Sands Point Preserve: A Gold Coast Gem
One of our favorite spots to explore on Long Island is located on the North Shore in Port Washington. The Sands Point Preserve is a unique mix of woodlands, sandy beachfront, breathtaking scenic landscapes, historic education and….FUN!
The estate was created by Howard Gould, the son of financier and railroad tycoon Jay Gould, who purchased the land in 1900. Castle Gould was built with Ireland’s Kilkenny Castle as inspiration. Visitors park in a grassy field nearby as they enter the Preserve and can explore the grounds surrounding the castle and take an exhibit tour.
Castle Gould was originally intended to be the main residence, however a new main residence, “Hempstead House”, was completed in 1912 in the style of a Tudor manor house. A few years later, Daniel and Florence Guggenheim purchased the estate from the Gould’s and in 1923 their son built yet another mansion, “Falaise”, on a cliff overlooking the Long Island Sound at the back of the property.
We’ve visited here several time over the past few years and as the kids grow it’s great as they can walk the trails further and are more intrigued by the history of the property. It’s great just letting them loose in the open fields and watching them explore, roll down the hills, climb, run and play. There is a Learning Center and Outdoor Classroom where kids can put on shows; singing, dancing and acting (silly) against a backdrop, along with some outdoor musical instruments.
From Brandon, 10: “When we go there we play ring-around-the rosie in the big grass field and Mia sat on my head! In the kid’s area, there was a xylophone and when you hit it with a stick it made cool sounds.
There are several nature trails that are clearly marked with numbers. They take you through a pond, patches of wildflowers, open fields, woodlands, and down to the beach shoreline. Black Cherry and Locust Trees surround the pond. Also along the trails are various oaks (chestnut, white, black northern red), white ash, beech, birch, dogwood and much more. You will see various species of birds and other small animals.
There are exercise structures along the way that include balance beams, a sit up bench, swinging bars and much more. Don’t forget to bring water!
From Sofia, 7: “I was helping Alana get up on the pull-up bar. I went on monkey bars and on a thing when you hold onto something and put our legs over our head”.
From Alana, 5: “I almost slipped off and almost fell. Sofia helped me stay on”.
Summer resident birds of the pond include the northern waterthrush (a warbler), eastern kingbird, belted kingfisher, mallard, black duck and Canadian geese.
There are many spots to take family portraits or pics of scenic landscapes. On a quest earlier this Summer, Falaise was closed off as a wedding was taking place later that day in the backyard. It really looked beautiful and the girls were excited!
We encountered a massive spider web on Trail #2 and watched the spider do it’s work for a bit before moving along….
From Sofia: “We were walking and then daddy found this spider web and we watched the spider do stuff. I don’t like spiders. They are my WORST FEAR!”
One of our favorite parts of Sands Point Preserve is the Ice Cream Man! He can be found at times just in front of Castle Gould or down by the steps leading to the beach, just off of Falaise. Yum!!
From Brandon: “We walked down to the beach and saw the Ice Cream Truck and daddy said we could get ice cream on the way back up. The Ice Cream Man sat under a tree on a blanket and played a wooden guitar while he waited for customers.
From Sofia: “Every single time I get cookies and cream ice cream!”
$10 per visit. Or annual membership pass, fees within the registration form here:
Long Island Expressway to Exit 36 – Searingtown Rd. North. Go straight for 6 miles to entrance. Searingtown Rd. becomes Port Washington Blvd. & then Middleneck Rd.
127 Middleneck Road, Port Washington, NY 11050
Don’t forget to add comments about what you like at the Preserve; my kids are excited to see if you like this quest!
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