Ok, so sometimes all you want out of a Sunday is to wake up late, eat some homemade pancakes, and veg around watching cartoons or Goonies on FX. This sounds great to my kids. Me too. Sometimes… Other times we just want to get out of the house, breathe the fresh air, explore something new about nature and then wait almost a year and blog about it. Well, that describes us tonight!
Last September was our first time as a family visiting Shelter Island. We booted up the Mac that morning and hit google to find something unique to do for the day. The fun really began for the kids when we took the ferry from Greenport over. The kids had been on bigger ferries like out in Port Jeff, so this was a different experience on a smaller boat. Once we reached Mashomack, this nice woman who volunteers there showed us maps of the trails and gave us some advice on where to head out to. We made the mistake of taking a jogging stroller as Mia, who was 20 months at the time, wanted to run around (typical). We ended up hiking about 6 miles and Mia walked and ran most of the way!
Mashomack Preserve is a natural area of nearly 2,100 acres which includes various habitats necessary for the survival of many species of plants and animals. 1/3rd of Shelter Island is covered by the preserve.
Mashomack was purchased over 30 years ago with the mission to stop development of this nearly untouched peninsula and to protect one of the larges populations of breeding ospreys on the East coast. The preserve sometimes harbors nesting populations of the endangered piping plover, as well as a number of rare plants. Mashomack is surrounded by 12 miles of coastline and includes open fields, creeks, freshwater marshes, grassy meadows and approximately 1400 acres of oak and beach tree-filled forest. You can walk to the historic Nicoll family graveyard or the 1890s manor house. This is really a special visit, as it is one of the largest undeveloped properties remaining on Long Island.
Several hundred bird species have been viewed at Mashomack Preserve. Other wildlife you may encounter include White-tailed deer, gray and red fox, bats, turtles, herons, ducks, egrets and many other birds. We took the green trail which was to be about 6 miles roundtrip. There were 5 trails totalling about 22 miles to choose from; 1.5, 3, 6, 12 mile loops and a 1 mile wheelchair-accessible trail close to the main visitor center.
Brandon, 10: “On a break when we were taking a picture on a cool stone bench I looked under it and I saw a huge spider web with a lot of spiders on it.”
We stopped under a small covered bench on a bridge and watched people fishing for