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Trail Guide, Maps and Permits
In 1921, Marshall Field III purchased 1,750 acres of Lloyd Neck land to create one large estate. He named the land after its Matinecock Indian name, Caumsett, which means “place by a sharp rock.”
Mr. Field created a self-sufficient English-style estate as a combination country club, hunting preserve and home complete with its own water and electrical supply. Most of the buildings on the estate were designed by architect John Russell Pope, who had designed the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. When the estate was finished, it had facilities for most sports except golf. During its peak, more than one hundred people were employed at Caumsett, tending to the extensive gardens, polo ponies, cattle herd, and, of course, the family and their numerous guests.
Acquired by New York State in 1961, Caumsett State Historic Park’s extensive forests, meadows and waterways provide habitats for a variety of flora and fauna. The diversity of the park’s environment and its limited access to vehicles make it one of Long Island’s best places for relaxation and enjoyment of nature. Hiking, bird watching, nature photography, nature study and fishing are among the many activities visitors may pursue. Guided nature tours are led throughout the park focusing on many aspects of the Caumsett environment and Long Island in general.
The trail guide will take you on a 4-mile journey through Caumsett’s woodlands, open meadows, freshwater pond and, ultimately, to Long Island Sound. You will look into the past and read how some of America’s wealthiest people lived and played on what was once called “The Gold Coast.” The roads are mainly flat, though the road to Long Island Sound is steep and can be difficult. There are, however, a number of benches along the road for rest stops. At a normal walking pace, with occasional stops to read the booklet or look at things, the full walk will take about 2 hours. There are no restrooms or drinking fountains between the Park Office and the Master’s Garage comfort station. During warm sunny weather, portions of the walk become extremely hot. Please drink liberal amounts of water and stop to rest when necessary. Restrooms are available at the Park Office area as well as in the Master’s Garage.
The trail guide is not an identification guide to every plant and animal found in the park, nor is it a detailed historic piece. Instead, it is intended to highlight some of the interesting, natural and historic features of the park. If you find that you have more questions, please stop at the Information Kiosk or the Park Office.
Finally, as much as we hope the trail guide booklet will enhance your park experience, remember that the park is a beautiful and wondrous place at any time of year. Spend most of your time here looking, listening and just enjoying the surroundings. You are sure to discover more about Caumsett State Historic Park by walking slowly and keeping your eyes and ears open.