Bayard Cutting Arboretum, 440 Montauk Hwy, Great River, NY 11739
This is my go to spot in Long Island, it’s actually one of my favorite places in the world! Of course trees are supposed to be the focus in an arboretum, and they are beautiful here…but there is so much more! First of all, you get the best of the seasons. The bursting colors of spring and fall.
The lush and noisy summer.
The restful winter.
The beauty found walking the few miles of trails was what kept me sane this winter, as it is not my favorite time of year. My favorite part of the park is the river walk, beside the Connetquot.
The birding is pretty fantastic around here. Over the winter I saw my first kingfisher and got to know it’s funny laugh. There were other exciting visitors such as mergansers. Regulars like swans, egrets, cardinals, flickers, and even an occasional bald eagle.
I am always happy to see the plentiful osprey. You can really get up close and personal with them here, and there are a bunch of nests to spot throughout the park.
There is other wildlife as well, my four favorite (ninja) snapping turtles, the chickens at the farm, and the funny group of fish.
There is a spot to grab lunch on the premises that I am still trying to find the time to get to!
Planting Fields Arboretum, 1395 Planting Fields Rd, Oyster Bay, NY 11771
A colorful, magical experience – once again, you’ll find so much more than trees. Take a self guided tour of the Tudor Revival mansion, or just walk around and admire the beautiful details.
The fountains are tranquil and inviting.
The little houses are practically hobbit-worthy.
The vibrant flowers blew me away.
The greenhouses are something to write home about. Rooms are filled with all different exotic types of flora.
If you visit from December to March you can witness the largest collection of camellias under glass in the Northeast blossom! I can’t wait to return then.
Bailey Arboretum, 194 Bayville Rd, Locust Valley, NY 11560
This is the one arboretum where I have to say, the trees really did impress me the most. If you’re familiar with redwoods, you may think they exist only in California. But have you ever heard of a Dawn Redwood? I never had. They were actually believed to be extinct for millions of years, but were rediscovered in 1941 in Szechuan, China. It was said that Frank Bailey could grow anything, and at his namesake arboretum is the largest Redwood Dawn tree, available for you to view 365 days a week (with no fee to enter the park).
Pretty neat. And really, there is SO MUCH MORE to see! There is a center to help care for injured birds of prey.
You can learn a lot here and even make donations to help out. You can also find healthy wild birds throughout the premises, such as wood ducks in the pond and woodpeckers in the trees.
Speaking of which – the wooded paths with interesting informational signs are great,
and the ponds are always a lovely sight.
If you have kids, or you’re a kid at heart, there are a few fun hidden surprises!
At 42 acres the park isn’t huge, but it is very diverse and there is so much to see!
Pack a picnic and you can spend the afternoon.