A hidden gem on Long Island – that’s Avalon Park and Preserve! We found it quite by accident on Google. It seemed like a good place to check out on a beautiful Sunday morning, and it was! Driving down Main Street, it is easy to see the pond (at Harbor Road) and not realize what there is behind it. There is no parking lot here, but we were able to park close by, on the street. Parking can also be found in the Stony Brook Village Center parking lot (which has a number of handicapped spaces scattered throughout), about a block away. The pond, with its ducks and swans, is lovely. We walked the gravel path looking for a sign for Avalon Park. Although we did not immediately find a sign, we did see a number of people walking from the other direction. We made our way back to the bluestone walkway and followed it up Harbor Road. It was here that we found the entrance sign to the park. “Avalon Park is the re-creation of the natural environment that greeted the first indigenous people to settle New York State. Its five distinct natural habitats populated entirely by native flora hold the story of our past…” (website). After visiting here it seems unimaginable that all of this is a “recreation.”
We followed the bluestone path, which led to a boardwalk, then wooden steps, and on to crushed stone and stone steps. The first bench is easy to access (on the wooden walkway), the next benches are in a gazebo like structure, which require taking the wooden steps. After that the crushed stone and stone steps are somewhat steep. I did not make it to the top as I was worried about the return. As I sat and waited for my “better half,” I was taken by the beauty and tranquility of this place. The website tells of hiking and biking trails, and a labyrinth. We were unable to find our way to the labyrinth without steps and will return another day to look for it. There is limited parking in two, small, unpaved locations if you are going to the Preserve for hiking, etc. (check the website map for details).
The website says that this is a “…tranquil space for all to enter and enjoy…” So true! If you want a beautiful, serene location, Avalon Park is not to be missed, no matter how far you can go. It is privately owned, yet free, so don’t hesitate to check it out.
Be warned - there are no restrooms or garbage cans here.
As always we at Destination:Accessible advise you to check a venue’s website, www.avalonparkandpreserve.org when planning a visit, to “know before you go.”