Get in Touch with Nature at the Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve
The Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve is a 1,520-acre nature reserve located on Long Island Sound in Huntington. The park offers a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, fishing, and horseback riding. Visitors can explore the park’s forests, fields, and shoreline, which are home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, foxes, and ospreys. The park also includes a restored 18th-century mansion, which houses a visitor center and exhibits about the park’s history and ecology.
Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve was once the private estate of Marshall Field III, a wealthy businessman who inherited his fortune from his father’s department store empire. In 1921, Field purchased the property and began developing the estate, which he named “Caumsett”. He hired the renowned landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. to design the estate, which included large open spaces, formal gardens, and sweeping views of Long Island Sound. The estate was described as a “playground” for Mr. Field and his family, and it was a place where they could entertain their guests and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.
After Marshall Field III’s death in 1956, his heirs decided to sell the estate. In 1961, New York State purchased the property and turned it into a park. Today, the park is managed by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation. The park’s staff is committed to preserving the natural and cultural history of the park, while also making it accessible to the public.
One of the main features of Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve is its variety of habitats. The park includes forests, meadows, wetlands, and beaches, all of which support a diverse array of plants and animals. The park is also an important stopover for migratory birds, which makes it a popular destination for bird watchers. Visitors can take advantage of the park’s many hiking trails, which offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape and showcase the park’s unique ecological diversity.
The park’s historic buildings are also a popular attraction for visitors. Marshall Field III former mansion, now called the Henry Lloyd Manor House, is open for tours, allowing visitors to step back in time and experience life as it was during the Gilded Age. The mansion is furnished with antiques and artwork from the Field family’s collection. Visitors can also explore the formal gardens surrounding the mansion, which were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr.
Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve also offers a variety of recreational activities. Visitors can fish in Long Island Sound, go horseback riding on the park’s equestrian trails, or take a leisurely bike ride on the park’s paved bike path. The park also has picnic areas and playgrounds, making it a great place for families to spend the day.
In addition to its natural and cultural features, Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve is also an important site for environmental conservation. The park is home to several rare or endangered species, including the eastern tiger salamander and the red-headed woodpecker. The park’s staff works hard to protect these species and their habitats, as well as to minimize the park’s impact on the surrounding environment.
In conclusion, Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve is a unique and valuable resource for residents and visitors of Long Island. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or recreation, this park has something for everyone. From its stunning views of Long Island Sound to its historic buildings and diverse array of habitats and wildlife, Caumsett State Historic Park Preserve is a true gem of the North Shore.