa

HikeBeyondLI: Seneca Landing Park

Where: Seneca Landing Park (Darnestown, Maryland) and The C&O Canal Path (Washington D.C. to Cumberland Maryland)

What: Hike (trail, unpaved)

Snacks: Vie de France (Potomac, Maryland)

Seneca Landing Park is located around mile 22 of the C&O Canal Path. The C&O is a 180 mile path stretching from the Georgetown neighborhood in D.C. through Harper’s Ferry West Virginia to Cumberland Maryland. One day I hope to cycle it from end to end. It consists of various terrain from gravel to boardwalk to pavement.

We come to Seneca Landing today to look for the ruins of the Seneca Quarry. Park at the end of Riley’s Lock Road, near the canal. There is a large dirt lot with kayak rentals. I saw some winter kayakers trying to break through the ice. Good luck to them. Head right as you enter the park. Follow the C&O until you see it split to the right around a small body of water. Follow that around until the ruins appear on your right.

There are extensive no trespassing signs around the ruins. As always, I’m not advocating trespassing.

After the ruins, go back the way you came. I chose to continue walking along the C&O until around mile 25 before heading back to the car. There was some snow and some slick areas but overall it was a nice, soothing walk. Something about a winter twilight walk is magical.

Head to Vie de France for some strong coffee and French baked goods.

See you on the trails,

x

Jessa

HikeLI: Cedar Point Park

Where: Cedar Point County Park (East Hampton, NY)

What: Hike (trail, sand, unpaved)

Snacks: Grindstone Coffee & Donuts (Sag Harbor, NY)

Hello friends! Welcome. Fancy a drive out east? Farther east than we’ve ever been together? Yes! Thanks for coming.

We’re going to Cedar Creek County Park in East Hampton (5 Cedar Point Road) to see the abandoned lighthouse. The trip, from the paved lot is between 5 and 6 miles. Two of which are on the beach so prepare for sand. For reference, my GPS said 5.7, my friend’s said 5.9 and All Trails clocks it at 5.3. If you drive deeper into the park, there is a beach lot, which will cut your trip down to roughly two sandy miles. If you go this route, you’ll miss a lot of beauty. Follow the yellow blazes to get to your destination. Please note, the trail is not marked on the beach.

The trail begins in the woods and meanders on rolling hills until you reach sandy bluffs. Unlike many county parks the trail head is marked with an awning. Nice and easy. The bluffs are closed due to erosion but you can still see the beauty of Gardiners Bay. There is a path around bluffs.

You’ll come to a sandy parking lot, head toward the water and to the left. You’ll be able to see the lighthouse in the distance. It feels as far away as it looks. Once you get to the lighthouse, if you walk onto the balcony, be careful- it’s slippery. You cannot go inside the structure.

To get back to your car, head the way you came. It can get a little confusing to find the trail after the beach.

After the park we head into Sag Harbor for Grindstone Coffee & Donuts. Oddly enough, no coffee and donuts for this girl just a super cinnamon infused hot apple cider. It really hit the spot after a chilly winter hike.

See you on the trails,

x

Jessa

HikeLI: Udall’s Cove Park Preserve

Where: Udall’s Cove Park Preserve (Little Neck, NY)

What: Hike (trail, unpaved)

Snacks: Bean & Bean (Little Neck, NY)

Udall’s Cove Park Preserve is located in Queens at the end of 34th Avenue in Little Neck. It’s kinda sorta off of Northern Boulevard (the Queens name for 25A) and I kinda sorta have no idea how to find it without GPS. You see, I found Udall’s Cove purely by accident after a cooking class in Manhasset. Do you do that? Just drive around when you’re in an unfamiliar area? No? Only me?

Udall’s Cove has space for about four cars at the trail head but don’t be surprised if all of those spots are taken by people that live in the neighborhood. It seems more like a cul-de-sac than an official parking lot anyway. Parking comes at premium ’round these parts. Street parking is allowed.

This place reminds me of a city version of a lover’s lane – right before the unnamed character gets murdered. It is eerily quiet for the City – marshy and mucky. If I were a little kid this is definitely a place where I would stand in the mud and pretend that it was quicksand. But, it is obvious that people don’t use this space to experience nature. Watch for debris – beer cans, and unfortunately needles.

The park is accompanied by Native American lore. Giants at war shaped the coastlines of the Long Island Sound by hurling boulders. But the space isn’t respected as an avenue to learn history. It is unfortunate.

Head to Bean & Bean on Northern Boulevard for delicious coffee, tasty treats and warm but industrial atmosphere.

See you on the trails,

x

Jessa

HikeLI: Sans Souci County Park

Where: Sans Souci County Park (Sayville, NY)

What: Hiking (trail, unpaved)

Snacks: Little Nook Café (West Sayville, NY)

Take Sunrise Highway to exit 51 and go south on Broadway Avenue. Wave to the almost defunct Sun Vet Mall. The park entrance will be on your left about a quarter mile south of the Target. It is a nice Target; in case you were wondering.

This is definitely a head up focus on where you’re going kind of park. The trails are well marked but there are a lot of intersections – most of which aren’t listed as official park trails. Some go into residential neighborhoods, one can kind of take you to a train station or into the Girl Scout camp and more still to parts unknown. I love a good mystery, don’t you? Maybe not while I’m alone in the woods. Speaking of mystery, there were a few missing pet posters on the white trail. It creates an eerie feeling.

Sans Souci is French for ‘without worry,’ which is a nice well wish for walking around a park with mystery trails. Officially, the park is comprised of a yellow connecting trail, a 1 or so mile white trail and a 2 mile orange trail. I spent about two hours in the park using the marked trails and testing a few of the unmarked pathways – particularly around the lake.

The orange trail parallels a Girl Scout camp, which makes it very clear that trespassing is not allowed. The grounds beg to be explored but, I’m not telling you to trespass. For a time, the orange trail hugs a lake with an unmarked trail that loops partially around. You get better lake water views from the unmarked trail, but watch your footing as it gets very narrow near the edge of the water.

The white trail, while the shorter of the two is hillier and has some boardwalks over water. You can’t hear busy Broadway Avenue. Sometimes, it is nice to pretend that you aren’t on Long Island.

Lots of folks bring dogs here, they usually mill around by the parking lot and many are off leash. If off leash dogs bother you, I would skip this one. Deeper into the trails, I didn’t pass anyone despite a full parking lot. Otherwise, it is a great little walk with some serene features.

There is no better way to describe the Little Nook Café other than eclectic. Hours listed on the door say 10-3ish don’t let that deter you, just try the door (I think 3ish refers to AM based on their social media but I’ve never asked). They have evening activities like open mic and game nights. You can get anything from vegan pizza (or Nutella marshmallow dessert pizza) to espresso concoctions to so so many sweet treats.

See you on the trails!

x

Jessa

BikeLI: Cupsogue Beach County Park

Where: Cupsogue Beach County Park (Westhampton, NY)

What: Bike (Road)

Snacks: Hampton Coffee (Westhampton Beach, NY)

Cupsogue Beach County Park sits at the western most end of Dune Road. Dune Road is a destination in of itself if you want to take a slow ride along the coast and see some enormous homes. If I’m being frank, I don’t know if there are any full time residents; it’s so quiet this time of year.

Dune Road is a roughly 14 mile stretch of road connecting Westhampton Dunes to Hampton Bays. It is flat, well maintained and idyllic. The road, however is prone to floods as evidence by the pools of water and homes on stilts. The speed limit is very strict.

The Hampton Bays side boasts restaurants and night life hot spots – some of which have been open since I was in high school. They might be passé at this point but, I wouldn’t know. Beaches, both public and private dot Dune road. The Westhampton side boasts the most popular beach of all – Cupsogue. Parking fee applies during the on season.

For me, the beach isn’t the big draw. It’s a great beach, don’t get me wrong but it’s a hot spot on season and a brooding patch of sand in the off season. It’s always dreary in the winter. I recall being in college and trying to get onto the beach at night, thwarted, always by local police. The draw for me is Dune road itself and the promise of quiet cycling in early winter.

I bike from the Westhampton side to the Hampton Bays side and always manage to catch a head wind on the way back. It’s daunting, but worth it. I do wish Surf Shack had winter hours, but that’s neither here nor there. A beer rounding out mile 24 or so sounds stellar.

After a wonderful, brisk ride I headed to Hampton Coffee Company for a cappuccino. The foam is the best part.

Make sure to rinse the sand from your bike.

See you on the trails,

x

Jessa