Stony Brook Grist Mill

While we all had a blast at the Avalon Park and Preserve and at Mill Pond in Stony Brook this weekend, there was much more to do in the area.  We didn’t have time to go to the Art and Carriage House Museums, but we went on a tour of the Stony Brook Grist Mill in the afternoon.  This is the oldest working Grist Mill on Long Island.  There are only a handful of functioning Grist Mills in New York; the others are upstate.  I’ve run home from this location before, so Continue reading

Elizabeth A. Morton National Wildlife Refuge

Driving out to eastern Long Island on a weekend during the Summer would be considered crazy by some.  Well, keeping 4 kids’ from being bored can be quite a challenge if they are in the house or going to the same playground again and again.  So off we went Sunday to the Elizabeth A. Morton National Wildlife Refuge, a 187-acre peninsula on Noyack and Little Peconic Bays.

There are a variety of intriguing and fun adventures to experience at Morton; this includes feeding birds by hand, getting a peek at Wild Turkey sneaking into the high grass with their babies, playing on the beach, watching ducks and other waterfowl in the ponds and much, much more.  There are manicured trails to hike and wood bridges to cross and too many bird types to mention all of them.

It was a hike out to Sag Harbor, but we packed Continue reading

Avalon Park and Preserve

Mill Pond is well known by those who pass down 25A on their way to West Meadow Beach or the museums in Stony Brook. Lots of waterfowl to watch on a quick stop before going out to dinner on the North Shore. The Grist Mill across the street on Harbor Road has been a frequent field trip for youngsters from the Three Village and Smithtown schools (Grist Mill post is coming soon!). However, just behind the pond is a terrific place to spend a morning or afternoon with your significant other, your kids, even your dog!

Avalon Park and Preserve in Stony Brook has a variety of fun things to do. First we stopped at Mill Pond and saw geese, ducks and swans. A few geese got in a fight – we were wondering if it was over food, territory or a female. Anyway, as you enter the park you pass a large helpful map (see below), a wooden path with beautiful flora including Tiger Lillies and Green Pond to your right (behind the caretaker’s house). Further along you will reach a wooden bridge. When we visited this summer there were a few turtles and a mama duck and several babies floating by. I was there with my whole family and the kids – Mia (2), Alana (5), Sofia (7) and Brandon (10) all enjoyed watching the animals and asking Continue reading

Bayard Cutting Arboretum

Most people only know of Bayard Cutting Arboretum as a pretty place to go take engagement and wedding pictures on the South shore of Long Island.  If that was the case I wouldn’t be writing this post.  There is so much more and my kids enjoy visiting all 4 seasons.  Are you intrigued? Well, then….good.  You should be checking out our 1quest2thenext page daily anyway!

Great Lawn

Great Lawn

I’ve taken the kids here several times.  We have the Empire Pass, which is a wise investment – it can be used at State Parks, Preserves, beaches and more.  During the Spring, wildflowers bloom all over; The foliage is a sight to see in Autumn, in the Winter you may freeze your butt off by the river, but it’s very tranquil and during all seasons I enjoy watching the kids explore and Continue reading

Caleb Smith State Park Preserve

Come to our hometown of Smithtown and enjoy the morning sunshine and fresh air with a hike at Caleb Smith State Park Preserve, with its many different habitats, including freshwater wetlands, ponds, streams, fields and upland woods.

at Halloween

at Halloween

Its diverse habitats support a variety of trees, shrubs, wildflowers and ferns that make the preserve a true refuge for wildlife.

Brandon, 10: I like it at Caleb Smith during the Winter because the Pond is prettiest that time of year. The museum is cool. There is a long hallway with a couple of different rooms and it looks like an old-fashioned house. You can sign your name in a book to get mail from the park. In one of the museum’s rooms you could see information and pictures of birds, fox, other animals you may see at the park and different kinds of plants and trees.

museum

museum

There are several trails for Cross Country Skiing (orange and green), yellow and blue for running/hiking, the red trail to the Boces Outdoor Learning Lab and 3.5 miles of the Long Island Greenbelt Trail for hiking and lots of unmarked  Continue reading

Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve

Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve is a terrific way to spend your morning or afternoon – whether you are alone jogging, on a bicycle ride, hiking or exploring with your kids. There is the main 3 mile loop with marked bicycle lanes and, for the most part, lots of shade. There are beautiful patches of wildflowers all over.

marked bicycle path along the loop

marked bicycle path along the loop

the chase in on!

the chase in on!

From Brandon, 10: There was this big field in front of the horse stables and my sisters and I were rolling around in the grass. After awhile we walked to this winter cottage and took a pretty picture in front of it.

The Winter Cottage is one of the first sites to see on the loop, on your right and it was designed to be very naturalistic and to blend in with the natural surroundings of the preserve. Behind the cottage you can walk down an embankment where there are some benches and other places to roam.

winter cottage

behind Winter Cottage

behind Winter Cottage

The Lloyd Harbor Equestrian Center is located here as well. As you walk through the loop you come along the back and see horses outside the stables. There are several bridle paths throughout the preserve, along with many nature trails that lead to beautiful views from the bluffs and

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American West Adventure Days 11, 12 & Wrap-up

7/4/13

From Brandon:  on the eleventh day of our trip we went from Montana, through Idaho and Butte County.  There was this big Butte volcano, the Soda Butte River and Butte is a town in Montana :-).  We drove along the Salmon River Scenic Bypass the whole way because we had extra time.  We drove through Idaho Falls and then on to Pocatello to get to the hotel.  On the way to the hotel we stopped at a lake that had about 500-700 people in a town called Blockfoot and  saw a cool firework show.

From Sofia: We drove across Idaho to get to Salt Lake City the next day.  We saw a river the whole way.  We went to a lake really late at night before we went to the hotel.  This nice family with 1 boy and 3 girls sat next to us in the sand and gave us glow sticks, sparklers since it was 4th of July, and gave us a blanket to sit on.  My glowing thing kept falling in the water so my shoes got all wet.

Salmon River in Idaho somewhere

Salmon River in Idaho somewhere

Crashing a fireworks show in Blackfoot, Idaho

Crashing a fireworks show in Blackfoot, Idaho

7/5/13

From Brandon: This morning we woke up like 10, went downstairs, ate breakfast and had to get out of the hotel room by 12.  We beat the house cleaners by 2 minutes before 12.  We went to see Despicable Me 2 – it was really funny.  We saw a trolley when we went to downtown Salt Lake City for dinner.  The flight home was late at night, we boarded at 11:45pm.  It was a shorter flight home than when we left Continue reading

American West Adventure – Day 10

7/3/13

This morning we went out in front of the Many Glacier Hotel to start our boat rides across Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine to start our hike to Grinnell Lake.  The kids were fighting over little stuff, but after 10 days in each other’s space and no break I give them credit, they did pretty well!

I don't know how I got a pic of them smiling, they were fighting over seat space the whole ride!

I don’t know how I got a pic of them smiling, they were fighting over seat space the whole ride!

It was a nice morning.  The water is turquoise in these lakes and I was looking forward to a nice hike.  The guide was a retired Biology teacher who used to come visit the Glaciers every year, then turned it into a way of life after he retired.  He went on daily hikes once the snow melted and loved to teach adults and kids about the trees and plants, the water and its inhabitants, the changing Glacier environment, the wildlife and more.  He was pretty funny and knowledgable and the kids gravitated towards him.

Lake Josephine

Lake Josephine

There was a swinging bridge that the kids had to cross and they thought it was such a cool part of this adventure!  We finally made it to Grinnell Lake.  Although the Grinnell Glacier view down to Grinnell Lake (google it online) cannot be matched, it was very pretty and the kids did a great job on this trek and all the rest.  Having the Camelbaks made a huge difference, but I never heard on this vacation “I don’t want to do that”.  Maybe it was all the candy Continue reading

American West Adventure – Day 9

7/02/13

We had a lot of driving yesterday so this morning we wanted to hang out locally. The Many Glacier area is really pretty and lots of things to do. We drove out to St. Mary to get some gas, ice and stuff for the cooler. On the way we saw this moose taking a bath in Swiftcurrent Lake. There are a LOT of bears on the opposite side of Many Glacier Road from the lake and as I walked up to this moose I wondered if he was a decoy. But I made it back to the car alive 🙂

Moose bathing in Swiftcurrent Lake

Moose bathing in Swiftcurrent Lake

After breakfast, we rented a rowboat and spent a few hours on the lake. Sofia, who normally is up for anything, didn’t seem to be thrilled with how deep we were venturing out on the boat. In fact she showed me her dismay in the pic below.

Sofia...Who else?

Sofia…Who else?

me

me

bubba rowing

But she warmed up a minute later and we took turns rowing for the next few hours. The kids didn’t want to stop. We saw a mama duck and about 6-8 babies and watched them swim around the lake. A nice guy was fly fishing with his wife and talked to us for a bit. Sofia quacked to all the ducks and was in her own world for awhile. I asked Brandon if he wanted to go to Canada and he was like ‘eh, no’.

From Brandon: We rented a rowboat for about an hour and a half. While we were rowing around Swiftcurrent Lake we saw a family of about 8 baby ducks and a mother. Every few minutes they would start swimming away from the rowboat because we were getting close to them. I went to switch seats with Sofia for awhile and we have a funny picture because it looks like I’m going to sit on her!”

sit on sofia

 

Since we were only a quick car ride away from Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada, I took the kids anyway. I knew he

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