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Category Archives: Southold Outdoor Activities

Greenport, North Fork, Long Island – a nature walk and birding by iphone at the Arshamomaque Preserve.

Warm days in April are some of the best times to walk the trails of the  Arshamomaque nature preserve on Chapel Lane in Greenport, Long Island, a two minute drive from the Shorecrest Bed and Breakfast on the way to Greenport village.

The preserve is 51 acres, part of the Long Island Pine Barrens Maritime Reserve and listed for protection because of its exceptional scenic, biological and recreational resources and at this time of year offers a rare and brief opportunity to see and photograph the Vernal ponds .

Reflections in a vernal pond

This week the weather was perfect, mild but with a crispness in the air, and as the trees had not yet leafed out there was nothing to restrict the view of the magical reflections in the ponds, which cover a large area of the preserve at the end of winter.

Swamp Cottonwood in early Spring

These expanses of water which only exist for a short time as a result of the snows and rains of winter will dry up entirely as the weather warms but not before the many animals that depend on them, especially for breeding will have completed one important cycle of their lives. Most of these animals such as frogs, toads, turtles, and salamanders spend a majority of their life in the nearby wetlands but migrate to breed or feed in these productive vernal pools. Fingernail clams and air-breathing snails live their entire life in vernal pools and must burrow beneath leaves and mud when the pool dries until the water returns. Fairy shrimp produce eggs that remain in the dry pool after the adult’s death and hatch after the pool refills.

Wood anenomes carpet the forest floor in April

Arial photographs indicate that sixty percent of the preserve was once farmed. Over time fields were left fallow and resulted in the mixed stages of plant succession that you can see as you pass along the trails. Some meadow like areas are at early stages of development and still dominated by grasses and perennial herbs, providing food and cover for white tailed deer, bobwhite quail and eastern cottontails.

A grassy meadow within the preserve

A large area is at the shrub land stage where eastern red cedar and northern bayberry prevail, providing cover for animals to sleep, roost and escape predators. Finally stands of black locusts, a fast growing deciduous tree represent a more advanced stage of succession, and these will eventually, in many years give way to beeches, oaks and hickories.

Reflections in the Marsh

The preserve also includes an example of a swamp cottonwood forest, rare in NY State, also mixed with other swamp hardwoods which support specialized bird and animal populations.

The short or the long trail- you choose

The blue trail will take you to the bird observation tower, a tree house like structure with a view over the marsh.

Bird spotting from the tree house blind

I brought my iphone with the ‘chirp!USA’ app, a bird song and photograph identification tool that I have used in my back yard to attract different species to my feeders. This time I played the Redwing blackbird song and sure enough, within minutes an interested male of the species was checking out the source – of  a rival or possible mate? – not being a bird, I really had no way to tell!

Male Redwing blackbird checking out my iphone

Arshamomaque is only one of many preserves on the North Fork which offer such quiet and tranquil beauty all year round including the National Audubon Society preserve just a few minutes from the Shorecrest . I will be writing about the others soon in this blog and reporting back as they change with the season.

Cattail Marsh from the bird blind

Cattail Marsh viewed from the bird blind

I hope you will find the time to visit and enjoy them too, and ask us about our special discounts for National Audubon and Garden Conservancy members for off season and mid week stays, and a private tour of the Shorecrest gardens.

March view from the bird blind

The Shorecrest Bed and Breakfast gardens are predominantly planted up with perennials and a generous dose of annuals, mostly self seeded from the previous year, to maintain color and fill in gaps when the perrenial borders aren’t quite up to par.

I’ll be writing about them in my next blog post  and following up with progressive articles as they change throughout the year

We look forward to welcoming you to Shorecrest soon and would love to be your guide and helper as you explore the natural beauty of the North Fork.

Golf on Long Island’s North Fork: Island’s End in Greenport

As the name suggests, Island’s End Golf Course is at the far end of the North Fork, just a few miles from Orient Point and a five minute drive to the east from Shorecrest Bed and Breakfast, in one of the most beautiful spots on Long Island. You can golf here year round, except for Christmas Day and public players can book tee times 7 days in advance. The golf course and country club is semi private and includes a Pro Shop, driving range, practice putting green, sand trap and chipping areas. You can rent clubs, take private and group lessons, and refreshments are available at the restaurant and bar or beverage cart on weekends.
Island’s end has a great reputation for the quality of the course and its natural beauty. For a spectacular sunset view, plan on playing the 16th hole, which extends to the bluffs looking west over the Long Island Sound, towards the end of the day. If you play earlier, you can always be back at the Shorecrest in time to stroll across to our own beach and toast the sun as it dips behind the horizon with a glass of wine or a beer sitting in one of our Adirondack chairs. Ask for some crackers and cheese to take with you and we will be happy to oblige!
Island’s End is located on route 25 in Greenport, and like Shorecrest, a reasonable drive from any part of Long Island. But positioned as we both are, in the North Fork’s most rural and bucolic area, you feel that you have entered a different world from the largely urban or suburban landscape you will find on the rest of the island. Driving from New York City or the west, as you approach Riverhead, take exit 71 north, then turn right onto Sound Avenue. You will avoid traffic bottlenecks of the Tanger outlets and immediately enter farm country. A half hour drive past miles of wineries and farms, where almost every country road or lane will eventually take you to a secret beach or quiet harbor, will calm the mind and get you ready for your North Fork getaway.
Shorecrest is offering special packages for our golfing visitors. During April, add only $40 for each person golfing to the cost of your stay and we will include a pre-booked T time with golf cart and free club rentals should you need them (you can demo the latest from the golf shop!)
For more golf packages including massage and spa options for the non golfer, dinner packages, to go breakfasts and picnic lunches check out ‘specials and packages’ on the Shorecrest Bed and Breakfast reservation and availability calendar, or call us with your special requests. We will be delighted to help make your stay a memorable one!

Hiking and Bird Watching on the North Fork of Long Island

As the winter months pass behind us, it is time to get out and enjoy the scenic walks and trails that can be enjoyed on the North Fork of Long Island.  Within the Southold and Greenport areas of Long Island, the choices for nature trails and bird watching are in great abundance. 

Cedar Beach Country Park in Southold is a 68 acre park with over 2,800 feet on Shelter Island Sound.  From the part, visitors can enjoy great vistas of Shelter Island Sound and the saltwater marshes of Cedar Beach Harbor. 

Arshamomaque Point in Southold encompasses a 54-acres wooded preserve with several trails that wind through mature woodlands, ponds, and saltwater wetlands.

Arshamomaque Preserve in Greenport is a 120 acre preserved owned by the Town of Southold.  They have 1.3 miles of nature trails that wander through mature woodlands, freshwater wetlands, and open fields. 

Inlet Pond Park in Greenport enjoys a 55 acre preserve with 1.6 miles of trails leading to Inlet Pond and Long Island Sound.  The North Fork Audubon has a visitor’s center and also offers nature programs. 

Dam Pond Maritime Reserve in East Marion is a 36 acre reserve also owned by the Town of Southold.  Here you can enjoy a small protected bay, grasslands, saltwater marshes and woodlands.  There is also a trail that wanders through the reserve which is 1.2 miles long.  

It will take some time to try them all, but we will enjoy having you as our guest at the Shorecrest Bed and Breakfast as you explore the North Fork of Long Island

Bird Watching on the North Fork of Long Island

The North Fork Audubon Society is one of our favorite locations to bird watch on Long Island.  Located in Greenport, New York this chapter of the National Audubon Society continues to maintain a diverse trail system which covers over 1 ½ miles of trails over 50 acres of land.  The trails have a variety of terrain including woodlands, an inlet pond, trails along the beach of Long Island Sound, and a fresh water pond.  Trails are open daily for hiking and bird watching from dawn to dusk.

If you prefer to have guided tours, most Sundays and Tuesdays they offer Family Nature Walks.  This is an opportunity to learn about birds, plants, and animals that live on the North Fork.  Be sure to check their calendar for their up-to-date schedule.  For the remainder of October the walks are scheduled for October 18, 20, 25, and 27th.

Every third Tuesday of the month features “Tuesdays with Tom”.  He is sure to entertain as he guides you along the North Fork to enjoy a little hiking and bird watching.  On Tuesday, October 20th he will visit Jamaica Bay in search for migrating hawks and falcons.  He notes that merlins can also be found along this route.  Make sure to save the date of November 17th for another of his guided days.

Programs and Presentations are also in abundance at the North Fork Audubon Society.  Friday, November 18th will host a presentation on the Calverton Grasslands. Calverton Grasslands is home to many protected species and will discuss how they utilize the grassland habitat.

The North Fork Audubon Society offers guests of the Shorecrest Bed and Breakfast year around activities.  We know you will enjoy them!

Golf on the North Fork of Long Island

Golfing on the North Fork of Long Island is a year around activity and perfect for the Fall season.   Island’s End Golf and Country Club is a semi-private golf course located in the heart of Wine Country on the North Fork of Long Island.  Island’s End is a 6,700 yard course and is located on Route 25 in Greenport.  The four-star course has everything that you need to make the game challenging and is known as one of the finest on Long Island.  The 16th  hole is their signature hole and is located on a bluff overlooking Long Island Sound.  It has been named among the top 18 holes on Long Island.  

Guests of the Shorecrest Bed & Breakfast should not worry if they have forgotten their golf clubs as they can be rented.  Also, if it is time to brush up on your strokes, then consider taking either a group or private lesson.  Starting October 5th rates are being adjusted for the Fall season and include either breakfast or lunch!  Golf prior to 12 noon and the fees are $55.00; between 12 P.M. to 2 P.M. the fee is $43.00; and after 2 P.M. the fees are $38.00.  Also note that guests of the Shorecrest Bed & Breakfast receive a 20% discount from published pricing.  

Golf if a delightful way to enjoy the Fall foliage!

Biking the North Fork of Long Island

There are many options for guests of the Shorecrest Bed & Breakfast for biking on the North Fork of Long Island.   In the Southport area alone there are over 57 miles of bike trails that range from 5 to 14 miles in length.  The town of Southport offers a map called seaview trails.  It shows four bike trails including Southold Bay Loop, Orient Loop, Mattituck, and Southold View Loop.  Utilizing their bike trails is a safe, easy, and enjoyable way to enjoy ocean views along the North Fork of Long Island. 

For those of you who are more serious bike riders, make sure to consider Bike Around Long Island.  They feature organized bike rides of up to 42 miles in distance.  These are not rides on bike paths, but are along various highways and roads of Long Island.  This is a very active group and features a variety of rides around the Long Island Region. 

Many guests prefer to bring along their favorite bicycle.  However, there are local bike rentals available for your convenience.  We would be happy to make suggestions for bike rentals during your visit!

Shelter Island, a Nature Lovers’ Delight

Shelter Island is just a short Ferry ride from the village of Greenport, NY is a great place to watch birds and for biking.    Just a short walk up the hill from the North Ferry dock you will find a Mobil station which provides bicycle rentals.   Shelter Island is ideal for biking and we recommend a visit to Mashomack Preserve as it is a nature lovers’ delight.

Mashomack Preserve is considered one of the richest habitats in the Northeast.  The preserve contains 2,039 acres, which is about 1/3 of the island.  Among the riches to be found are tidal creeks, oak woodlands, fields, and freshwater marshes.  The preserve is often referred to as the “Jewel of the Peconic” and is edged in white by 10 miles of coastline.  Mashomack Preserve is open 9 A.M. to 5 P.M., March through September, and 9 A.M. to 4 P.M. October through February.

For those seeking birds, you will not be disappointed.  Many birds are year around residents of Shelter Island and the list is long.  It includes Cedar Waxwing, Blue Jay, Black-capped Chickadee, American Goldfinch, Northern Cardinal, Mourning Dove, American Robin, House Finch, Tufted Titmouse, White-breasted Nuthatch, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, and Carolina Wren.  Migrating birds throughout the Spring and Fall include Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Purple Finch, Indigo Bunting, Canada Warbler, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Palm Warble, Black-throated Green Warbler, and others.  Lastly, there are the Summer visitors.  They can be a mixed variety but Scarlet Tanager, Baltimore Oriole, Common Yellowthroat, Eastern Phoebe, Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, Great-crested Flycatcher, Black-and-white Warbler, Piping Plover, Least Tern, and Osprey.  I think that covers the birds, but let us know if we missed any!

Make sure to put Shelter Island on your list of places to visit when you are enjoying Shorecrest Bed & Breakfast!

Hiking the North Fork of Long Island

Hiking is plentiful for Shorecrest Inn guests as the North Fork has many hiking trails to offer.  Located just a short distance from Greenport Village, the Shorecrest Inn is conveniently located to over 11 preserves and parks which offer hiking.  Be sure to pack your camera and binoculars as one never knows which wildlife will be encountered along the way.   Trails are in abundance and the hardest decision will be which trail to hike?

Some of our favorite trails include:

 Mill Road Preserve covers 25 acres and trails wind through 8 acres of grasslands and shrub lands and then into 17 acres of mature woodlands. 

Goldsmith Inlet Park has 35 acres and there is a ½ mile trail which leads to Long Island Sound.  Hikers experience mature woodlands, tidal wetlands, Goldsmith Inlet Pond, and 1500 feet along the Long Island Sound.  This hike is also wonderful for bird watching.

Laurel Lake Preserve has 495 acres of preserved land and the nature trail is 2.1 miles long.  The hike wanders through a variety of terrain and includes woodlands, grasslands, vernal ponds, fresh water swamps and overlooks the beauty of Laurel Lake.

This is only a sampling of the trails which are available on the North Fork.  We encourage you to join the Shorecrest Inn and experience the variety of hiking trails which are available!