Chillin’ in Welwyn
From the Parenting 101 guidebook – when your 5 year old daughter tells you she’s not thirsty and doesn’t see the need to carry her water bottle while hiking, bring it anyway. Don’t fall for this Jedi mind trick as I did when I took my 3 oldest kids on a quest to Welwyn Preserve in Glen Cove recently. You think I would learn by now!?!! Oh, but wait – I sometimes do this Jedi mind trick thing on myself and don’t bring water on long runs on trails during muggy, humid mornings, so….
I read about Welwyn on that thing called the word wide web one day when I was trying to find a new place to explore with the kids. The forecast was calling for heavy rain a few hours later but I just get cabin fever sometimes and don’t want to hear the kids fighting over barbies, books, the computer; look – with my kids you can give them an empty box and before long it turns into Lord of the Flies at home…
So off we go in the minivan. They sky looked horrible before we even left the driveway. We packed water for everyone, some snacks for the car ride and hit the road. When we go for adventures on the North Shore of Nassau County I typically like to take the long, winding route 25A to take in the amazing waterviews of Northport and Cold Spring Harbor to name a few lovely scenic towns and villages. However, this time I took the highway but it’s still a bit out of the way so yes I heard a lot of ‘are we there yet?”s including before we even hit the highway.
Once we reached Welwyn we had the episode referenced earlier where Alana didn’t want to bring her water. We are beyond the stroller years and I didn’t want to bring my backpack (another Jedi mind trick), so I had Alana, Brandon and Sofia drink up before we left the car and off we went.
There are 4 well-marked trails at this 200-acre Preserve that provide access to a magnificent wooded stream valley, fresh water ponds, swamps, a coastal salt marsh and a stretch of Long Island Sound shoreline. As we came upon the 1st intersection, Brandon wanted to go left, Alana right and Sofia wanted to go straight up the hilly path straight ahead. I told the kids there will be many choices along these trails and gave Sofia the 1st decision and ahead we went. The trees were so tall along the way and the girls were spending a lot of time walking slowly and looking as high as they could.
There are so many hardwood trees which are protected by law and have been allowed to mature. A common type are tulip trees, also known as yellow poplars. The yellow poplar is a tall, beautiful tree, and is the most naturally occurring on Long Island.
As the trail winded around to the left we could hear a main road and some cars driving by. It was an odd feeling to hear the noise at the same time as there was no noise coming from inside the preserve. Well, I shouldn’t say that; there were many different types of birds flying all around the trees at a low height. I’ve read that there are over 100 species of birds to see at Welwyn. Brandon thought it was so exciting that we reach a section of the preserve which was behind people’s homes. Almost each yard had a cut in their fence or a gate in the back with a path leading right onto the trails. Awesome!
And that’s when it started;
From Alana, 5: “I’m thirsty”
….a few minutes later: “I’m tired of walking”
I knew right away this was not going to be a long visit. There had been some drizzling rain on the car-ride over, but that had stopped and we had a good shot at continuing on a bit to reach the Long Island Sound and a stroll on the beach. Not in the plans, as my sweet girl needed some water and I wasn’t smart enough to bring my backpack.
Oh, well…we kept exploring some more and we passed an older couple with their Golden Retriever. The kids love Goldens and were petting this one which it’s owner told us how to get to the LI Sound and how to take a shortcut back to the parking lot. We reached a bridge and the kids were watching fish jump up above the water for awhile.
Then the kids walked around to the brook under the bridge and Brandon and Alana were stepping on large stones across the brook. Daddy instinct kicked in and I told Alana to think twice about this and she just stopped, then kept going.
From Alana, 5: “I was jumping on the rocks and then on the last one I fell off and went in the water. My foot got all wet. It felt NOT good. It felt like worms were in my shoe!”
Oops…Alana slipped right into the water and her shoe and sock were soaked. She was pretty quiet about it as I think she didn’t want to admit I had told her so (even thought I didn’t remind her I had told her so!).
This part of the preserve was kind of quiet thought and we could all hear her foot squishing water for the rest of the walk :-)
From Brandon, 10: “I got to the other side of the brook and then from the edge jumped halfway across to a small rock without falling in! Then Alana fell in…”
As we walked this different trail back we reached another bridge and Sofia went up on it and found an inchworm. She was so excited and made friends with it quickly.
From Sofia, 7: “So we were walking and then we went on another bridge and we we on top of water that was going underneath the bridge. And then I saw 3 inchworms and I picked up two of them. And then one fell off. The other one crawled on my arm and my hand. Then I just put him in the dirt when I was done. I think it was a girl”.
Brandon: “Before we left the trail we passed these abandoned buildings that had caved-in roofs and looked like animal had been living in them. We also passed a giant rock painted to look like Angry Birds.”
We totally didn’t get as much out of Welwyn as it has to offer; it was too short a visit. Next time we will definitely take waters on our hike. On the way home we stopped at On Parade Diner in Woodbury; one of our favorites over the years and got some lunch and dessert. We got a trail map while we were there and are thinking about what route we will take upon on next (longer) adventure at Welwyn. We all want to reach the Sound next time!
By the way, it never really rained :-)
Take the Long Island Expressway (Route 495) to exit 39. Go north on Glen Cove Road 6.2 miles, bearing left at a major fork near the end. Turn north (right) onto Brewster; go 0.5 mile. Turn north (left) onto Dosoris Lane; go 0.7 mile. Go left for 0.4 mile on New Woods Road. At Crescent Beach Road, proceed for about 0.1 mile to the Welwyn gate on the right. Park at the left of the main house.
For more information, call 516-572-0200
- Greenbelt Trail: 32 Miles from Long Island Sound to Great South Bay (1quest2thenext.com)
- Sands Point Preserve: A Gold Coast Gem (1quest2thenext.com)
- Avalon Park and Preserve
- Morton National Wildlife Refuge