Lost and Found in Muttontown

**written by Brandon, age 10**

This morning we drove to Muttontown Preserve.  A lot of our family lives near there.  I went with my younger sister Mia, my dad and my mom.  We packed KIND bars, waters, cameras, a compass, GPS watch and dressed for cold weather.  It still felt cold anyway.

My dad went to the Preserve last year with my 3 younger sisters but I couldn’t go that day.  There are many different trails and it is called part of the Gold Coast estates on the North Shore.  But when my dad and sisters went they couldn’t go really all the way through the Preserve.  We wanted to go all the way to the Walled Garden and the Ruins.

The Ruins were originally a huge mansion deep inside the woods.  It was owned by many people and then King Zog from Albania purchased it in 1951 and never moved in.  Later he sold it, but it was very mysterious.  People said that he buried his treasure in the mansion walls and a lot of people ransacked the house to try to find his treasure.  Later on the estate was demolished because it was falling apart.  I really wanted to go and see the Ruins.

map

We started our hike with my mom and my sister but we knew they wouldn’t stay for all the trails.  Mia found a lot of sticks on the ground and she was holding a lot of them.  Every time we saw horses or dogs Mia got really excited and wanted to pet them.

mia sticks

After about an hour mom and Mia left and we kept going towards the Ruins….or so we thought!  We ended up spending the next 15 minutes walking in a full circle.  We researched before we went to Muttontown Preserve and a lot of people gave it great reviews but said that the trails were poorly marked and it was easy to get lost.  Every person we bumped into the first few hours didn’t know where they were except one man walking really fast.

We are used to well marked trails with tree blazes when we hike at Blydenburgh Park and on the Greenbelt Trail in Sunken Meadow and Caleb Smith State Parks and the Kings Park Bluff.

So we were kind of lost most of the time.  We thought we were right near the Ruins by the Equestrian entrance but another lost family asked the man walking fast where we were and it was close to the North entrance where we started.  We were nowhere near the Ruins!  We had already walked about 3-4 miles so we decided to come back another day to finish what we missed.

We decided we were going to get pizza nearby.  After that we decided to enter the Preserve again but this time take the shortcut from the Equestrian entrance that wasn’t too far from the sections that we hadn’t gone to yet.

flower

We walked down the main trail towards the Walled Garden and the Ruins.  When we reached the Walled Garden we saw a big hole in the ground and the heavy cover was pulled off it.  I didn’t see any but I thought that animals would probably be in there.

mushrooms growing on a fallen tree

mushrooms growing on a fallen tree

We started seeing clues that we were close to the Ruins like brick and stone paths under the leaves.  On our right all of a sudden there was a full set of stairs.  At the top we came up to a circle shaped fire pit and wood that we found out later was a campsite for boy scouts.

We kept walking for about 10 minutes on paths that looked like we were getting closer.  Finally through the trees we saw a few stone gazebos and further away stairs and a big wall and sculptures.

ruins of King Zog's estate

ruins of King Zog’s estate – it would be cool if a snake came out of his mouth like in Harry Potter!

We climbed the staircase that really had no stairs left and walked through plants that looked like bamboo sticking up high towards the sky!

exploring behind the ruins

exploring behind the ruins

We hiked through more of the Ruins and found millions, or maybe thousands of wild blueberries.  We met a man and woman named Jack and Gail and he was asking if we thought we could eat the blueberries.  We weren’t sure so we were going to research it online when we got home.

wild blueberries

wild blueberries – can we eat them?

After more searching we were coming down another path and I saw concrete with an opening in the ground.  I found what looked like a basement window opening and it looked like an underground room.  It was really long.  There was spray paint pictures of Spongebob and a dog on the wall and some empty cans of beer too.

digging up a shiny rock

digging up a shiny rock

I then looked down and saw something shiny.  I bent down and started digging it up.  Dad thought it was a skull or some bones.  He was just tricking me!  I was cleaning it off and examining it and wondering what it was made of.

I kept digging really deep.  It was so heavy it wouldn’t move.  Finally I pulled it hard enough and it came out.  I dusted it off and it looked like there was quartz in it.

Chelsea Mansion

Chelsea Mansion

Another part of the Preserve that we explored was Chelsea Mansion.  They have weddings and other parties inside and on the grass.  I saw a small castle with stairs that go round and round.  The trees were in spiral shapes around a fountain.  There was a stone path across the water and large fields.  There was also a pond with ducks in it.

I really liked Muttontown Preserve and was really glad after we left that we came back so got a chance to see the Ruins.  I also kind of liked getting lost!  We hiked about 6 miles today.  You should go visit it sometime with your family!

– Brandon

Almost finished with 6 miles of hiking!

Almost finished with 6 miles of hiking!

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6 thoughts on “Lost and Found in Muttontown

  1. Great job Brandon, I really enjoyed reading about your adventures. The pictures are great, too. Keep up the good work. Looking forward to our first camping trip in just 17 day.

  2. Brandon, that was great! I felt like I went on the trip with you. But it also made me eager to go and explore. I moved to Manhattan last August and haven’t been on any fun hikes like you have in a long while. I must navigate my way over to the Ruins. I’ll keep an eye out for lost treasure. When I find the mother lode, I’ll give you a small share for inspiring my trip. How does 10 percent sound?

  3. Pingback: LI Greenbelt Trail: Boys Hiking Weekend Pt. 2 | 1 Quest 2 the Next

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