Swing into Summer

“Sanctuary, on a personal level, is where we perform the job of taking care of our soul” – Christopher Forrest McDowell

On June 21, the first day of Summer, we took a hike at David Weld Sanctuary in Nissequogue, on the North Shore of Long Island.  So it turns out I’ve spent decades living just a few miles from this peaceful haven for birds, deer….and of course people; and never visited.  I’d heard of it but always passed by the parking lot on Nissequogue River Road on the way to Short Beach and didn’t give it a second thought.

We’ve been back a few times in the past month and will tell and show you some of the most fun and interesting parts we have explored so far.  As a special treat we have some fun videos and a poll at the end of this post – don’t forget to check it out!!

The hike through the preserve can be done in various routes, some as long as 3-5 miles if you take some of the side trails just before

you reach the bluffs and Long Island Sound, or others that take you uphill at the back of the Sanctuary near some beautiful private homes.  However, if you have some impatient kids one of the best parts of this quest is about 1/4 mile in after you pass the trail on your left and head straight a few more steps.  This is where we’ve found the most birds to be singing and tweeting away.  You can head under some tree cover just as a new trail path opens to the right and find if you are quiet a lot of birds will fly on the branches above you and chirp a lot.  You may see warblers, sparrows, finches and blackbirds, to name a few.  You should be able to get some good photos here but watch out for bird poop from above!



this way

this way


The Sanctuary is actually a preserve that was donated by the Welds in the 1970’s.  Other neighbors donated and sold additional adjourning property shortly after.  Earlier in the 1930’s, an actress and her husband bought the land and built a cabin on the bluff, but it was destroyed in a terrible wind storm in 1987.




There are lots of berries throughout the property.  On a hike earlier this week in the deep back of the preserve by the private homes I came upon a large bunch of berry bushes and surprised a deer who then took off into the brush.  The deer surprised me too!





shy guy

shy guy


One time this Summer we saw a Finch about 1/2 mile straight down the starting trail path and he kept flying between a few close branches and wouldn’t leave us while we were enjoying honeysuckle.


At least we thought this was a Finch.  Comment if you think it was something else...

At least we thought this was a Finch. Comment if you think it was something else…


Have you ever had honeysuckle off a bush?  In early Summer honeysuckle was prevalent here and we got lots of extra energy from honey during our hikes!

How to enjoy honeysuckle – (narrated by Brandon)

This week I passed this tree that had been cut down. The cut of the wood on top resembled skyscrapers in Manhattan.  I think you can see Central Park too.


looks kinda like Manhattan skyscrapers

looks kinda like Manhattan skyscrapers


Along our hikes we have seen quite a few squirrels and a lot of chipmunks.  We tried to get a picture of a chipmunk but Mia kept running at it and spooked it away.  They remind us of the chipmunks at Morton Wildlife Refuge, but those hound us for sunflower seeds when we are feeding birds by hand.  So annoying, ugh!




Mia, 3, was a real good sport the first time we came here.  We probably hiked around for 2.5 miles and she kept up.


reaching the LI Sound

reaching the LI Sound


Brandon, 11“When we reached the cliff near the beach, I climbed down the bluffs and explored the shore.  I saw huge rocks and it was fun trying to get back up.”






At the bluffs there is a bench to take a break as well as a winding trail to the left that takes you down to the beach.



don’t worry, they can leave anytime they want


This memorial rock unfortunately had it's title modified by a rude guest

This memorial rock unfortunately had it’s title modified by a rude guest


What's for lunch?

What’s for lunch? We’re starving!!




Brandon, “We were getting tired on the hike and wanted to head back to the car.  Mommy showed us this really long vine hanging from a really tall tree.  Daddy swung from it first, then me, Sofia, Alana, Mia and then Mommy.  We didn’t want to leave and swung for at least 30 minutes!  We wish we had a vine in our backyard.”

Sofia, 8, “It was really fun swinging on the vine.  It felt scary not touching the ground!”



Now for that fun we promised you!!!  Below are videos of all the 1quest2thenext kids swinging on a tree vine at the Sanctuary earlier in July.

Vote for your favorite in the poll below the videos!!!  Who is going to win???





I hope you gave Sofia a second thought because she had 2 fractured toes!!!


The David Weld Sanctuary offers just what one needs at times; to get ‘lost’ on a trail; exploring nature in it’s glory – flora, wildlife, serenity and much more.  A moment or two to forget about work, responsibilities and stress and instead focus on the beauty and wonders of the woods.  We hope you use a weekend morning to see what this wonderful place can offer you!



– During the summer bring bug spray.  There are mosquitoes, but also bees pollenating.

– The parking lot fits about 6 cars.  Often it is not filled but beware if you park on any street in Nissequogue Village you will receive a parking ticket pretty quickly.

– No dogs allowed

– No bikes allowed

No fun allowed.  Just kidding, you better have fun here!!!!


Hope you give this quest a try!!

Hope you give this quest a try!!



8 thoughts on “Swing into Summer

  1. David Weld Sanctuary is a great place! 😄👍 I think the bird in the first pic might be a Tufted Titmouse or a Catbird… he sure is shy! The bird in the second picture is a Common Yellowthroat. When I have a hard time getting a good look at a bird, I’ve found it helpful to supplement the ID process by learning their songs. Cornell Orinthology Lab has great online resources.

    • Thanks for your post avwalters. Those red berries aren’t honeysuckle and we don’t eat those berries. The type of honeysuckle in this preserve is edible. Bigger concern is poison ivy, which is prevalent on the less formal trails so stay on path!

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