Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hiking Avalon

On Long Island's north shore lies a landscape called Avalon Park and Preserve. Its part designed landscape using many native plants, part preserve of native woodlands, and part cultivated fields of native flowering plants. This is the approach from Mill Pond in Stony Brook.

The woodwork is over the top for a preserve. All the decking, furniture, and gate is oiled. You can see how tightly the decking is cut around obstacles like trees.

It's a grand entrance that to a sensitive person might seem to undermine the preserve's mission. The slope is cut into to provide room for the wide walkway. These cuts will be sources of erosion, all the while plants will grow over the walkway and need to be hacked back. That said, I enjoy walking on wooden plank pathways because of the sound it makes and because they generally preserve land adjacent to the pathway.

Eventually the wooden walkway does end, changing to an edged pea stone pathway. Further in, asphalt paths mix with the pea stone paths. The landscape these paths traverse is attractive and completely constructed, despite its naturalistic appearance.

After you explore this landscaped portion, called Avalon Park, you can go on to the much larger Avalon Preserve and East Farm Preserve. Cross over Rhododendron Road (an event during flowering season) and take the red trail to a few miles of woodland and field trails of different color blazes. The yellow and orange trails pass through old farm fields cultivated for massive displays of native wildflowers. All the trails can be walked within a couple of hours with ordinary footwear.

A colony of Joe Pye Weed at the edge of Mill Pond.

The wooden truss bridge (despite the cables) over Mill Pond.

This appears to be an Aster. Anyone?

Coastal Sweet Pepper Bush, Clethra alnifolia, had scented flowers.

This white-flowered shrub was growing adjacent to the pepper bush. Anyone know this one?

Afterward you can walk to the beach at Sand Street (half-mile), or even further to West Meadow Beach (about 3 miles) which has recently been overhauled (finally!!) to be completely open to the public. I have rented a canoe at the marina near Sand Street Beach, across from the Three Village Inn -search the Yellow Pages for Stony Brook Boat Works to find their listing.


  1. Thanks for the tour. Your "aster" just miiiight be New York iron weed. Maybe. :)

  2. I'll check that out. I think I will like it.

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  4. First i would like to give you thanks for your woodwork.
    Avalon park is very famous in the united state for its environments, design, flowery plants and watery fountain for kids and adults.

  5. Wow amazing place, looks beautiful and peaceful just like I like, thanks for share.


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