Beyond The Hamptons: A Further Guide To The North Shore

by Adam Bertrand · July 10, 2008

new york state parkHere is part 2 of my mother's North Shore must-sees, Cold Spring Harbor By Leonie Glen Taking route 25A, you descend down Fish Hatchery Hill and a stunning view of the harbor opens up on your left. Just don’t crane your neck too far or you will glimpse the giant sand pit that the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory has gouged into the bluff – they are geneticists, not geologists, so maybe we can forgive them for thinking they could build there! The fish hatchery is on the right across from the labs, and if you have small children, they will love it. The Laboratory also runs terrific summer programs (ponding, tidal ecology, L.I. geology, etc.) for children if you find the area irresistible.

Cold Spring Harbor was once a whaling center that rivaled Nantucket. The town is preserved in all of its quaintness, with a plethora of shoppes, and its own Whaling Museum to boot. You can lunch in town or have a picnic.

From the town center, take a right turn at the library and drive along Shore Road. Snake Hill Road winds its way up (as you might imagine) from where Shore Road ends at the CSH Beach Club. This is the best way to Lloyd Harbor: From Snake Hill go right onto Jennings Road, left onto Middle Hollow Road, and left again onto West Neck Road. (The Victorian on your left as you turn that corner was the exterior used in the “Addams Family” T.V. show).

West Neck Road descends down to a “neck” that connects to the Lloyd Harbor penninsula. It then becomes Lloyd Harbor Road, which will take you to Caumsett State Park . This is an amazing, rambling, 1750 acre estate built by Marshall Field III. He once lived across from Nassau Hall, but he tired of his wife and left her there while he played English country squire here. What fun!

It borders the water on both sides of the Lloyd Harbor peninsula, has miles of trails, barns, and a graceless big brick mansion. Mr. Field was thus able to gaze across Huntington Bay to the Vanderbilt bachelor pad in Centerport, now a museum. I wonder if William K. Vanderbilt II could see him wave a hand or a semaphore?

Backtrack but stay on West Neck Road all the way into Huntington. The birthplace of Walt Whitman is a large, bustling town. The best thing about it these days is that it has lots of good eateries. Park somewhere near the intersection of Main St. (25A) and New York Ave, walk around and browse the menus. Bon Appetit!

[Images via NY State Parks and Cold Spring Harbor Beach Club]