It was a beautiful sunny day, but with everything that needed to be done we decided to take a short walk in the nearby county parkland known as Chandler Estate. The access to Chandler Estate is located behind the Congregational Church in Mount Sinai, right next to the cemetery.
Now, if you search the internet for information about this park you will find numerous references to the place being haunted, but the actual history is just as interesting. According to Ann Becker, who wrote a history of the area, the land was originally a girl’s camp called Camp Sewanhaka back in the 1920s. After it became the Chandler Estate, cottages were erected on the land where notable people, such as Marilyn Monroe spent some time. When the heyday of summer residents was over, the buildings fell into disrepair. Eventually, the last structure burned to the ground in 2004 and the county (having acquire the property in 2001) razed any remaining structures. Any structural debris has long been cleared and only beautiful trails with some interesting vegetation remains.
Although the trails were unmarked, there was some evidence of tree trimming and a field that had recently been cleared. After parking back by the cemetery, we walked around the gate that designated the area as county parkland and began our walk. Not far down the trail we came across a hickory tree, which I believe may be a shellbark hickory. I am not very adept at plant identification so I have found a website called Go Botany that helps me out with this. In fact, this website helped me identify the flowers that we came upon shortly after I took pictures of the hickory catkins.
Pretty soon, we had the choice of walking around another gate to continue on the current trail or walking around the gate to our right. We opted to continue straight. We passed an area that was predominately old cedar trees. From here the trail did get narrower and we had to be careful of the Poison Ivy , which is something that Long Island has in abundance.
The path led to a freshly cleared field with a wooden fence at the far end. To the side of the fence, the trail continued down to the water. We took the path down to the beach and walked along the rocky shore; a feature of most Long Island North Shore beaches.
After we returned back to the meadow, we explored several different trails. Since none of the paths twisted around and the preserve was only about 40 acres we were not worried about getting lost. We explored an area with cedar trees and found one large boulder resting in the middle of the clearing.
The trail eventually led us to the far upper end of the cemetery. We walked down the dirt driveway to the trail head where we began our journey. There was some old headstones nearby, separated from the rest of the cemetery and we stopped to examine them. Although the area was well cared for, time had not been kind to these markers, for we could no longer read the names. We could however, make out dates that ran from 1790 to 1820.
We had spend 45 minutes and had walked about a mile in this little gem tucked away in a secret corner of Mount Sinai.