I love to plan long vacations with my family and friends. However, vacationing is a luxury most people can only afford to enjoy one or two times each year.
For the time in between vacations, day trips can provide the feel of a getaway for a fraction of the price. Long Island residents are lucky enough to have access to beaches, shopping, amusement parks, restaurants, and parks without having to travel very far. Caumsett State Historic Park, located in Lloyd Harbor in New York, is the perfect day trip destination.
A few years ago, I had the urge to go on a hike. After a quick Internet search, I stumbled upon Caumsett State Park. There are 1,750 sprawling acres which include woodlands, a salt marsh, a freshwater pond and the rocky shoreline along the Long Island Sound. Visitors can partake in several different activities throughout the park including horseback riding, walking, jogging, hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing. You may also fish or scuba dive by permit.
Prior to New York State acquiring the park in 1961, Marshall Field III purchased the land in 1921 and created a large estate. The historic buildings of the once private estate are scattered throughout the park for the public to enjoy. The Marshall Field III Main house is open to the public on the weekends, the polo pony barn provides lessons, boarding & equestrian services, and the summer cottage houses the Nassau BOCES Outdoor and Environmental Education Program. The once prosperous Dairy Farm is currently undergoing restoration and is used by the staff for workshops, offices, and storage.
Whether you are seeking relaxation or a day filled with activities, this scenic park on the north shore of Long Island is unparalleled. A must see is the giant beech tree located in the center of the field along the Main Drive. If you make your way underneath the branches of the tree you can observe the numerous carvings people have made in its trunk over the years. After a hike down to the Long Island, you can take a seat and marvel at the eroding cliffs that line the beach. The park has something to offer people of all ages and is an excellent day trip option for families with children.
To get to there, you can take the Long Island Expressway to Exit 49N or the Northern State Parkway to Exit 40 to Route 110 North, merge onto Route 25A West, make a left onto West Neck Road and the entrance will be on your left.
The park is open year round, from sunrise to sunset, with an $8.00 vehicle usage fee (passenger vehicles) in effect from April through November.
The Caumsett Foundation, www.thecaumsettfoundation.org
NYS Department of Parks, Rec, and Historic Preservation, http://nysparks.state.ny.us/parks/23/details.aspx