Hike LI: Cranberry Bog

Where: Cranberry Bog, Riverhead

What: Hiking (trail, unpaved)

Snacks: Mustache Brewery, Riverhead

If there are people in your life that aren’t outdoorsy and they want to be Cranberry Bog is a great introduction. The mile or so path is clear with minimal debris. There are enough view points to make even the biggest curmudgeon smile.

To get there, use the address for the Wildwood Lanes. If you are coming from Rt. 58 the trail head will be after the bowling ally to the left. If you’re coming from the traffic circle it will be on your right. The trailhead is well marked with a prominent sign.

Enter the trail by going around the gate. I have yet to see it open as it is to prevent vehicles from driving to the water. Walk forward toward the lake. You’ll know when you’re there, you can see it through the trees. Once you get to the lake, veer right and follow the loop around the lake. There are plenty of little view points along the way. Roughly a third of the way around a loop, there will be a concrete structure to your right. It is typically covered in graffiti but, I have yet to see anyone nefarious.

The bridge pictured below indicates that your nature jaunt is almost finished. You’ll walk over the lily pad strewn water and feel like you’re far away from Long Island.

Pair this short hike with a tasting at Mustache Brewery. Flavors rotate. Cheers! There as several other breweries, and hard cider breweries in or around Riverhead. Off the top of my head I can think of Crooked Ladder, Woodside and Long Ireland.

Riverhead is a popular tourist destination so if drinking isn’t your thing there is a bustling Main Street with cute eateries and an aquarium. I highly recommend Blue Duck Bakery for its cafe and abundance of pasties. I’m a dessert person, what can I say! If none of these fit the bill, there is always Tanger Outlet.

See you on the trails!



Hike LI: Terrell River County Park

Where: Terrell River County Park, East Moriches

What: Hiking (trail, unpaved, sandy)

Snacks: Mustard Seed Cafe, Center Moriches (as of 2/8/2019 it has come to my attention that this location is not longer open).

Once upon a time, a young Jessa had her first crush on a boy. He eventually left for the army and she was sad. She had other crushes but they were intangible – unless anyone thinks teenage me had a chance with actor Stuart Townsend. When the boy was discharged from the army he wanted to take Jessa on a date!

“Dress nicely,” the army boy said, “we’re going somewhere nice and special.” Heels. Dress. Make-up. He picks me up. We pull into a dirt parking lot. “Changed my mind. We’re going hiking.” I’m stubborn, like ridiculously stubborn and hiked the whole, roughly three miles, in those heels. Blisters be damned, this was for true love (warning: true love not guaranteed even after bold gestures).

The boy didn’t last but my love for Terrell River County Park did. To get to my beloved park, use the address for Khaler’s Pond Park. (Side note: Khaler’s is a great fishing spot with a sturdy playground and public restrooms). The lot for the trailhead is across the street.

When you walk in, take the trail to the left and follow the white blazes. Not only is the white trail the most scenic it is also the most well marked. Any side trail that you see is an overlook. They might be similar but take advantage of as many as you can.

The trail loops at a beach. For years, I called this “secret beach” without realizing the popularity of the park. Extend your hike by walking along the beach in either direction. The tide levels dictate the amount of beach you have access to. Loop back the way you came or take the wider path straight back to the parking lot. This path is wide enough for a stroller and I believe clear enough for a wheel chair. If you’d like to start on this path when you enter the park, enter the park to the right.

The trail gets very buggy in the warmer months and after a big rain so plan accordingly.

I paired this park with Mustard Seed Cafe. Mustard Seed is a full service cafe boasting pastries, sandwiches and breakfast all day. They also sell flower bundles! Cinnamon bun snack not pictured – treats rotate.

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!