LI Greenbelt Trail: Boys Hiking Weekend Pt. 2

I guess we were inspired from our 6 miles on the trails at Muttontown Preserve yesterday and instead of running this morning Brandon and I completed a 5.5 mile section of the Long Island Greenbelt Trail just South of the LIE.  Brandon wrote yesterday’s post on his own and those are so much more interesting than mine, but he’s tired so we are sharing the responsibility tonight 🙂

We started off at Lakeland County Park and hiked through Connetquot River State Park Preserve ending at the South entrance in Oakdale.  We have been to the Preserve several times in the past year – I’ve run the Blue Trail (well, most 6.5 of 8 miles, lots of soft sand that I’m not great running on), passed through the Preserve last Sunday running from Lakeland Park to the South trailhead of the LI Greenbelt in Heckscher Park.  Also, we’ve gone to Frog Night at the preserve and held toads and frogs from the Main Pond.  The kids have gone a few other times as well on the shorter trails; enjoying the horses and checking out the reptiles and amphibians in the main office.

This first photo below is from last week and already the colors have shifted to a less colorful shade.  The light and dark green, yellow, brown and reds of the woodlands surrounded us and Continue reading


Planting Fields and the Pink Playhouse

“Daddy, can you take me to see the pink playhouse again?”. Many mornings on the weekend I hear this request from my middle daughter, Alana Rose. It’s easy to say ‘yes’ to my sweet girl as all of us enjoy visiting Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay!

Planting Fields is now designated as a New York State Park, but initially it was purchased in the early 20th Century by the Byrne family when it was simply farming property and built into a ‘Gold Coast’ estate on the North Shore of Long Island. An architect was hired and immediately the development plans included what is now the “green garden”, circular pool, and plantings of many fruit trees and layouts for perennial plantings.

Coe Hall

Coe Hall

Coe Hall

Coe Hall

In 1913, William Robertson Coe purchased the estate his family had been renting for a couple of years and continued planting pine, oak, cherry and other trees and much more vegetation and flowers.

The original mansion on the property burned to the ground before the decade was over , and Coe Hall was built in its place. The tennis court was replaced by the Italian Blue Pool and the brick Tea House. Other structures like the green garden, circular pool and fountain statue were rebuilt as it had been previously.

In the middle of the Century, Mr. Coe deeded the property to New York State and it remains a State Park today. Thanks, William!!

steps @ Coe Hal

steps @ Coe Hall

Just behind the Italian Blue Pool Garden is a brick tea house that has been restored in the last decade. The initial layout on this land behind Coe Hall was a tennis court. This is one of many spots at Planting Fields that the girls sit in awe and watch pre-wedding and engagement photos being taken by much more qualified photographers than the one who drove them here 🙂

Tea House

Tea House

tea house side

Just off to the right of the tea house the kids have fun climbing up their unique tree. You will find dogwood, beech, white pine, wheeping cherry and magnolia among other tree types.


From Alana, 5: “I like to go to the park and see all the wedding people having their pictures taken. We went there yesterday and we climbed a really big tree! I also found this pretty tree with red berries but I didn’t know if I was supposed to eat them so I didn’t”.


Coe Hall

Coe Hall

The Camellia Greenhouse displays the largest collection of camellias in the northeast, and the Main Greenhouse has extensive collections of hibiscus, orchids, succulents, and seasonal displays. You will also find cacti and a banana tree inside!

From Brandon, 10: “In the greenhouse there are all different kinds of cacti; some of them are in weird shapes. They have these plants that kind of look like pumpkins but they are green and they have thorns on them. In all of the greenhouses Sofia runs through the aisles and I run after her. It’s like a maze!”

What plant is this?  Comment in this post with your guess

What plant is this? Comment in this post with your guess

Also behind Coe Hall Historic Mansion you will find “The Green Garden” which includes a circular pool with a beautiful fountain statue and this brick walkway below:


From Brandon: “There is a bigger pool near the brick tea house and then behind the Coe Museum there is the one below. We have another picture of Alana in front of the small fountain where she has a big grin; what you can’t see in the picture is that she was picking a wedgie!”

Silly time!

Silly time!

Planting Fields Arboretum State Park was voted by Long Islanders ( as the best public garden on Long Island in 2011 for a reason. There are over 400 acres of greenhouses, gardens, woodland paths and outstanding plant collections to explore.

Along the paths you will find many species including dahlias, peonies and of course roses in the Summer. Also, 100s of rhododendrons and azaleas.

along our Garden walk

along our Garden walk


There are too many open fields to list!

planting mia 2

Pic of Mia and her mama that was featured in Newsday this Summer

Pic of Mia and her mama that was featured in Newsday this Summer

Each time we talk about where our next adventure is going to be Alana shouts, “Can we go back to my pink playhouse?”. It’s hard to deny her wish and she always prances around and peeks in the windows; trying the doorknob to see if just this once she can get inside and play!

The estate owner had this playhouse along with the brick tea house built for his two young daughters early in the 20th century. Now that’s a doting dad!

playinghouse 4

and…we’re back again


…and again


We mentioned earlier that each weekend you will find wedding photography at several lovely locations within the Arboretum. We came here AFTER a family event and had some fun of our own!

From Sofia, 7: “So….we went to our cousin Kelsey’s party and then after we went to the park we are writing about right now. And…I was spinning around on this ledge. Then all of us were running around on the grass in the field. I like to look at me in my dress, it looks really pretty!”






Please don’t hate the oldest editor of this post for it being so kid photo focused! The first several times we visited I was just taking shots of my little ones. I’ll add some more shots of the property at Planting Fields shortly.

Hours & Admission:


9:00 am – 5:00 pm daily

$8 per car until Nov, 13th. **The park accepts the Empire Pass, which if displayed on your car window gets you in for free (nothing’s free, you have to purchase said Empire Pass, but it’s so worth it as you can use it at State beaches and parks)


Self-Guided Visits to Coe Hall

11:30 am – 3:30 pm 3/31 – 9/30 daily

October Weekends only

$3.50 Non-Members

Members & Children under 12 are free


By Car:
Long Island Expressway to Exit 41 North or Northern State Parkway to Exit 35 North. Proceed north on Route 106 towards Oyster Bay. Turn left onto 25A Northern Boulevard. Make first right onto Mill River Road. Follow green & white signs to the Arboretum on Planting Fields Road.

By Train:
Oyster Bay is the last stop on the Oyster Bay line of the Long Island Railroad. Planting Fields is approximately 1 ½ miles west.

1395 Planting Fields Rd Oyster Bay, NY 11771
(516) 922-9200
For high resolution versions of these photos and additional pics of Planting Fields Arboretum, please follow this link to the associated photo set on Flickr. If you would like to use or purchase any of the photos on this site or on Flickr please click ‘Contact Us’ at the top of our site:

And don’t forget to add comments about what you like at the Planting Fields; my kids are excited to see if you like this quest!

Also, Click FOLLOW on the website to get notified when we post new quests. Thanks!

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.



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

Continue reading