It’s funny how you can live in an area for 20 years and not be aware of the many beautiful places you can visit in your own backyard. I spent the last 20 years raising my children, commuting back and forth to work, and taking our annual family vacation. I visited and knew about the more well known places near me like Jones Beach and Old Westbury Gardens. We strolled around Mill Pond Park and took an occasional hike in Cold Spring Harbor, but apparently there’s so much more to see and do.
As a retired teacher and now a dog sitter I enjoy traveling, but I often look for things to do near me. I discovered in the fall that I could find somewhere different to visit just by googling Things to do near me. This year I appreciated the beauty of fall for the first time without all the hustle and bustle of teaching. The spring season has been no different. As beautiful as the reds and golds are in the fall, so are the green and pink and purple hues of spring.
My daughter and I have discovered many Preserves and Parks this spring on Long Island from Muttontown to Merrick. Our latest discover is the Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park. The name “Planting Fields” comes from the Matinecock Native Americans who cultivated the soil in the clearings above Long Island Sound. It is located in the village of Upper Brookville in Oyster Bay NY. Like the Oheka Castle in Huntington, NY owned by Otto Hermann Kahn and his wife Addie, Planting Fields was home to William Robertson Coe and his wife Mary during America’s Gilded Age on the Gold Coast of Long Island. The original Coe Hall burned down in 1918 and was replaced soon after.
We were very surprised at the size of Planting Field. It turns out that it is over 400 acres and includes nature walks, gardens, huge open areas and woodlands. We knew from the moment we started walking around that we would definitely need many visits to thoroughly explore all the trails and gardens. The huge open space made us feel as we were far, far away from home. Like we took a long road trip to the country.
The Coe’s hired the Olmstead Brothers, the landscape architects who also designed Central Park and Prospect Park. Their influence is evident throughout the estate. There are different themed gardens that rile the senses. The scent of the lilacs was overwhelming as was the collection of azaleas in all the colors of the rainbow. There were rose gardens, peonies, Italian Garden, and greenhouses.
Walking the wooded areas and nature trails also show the landscape architect’s influence.
You can tell that this is a special place when you see plaques honoring those who valued the importance of the preservation of the beauty of the Planting Fields. There are so much more about this place I would like to learn. At some point I would like to return for a guided tour of the estate and gardens and attend some of the events such as concerts that are hosted here. There are other houses, gardens, and greenhouses that I would love to learn about.
We went just to explore another nature trail on Long Island, but we may have found a new place to visit often, attend garden talks, and other happenings.