By Paul Hicks
Out and About
Favorite Springtime Walks
By Paul Hicks
<When “Out and About” first appeared in The Rye Record (February 1998), it contained a promise that “a sampling of prime walking places within easy reach of Rye will be featured from time to time in this column.” Drawn from more than 50 places featured since then, here is a sampling of some favorite springtime walks.>
Edith G. Read Wildlife Sanctuary
This 179-acre Westchester County preserve is located on Long Island Sound adjacent to Playland. There are three miles of trails for walks along the lake, through woods and fields as well as on the shore. For the easiest access and other information, go to www.friendsofreadwildlifesanctuary.org/ for membership and other information.
Whether you head first through the woods and return by the meadow or vice versa, the trails will take you to the largest remaining salt marsh in Westchester County. The views across Milton Harbor from the shore and the end of the meadow are particularly special. In the tidal flats look for herons and egrets and along the shore enjoy the activities in the three osprey nests. It is located on the east side of US 1, just south of Rye Golf Club.
Hart’s Brook Park & Preserve
This 124-acre property in Hartsdale can be reached by taking the I-287 to the Route 100A exit heading for Hartsdale. Turn right on Ridge Road and look for the entrance on the left in about half a mile. From the parking area, where maps are usually available, head straight past the greenhouse and gardens towards the woodland. The trails have color-coded blazes and are easy to follow. The park offers some of the best wildflowers in Westchester, and remarkably few people walk here at any time of year. See https://scenesfromthetrail.com/2019/01/19/harts-brook-park-and-preserve/.
Rockefeller State Park
Nearly 20 miles of wide carriage trails were laid out by the Rockefeller family before they donated the land to New York State as parkland. Some of the trails run across land that is still owned by the Rockefellers, who still allow use by walkers, joggers, horseback riders, and carriage drivers. Friends of Rockefeller State Park have a useful park map, directions, and other information on their website at http://www.friendsrock.org/parkmap.html.
Adjacent to Rockefeller State Park is Rockwood Hall, which was formerly owned by William Rockefeller. Several miles of trails and carriage roads wind through Rockwood Hall’s 88 acres of parkland bordering the Hudson. You can enjoy some exceptional views south past the Tappan Zee Bridge and north to Bear Mountain. See Rockefeller map above for more information.
Otter Creek Preserve
This 40-acre preserve is located close to Long Island Sound on Taylors Road in the Rye Neck section of Mamaroneck. It is the most ecologically diverse of the 30 preserves owned by the Westchester Land Trust with a mix of coastal waters, marsh, wetlands, and woods. There is a looped trail adjacent to the wetland that is about 3/4 of a mile long and provides a fine view of an active osprey nest. See https://westchesterlandtrust.org/enjoying-the-land/visit-preserve/otter-creek-preserve/.
Although dogs are not allowed at Edith Read and Marshlands, you are allowed to bring leashed dogs to the other preserves. Be sure to bring tick and mosquito repellent.