HikeLI: Kings Point Park

Where: Kings Point Park (Kings Point, NY)

What: Hike (trail, unpaved)

Snacks: For Five Roasters (Manhasset, NY)

Kings Point Park is located on Redbrook Road in Kings Point, (additional entrance on Steamboat road) smack dab in the middle of a residential area off of Middle Neck Road. The 175 acre park has roughly five miles of trail, tennis courts, baseball diamonds, soccer fields and more. The park is dog friendly in some sections provided dogs are leashes. There are ample places to picnic.

For this trip, I took the 1.8 mile loop as recommended by All Trails. The loop criss crosses over Mitchell Creek with a series of wooden bridges. Mitchell Creek was dry today and I’m glad for it, I wasn’t in the mood for mosquitos. A portion of the trail hugs various backyards and for a moment there I thought about inviting myself into a stranger’s pool.

Despite the hustle and bustle of the neighborhood it is serene here. Such a cute place for a quick walk or a trail run.

For snacks we went into Manhasset for a quick flat white from For Five Roasters.

See you on the trail,

x

Jess

HikeLI: Planting Fields Arboretum State Park

Where: Planting Fields Arboretum State Park (Oyster Bay, NY)

What: Hike / Walk (trail, gravel, unpaved)

Snacks: Southdown (Oyster Bay, NY)

Planting Fields has gorgeous gardens, welcoming greenhouses, an estate to explore and a small trail network.

Formerly the Coe Estate, Planting Fields sits on 400+ acres, one of the only Gold Coast estates to remain on its full acreage with all of its buildings. Buildings include laundry carriage and tea houses. Mansion tours available during warmer months. As of this writing an $8.00 parking fee applied. The tour is a separate fee from the parking fee.

Among the gardens, are roses, rhododendrons, conifers, hydrangeas and dahlias. Greenhouses include tropical plants and seasonal displays. A newer addition to the arboretum is the 2015 sensory garden.

Trails range from a tenth of a mile to a quarter of a mile and intersect to make for a nice stroll through the trees.

Head to Southdown Coffee for a no frills cup.

See you on the trails (or among the dahlias)

x

Jess

Greenwood Cemetery

Where: Greenwood Cemetery (Brooklyn)

What: Walk (road, unpaved path)

Snacks: King’s County Distillery (Brooklyn)

Bakeri (Brooklyn)

Today was a day of urban exploration. Did you know that Greenwood Cemetery was one of the first green spaces in NYC and one of the top three tourist attractions of the 1860s? Rounding out that list are Niagara Falls and Mt. Vernon. The cemetery is also an arboretum boasting thousands of trees. A popular website feature is an interactive tree map. I dub Greenwood Cemetery a great place for an outdoor excursion, if a touch macabre.

Today didn’t involve your traditional hike. Instead it was a cemetery tour – both with a guide and later self guided. The guided portion was for the Cemetery’s Dead Distiller’s tour. Part trolly, part walking tour I got to learn all about distilling in NY in the late 1800s.

Casual side note, I love a pretty mausoleum and the Cemetery has so many from the guided age of mausoleums including the Steinway (of piano fame) with spaces above and below ground with the ability to hold more than 200 people (not pictured).

After a solid education, we took the Cemetery trolley to the streets of Brooklyn and headed to King’s County Distillery at the Brooklyn Naval Yard. It happens to be the oldest Distillery in Brooklyn (2010). Here we got a tour of the distilling process and samples. To get the most out of the tour, you should have an appreciation for bourbon and moonshine.

Back to the cemetery armed with a map for some self guided meanderings! We have a lot of ground to cover – 478 acres, just a touch smaller than Prospect Park. The Cemetery is a lattice work of paths, roads, ponds. If you’re deep enough on the grounds you can forget that you’re in Brooklyn. If you’re paying attention you can see the Statue of Liberty from Battle Hill. Rumor has it it’s the tallest point in Brooklyn.

If you go, do yourself a favor and go in through the main entrance so that you can experience the archway – something I regret not getting a photo of.

I rounded off the day with a hazelnut magic bar and an oat milk cortado from Bakeri in Williamsburg. Because what is Brooklyn without a little extra something?

See you on the trails,

x

Jess

HikeLI: Manorville Hills County Park

Where: Manorville Hills County Park (Manorville, NY)

What: Hike (trail, unpaved)

Snacks: Eastport Luncheonette (Eastport, NY)

Manorville Hills may look daunting but don’t let the long dirt driveway fool you. Nestled on the northbound side of rt. 111 between Sunrise and the LIE (the Manorville one not the Smithtown one) is a picturesque walk in the woods.

Despite its easy access location, this park is by no means popular. For large chunks grass grows on the trail. Be gentle to it. Absolutely check for ticks. But come and you’ll be engulfed by nature. The park is broken into three sections: an 8 mile pedestrian loop, a 12 mile mountain bike path (blue) and a 6 mile horse trail (yellow). Horses have the right of way at trail intersections. There is also access to the Paumanok Path – an LI thru hike from stretching from Rocky Point to Montauk. The pedestrian trail is marked with white blazes and from what I’ve seen the only way out is through. Paumanok is also marked with white blazes but worded signs point you towards Paumanok.

Turn around if you can’t commit to the loop. The loop is riddled with fences in an attempt to curb horses and cyclists from using the pedestrian trail. You may have trouble navigating these areas if you are a person of size or use mobility aids. Trail is hillier than other local parks but it isn’t daunting. Since the trails are quiet, it is one of my favorite places to get fully immersed in nature.

Sometimes, quiet trails feel eerie but at Manorville Hills, the trail blazes are bright and the parking lot is always clear of debris. You get the sense that not only was someone here before you but that they also cared for the space.

Since this writing, prior to publishing there was a fire at the park. The July 7th fire is a reminder to exercise caution and to understand how fragile outdoor spaces can be. I found no news reports of closures to the park after the fire. The brush fire covered 15 acres, according to 27east – a local news outlet. County rt. 111 was closed for a time and there were no evacuations of residents necessary.

Manorville Hills pairs perfectly with nostalgia. I grew up going to the Eastport Luncheonette. Enjoy a no frills breakfast / lunch / coffee with a side of small town charm. Eastport used to be home of the antique shops, now Main Street is mostly empty stores with a stained glass shop and a boutique or two.

See you on the trails,

x

Jess

HikeBeyondLI: Ithaca and Such

Where: Ithaca, NY and surrounding

What: Hike (trail, unpaved, stone, staircases)

Snacks: Various

Disclaimer: This post may contain crude language and various negative views of humanity. Please don’t read on if either of those offend you.

General note(s): As of this writing all of the parks had a parking fee of $8.00 from (I think) 8am to 6pm, every day. Lots of parking. All have easy to find address for your GPS. It is all pretty, yes but, proper footwear please – most of these trails are wet after all.

Parks visited: Taughannock Falls State Park – Ulysses, NY

Robert H. Treman State Park – Ithaca, NY

Buttermilk Falls State Park – Ithaca, NY

Watkins Glenn State Park – Watkins Glenn, NY

Places eaten / snacks had: Gimme! Coffee – Trumansburg, NY

Maru Ramen – Ithaca, NY

Glens Dairy Bar – Watkins Glenn, NY

Luna Inspired Street Food. Ithaca, NY

Do you remember being a kid and having a disposable camera? Maybe you only had enough allowance for one or your parents could only get you one. Remember taking way to many photos at the start of a trip then rationing photos for only the coolest stuff toward the end. No? Just me? Am I dating myself? We spent so many summers in PA, ME, VT and NH and for each trip I got my very own camera. I would snap everything I could early in the trip and by the end with five or so precious photos left, I would carefully exam everything to make sure it was photo worthy. Getting the cameras developed was another story. I’m sure some are still buried in drawers or in closets. That’s how I treated this trip. I took too many photos early then, by the last park I just wanted to enjoy.

Each park was similar in that you choose from a gorge trail or a rim trail. The gorge trails follow the falls and the rim trails hover above. For each park, since coming back to the area is difficult, I made sure to take both gorge and rim trails. Essentially, each park was explored in its entirety, which, is no small feat. While I didn’t seek to pair a park with a specific eatery like I do at home, the above list is everywhere I ate during the trip. We camped so for a few days, my diet was mostly s’mores and things you can dip into peanut butter. Maybe, also peanut butter s’mores.

When I checked into the campsite, I was told that Ithaca has more restaurants per capita than NYC. I believe this. Downtown seemed to be 90% restaurants, a handful of thrift / buy Cornell merchandise, more vape / CBD shops than necessary.

A paragraph about food: The ramen shop was wonderful, flavorful and fast (pictured somewhere). Noodles after a big hike day really seem to hit the spot. Luna was not good, if I lived here I wouldn’t go back (not pictured). Everything was covered in cilantro and my rice tasted like dishwater – maybe a cilantro byproduct since it tastes like soap to me. Gimme! Coffee was great – check the size of that biscotti! But the town was small and most everything was closed. The barista mentioned a local festival coming up and how the town shuts down to accommodate this. He was cool. We could be friends. I’ve never lived anywhere so small and it was fascinating new found knowledge. Gimme is a local chain and also has a location in Ithaca. Glen’s Dairy, felt so wasteful. I ordered a small and the photo is what I got. I spent so much time thinking about wasting ice cream that I couldn’t enjoy it. Foolish, I know but I wager, if it were awesome ice cream I wouldn’t have had those thoughts. My favorite ice cream is what I make in my ice cream maker so, I’m a hard sell. But seriously, if you love big portions, go to Glen’s.

Taughannock Falls State Park: This park is incredibly simple to navigate. They have a boat launch, ample concessions and picnic areas. There is a .75 mile trail running through the center and north / south rim trails that connect. The north and south rims together are about three miles. The stream bed was quiet and signs indicated that you were allowed to walk in it. At least, signs with arrows pointed you to the main trial so I assume if it wasn’t allowed the Park was at least very aware.

The falls are impressive at 215 feet. The rim at Taughannock was the best of all of the parks I visited, allowing for multiple view of the falls from above the falls.

Robert H. Treman State Park: This place is cool! It has a giant swimming hole and adorable cabins. The swimming hole was mobbed and there were so many lifeguards on duty that you’d think it was a local community pool. There was so much joy there.

The coup de gras was Lucifer Falls and there were people hanging out at the base of it. There isn’t a trail to the base of it so they must have walked across the stream. Why do something you aren’t supposed to do when there is a giant, safe swimming hole? I get so frustrated with people. Damn.

Buttermilk Falls State Park: There are two very distinct areas of this park. The rim/ gorge trail area and a lake loop. The trail head I took was accessible from the camp ground and led directly to the lake. The loop around the lake is 1.5 miles. There is an overflow lot with direct access to the lake trail head with restrooms.

From there I walked park roads to the bear trail, across to the gorge trail. It was early enough where the trail was quiet. The water looked so welcoming but, signs dictate if you swim in the stream, you’ll get ticketed. This of course didn’t stop people. From this direction, the largest waterfall was my last viewpoint. At the base of the falls is a swimming hole. We’re talkin’ lifeguards, a diving board, a dog wading area and roads to designate deep and shallow ends.

On the way back to camp, park rangers were closing sections of the gorge trail so I felt lucky to see it.

Watkins Glenn State Park: I want to start off by saying how photogenic this park is. It’s gorgeous, truly. But fuck. I hate this park. It was so crowded that there were portions that felt like I was trapped in the middle of a nightclub dance floor. Cameras everywhere. People stopping on wet staircases to take a photo. People falling because the grown was wet and they were in improper footwear. People in the stream. People everywhere. Don’t ask how one of only two photos I’d gotten in the part is void of people. I don’t know how. They were everywhere. I’m in so many photos that I don’t want to be in.

I stumbled upon a cemetery here and it left for an eerie feel. There wasn’t anyone on this part of the trail and I’m not sure if it was actually part of the park.

The trails themselves are short, ranging from 1.5 to 1.8 miles, point – to – point. Staircases connect north and south rim trails to the gorge trail. The gorge trail is of course where the beauty and most of the action is. The further you get from the visitors’ center the quieter it gets but if never truly gets quiet. You do however get to walk under waterfalls, so, I guess that’s pretty cool. Remember folks, one foot in front of the other.

See you on the trails,

x

Jess

Quogue Wildlife Refuge

Where: Quogue Wildlife Refuge (Quogue, NY)

What: Hike (trail, unpaved with sections of boardwalk)

Snacks: Beach Bakery (Westhampton Beach)

This is the worst entry I’ve ever written. Truth is, I love Quogue Wildlife Refuge and have been to dozens of events – night light shows, moon walks, fancy balls but I can’t think of anything to say without talking about those experiences.

Quogue Wildlife Refuge is nestled in the Pine Barrens.

For more information about Quogue Wildlife Refuge please visit their website. They host a ton of great events all year long.

Saturday, I got eaten alive by mosquitos despite wearing bug spray. It made me question my decision to attend their ball this year. I’m one of those lucky folks whose bites welt up and look like golf ball halves wedges under the skin. Needless to say, I couldn’t finish my walk.

The trails at the refuge are nice. Quiet when you aren’t worried about being eaten alive. Honestly, I don’t have a lot to say about this place. Go see the turtles.

Then go get cookies at Beach Bakery. Once I went there on a Monday night and the woman behind the counter just kept staring at me. When I tried to place my order she just sat down at one of the customer tables. On break? Maybe. Rouge customer? Probably not, she was wearing a Beach Bakery polo. There was only one other worker there but she was helping a couple with a big order. I never did get treats that day.

See you on the trails,

x

Jess

HikeLI: Shadmoor State Park

Where: Shadmoor State Park (Montauk, NY)

What: Hike (trail, unpaved)

Snacks: Jack’s Stir Brew Coffee (Amagasett, NY)

I just want to put it out there that Jack’s said they didn’t have a public restroom. There are however public restrooms across the street in a municipal lot. Cleanliness at 8am was good. I’d gotten a honey cinnamon latte, which was an unexpectedly delicious combination. Would have been better without the weird bathroom side quest.

Jack’s happens to be across the street from The Stephen Talkhouse. I don’t want to talk nostalgia or misspent youth, but man …

There are a bunch of State parks in Montauk – Camp Hero, Hither Hills, Montauk Downs, Montauk Point. You know Montauk Point, it’s got that Lighthouse. So why Shadmoor? (Shadmoor is about five miles west of the Lighthouse on the right hand side of Montauk Highway. Parking lot holds about ten cars.) I like bluffs and it is a bit calmer than the other parks.

The loop is a short, sweet 1.2 miles. You can extend this to about 2.5 if you stay along the bluffs and take that path to the end (turn around when you reach the driveway). Trail is clearly marked with red arrows. The trail is narrow and you’ll have to walk over planks in a few areas. There is something magical about Shadmoor, between the sunshine soaked bluffs and the enclosed shaded areas that allow you to feel deep in a forest it is ecotone at its finest.

Stopped at Hither Hills on the way home but made a rookie mistake. We stepped off trail to allow some cyclists to pass. I found two ticks on myself and am now paranoid about more lurking. As of this writing I’ve checked myself seventeen times. The fear still persists.

So check for ticks, watch for cyclists and pee before you leave the house.

See you on the trails,

x

Jess