Fall foliage is a phrase that’s often uttered gleefully around this time of the year, partly because of the way it rolls off the tongue and signals that the transition from summer to autumn is complete. It also calls to mind beautiful images of colorful leaves. What’s sometimes lost amidst our quests for the perfect pumpkin or the most elaborate corn maze is the fact that leaf peeping has recently become a popular activity in its own right, with places such as New England or upstate New York becoming popular spots for admiring the changing leaves.
With full plates and busy schedules, not everyone will be able to travel that far, but the good news is there are plenty of places right on Long Island to find fall foliage. Stop by these locations and don’t forget to take plenty of pictures.
Planting Fields Arboretum
Located at 1395 Planting Fields Rd. in Oyster Bay, Planting Fields Arboretum has 409 acres of gardens, lawns, trails and trees. It’s especially notable for its historical Coe Hall, which features Elizabethan-style décor. Other attractions include a gift shop, a library and a café. Group tours are available by appointment and permits are required for photography. For more information, visit www.plantingfields.org.
Garvies Point Museum
This Glen Cove museum offers several educational hikes on an array of topics, including Native American archaeology, environmental studies and Long Island geology. Visitors will get to learn about their subject of choice while enjoying the outdoors and the trail’s abundance of fall foliage. The museum is located at 50 Barry Dr. and is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit www.garviespointmuseum.com or call 516-571-8010 for details.
Bethpage State Park
Bethpage State Park is known for its bike paths and nature trails that provide visitors with scenic routes for their exercise. In addition, it has first-rate golf courses and tennis courts, as well as a playground for kids. Hike, bike or play for an afternoon and rest up at the park’s picnic facilities. The park’s address is 99 Quaker Meeting House Rd. in Farmingdale and the trails go on for several miles. Call 516-249-0701 for more information.
West Hills County Park
Located on Sweet Hollow Road in Huntington, the nature trails at West Hills County Park run through a mixed-deciduous forest. Several species of plants can be found on the trails as well as different kinds of salamanders, foxes and turtles. Horseback riding and camping for youths is offered on a reservation basis. The trails are the perfect place to take pictures of the beautiful fall foliage.
Sands Point Preserve
216 acres and six marked trails await those who visit this Port Washington preserve. Walk past the pond and through the woods and open fields, or take a tour through some Gold Coast mansions. Visitors can also picnic next to the Long Island Sound and can bring their dogs on the trails as well. The preserve offers weekly yoga classes and seasonal festivals. For more information on events and reservation options, visit www.sandspointpreserveconservancy.org.
Muttontown Preserve is located on Muttontown Lane in East Norwich and is home to several mammals, reptiles and amphibians, as well as various wildflowers and trees. It is the largest nature preserve in Nassau County at 550 acres and its expansive woodlands and fields make it a great spot for admiring fall foliage. Call 516-571-8500 for further information.