HikeLI: Valley Stream State Park

Where: Valley Stream State Park (Valley Stream, NY)

What: Bike (paved, asphalt)

Snacks: Sip This (Valley Stream, NY)*

Valley Stream State Park is exit 15A off the Southern State Parkway, eastbound only. The 97 acre park is in a highly populated residential area on Long Island’s south shore. Much like most of South Western Nassau County it is a little crowded and a little dusty.

There is a small section of nature trail. By my very scientific meandering estimates, it’s about 3/4 of a mile. The whole thing is overgrown so watch for poison ivy and check yourself for ticks.

The paved portion is a 2.7 mile loop. It’s cute for a few passes. If slowing down for pedestrians and watching for people isn’t your thing skip this one. You’ll find people just hanging around on the loop standing and chatting or playing phone games. Apparently the park is great for Pokémon catching. I cannot independently confirm this.

Maybe I’m bias but Valley Stream State Park is better served as a family picnic spot than an outdoor adventure spot. I say this because we used to have our family reunions here. No picnic today and no family reunion since 1994 but I did head to Sip This for a dirty chai and a good book.

See you on the trails,



*As of June 26, 2020 this location is closed.

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,



BikeLI: Port Jefferson – Setauket Greenway

Where: Port Jefferson – Setauket Greenway, Port Jefferson Entrance

What: Biking (trail, paved)

Snacks: All around Port Jefferson

I use this trail when I really want to feel it in my legs and in my chest. This trail is hilly and starting from one entrance as opposed to another doesn’t spare you. Think of it like a 6.4 mile HITT workout.

The trail isn’t a head down, enjoy the ride kind of trail. You have to be as vigilant as you would be on the road. There are leashed dogs, ample runners and walkers, and small switchbacks on downhills. The greenway also has more street crossings than miles. Some street crossings beep at you, others are four way stops with the road, but, most are just wooden poles that alert cars not to turn down the trail. You’ll always have a stop sign.

The roads are typically quiet. From the Port Jefferson side, the last 3/4 of a mile takes you to the busiest road of the trail, here you’ll have to ride the road under a narrow overpass to reconnect with the trail. Sometimes I skip this part if the road is too crowded. Narrow road, combined with foot, cycle and motorized traffic? Too rich for my blood. There is another small parking lot just before this section and it makes for a natural turn around spot.

The trail might be short but the ride is satisfying. There is an old factory near the start of the trail on the Port Jefferson side. Usually it is a quiet graffiti covered husk. Sometimes it whirs and bangs. There are probably zombies inside, honestly. It fits.

Make sure your bike is tuned up and ready to go. While on the trail, my brakes started squeaking. Squeaking brakes on a hilly trail isn’t ideal, obviously. I took my bike to local bike shop, Campus Bicycle for some TLC. They fixed baby right up.

While waiting I took the time to frolic in Port Jefferson. It is a great little town and it is so difficult to pick one place to snack. Breakfast? Coffee? Treats? High tea? The choice is yours and yours alone. Me? Donuts from East Main and Main, and coffee and pastries from Locals, and hot chocolate from Tiger Lily (cash only). Not all at once! Just naming some of my favorites.

See you on the trails!



Bike LI: Veteran’s Memorial Park

Where: Veteran’s Memorial Park, Calverton

What: Bike (road, paved)

Snacks: Hollywood Sweets, Ridge

Let’s begin! I love Veteran’s Memorial Park and I love it even more now that the paved trail extends another five miles. Last year it was a mere six mile out and back (3 miles each way). This year they’ve extended it to sixteen miles (8 miles out and back!!!). You can walk / run the trail but there might not be enough visual stimulus to keep you going. I’ve seen rollerblades and skateboards too.

Getting there: Just east of the Wading River Motel on the opposite side of the road. I recommend the motel address for your GPS.

At the end of mile one you have the choice to continue on the trail or take Burman Boulevard. This road will intersect the trail again between miles six and seven.

Take the trail and you’ll be rewarded with a smooth meandering ride. Be mindful of deer, ticks and occasional areas with excessive sand, and fallen pine needles.

Miles five to seven are where things get interesting. Just after mile five you’ll see a cemetery to your left. It is small, overgrown and well fenced. I’m a touch superstitious and won’t take photos of cemeteries that aren’t tourist attractions. I also hold my breath when I ride by. It’s a hold over from being a little kid and believing that you can breath in souls.

After the cemetery you’ll come to a rail yard. You may think this is the end of your ride but don’t turn around just yet! If the gate to your left is opened, cross the tracks and ride right through. Yours truly isn’t sure if this is an active railway, be cautious.

Continue to follow the trail. When you get to the end you’ll know as the trail ends abruptly at the eighth mile. There appears to be room for further expansion (pretty please). You’ll also get your final, of many, tick warning signs.

You have a choice now – you can turn around and follow the trail back or you can take the intersection at Burman Boulevard and reconnect with the trail at the end of mile one. Taking the intersection makes your trip about twelve miles as opposed to sixteen.

After the trails take a trip to Hollywood Sweets for some post ride ice cream. It’s such a fun pairing. The ice cream parlor has dozens of flavors, candies and so many movie posters. Settle into their seating area for some board games.

See you on the trails!



Edit 9/29/2019: This trail is now a 9 mile loop.