Friday, November 1, 2019

This Month in the Garden: Autumn at Avalon Park & Preserve, Stony Brook, Long Island

Avalon Park And Preserve, Harbor Rd, Stony Brook, NY 11790, USA
Welcome to This Month in the Garden for November! The autumnal season here on Long Island brings forth comfortable walking temperatures and an opportunity to visit the local parks and preserves that are available to the public. One of these parks is Avalon Park & Preserve, a private park located on the north shore of Long Island, across from the Grist Mill on Harbor Road in the town of Stony Brook.
Avalon Park And Preserve-Paul Simons Foundation
The park and preserve was created to celebrate the life of Paul Simons, a native Long Islander, avid hiker and cyclist, who always had a deep appreciation for the outdoors. After his life was prematurely taken away in 1996, the Paul Simons Foundation was formed, and an abandoned 7.5 acres of residential land was purchased to become the future site of Avalon Park. The goal was to celebrate the life of Paul Simon's and his love of nature by creating a natural habitat for future generations to appreciate and enjoy. While the park is managed privately, it is available to the public.
Avalon Park And Preserve, Harbor Rd, Stony Brook, NY 
Avalon Park And Preserve Map
Here is a brief history of how the park came to be. In 1997, an ecologically oriented landscape group, Andropogon Associates, proposed to transform the neglected property into an array of woodland gardens and hiking paths with focus on the native flora and fauna of Long Island. As the project commenced, several invasive species such as multiflora rose, oriental bittersweet vine and Russian olive shrubs were cleared and Avalon Park started to materialize with the addition of thousands of native trees, shrubs and perennials. A labyrinth was constructed and hiking paths added to allow access to the different sections of the park. The property continues to evolve with future plans for more trails and better access to the harbor, while it continues to serve as an outdoor classroom and learning experience for students and adults alike.
Park Wildlife-Swan
Avalon Park and Preserve is the home to numerous forms of wildlife including swans, ducks, squirrels, rabbits, red fox, box turtle, toads and many species of birds.
Crossing the Bridge
Woodland forests include several native plants including oaks, red maple, hickory, dogwoods, Sassafrass, American Birch, Black Birch, American Chestnut and American spicebush.
Mallard Enjoying the Pond
Cranberry Viburnum
The under-story is comprised of species of native ferns, shrubs and wildflowers including purple coneflower and butterfly weed, each an attraction to pollinators and an important food source for birds. Along the way are a series of blue-stone and boardwalk paths, stone steps and hiking trails, all making for a comfortable stroll through the natural habitat.
Path Leading to Labyrinth
One of the main focal points on the property is this slate labyrinth. Based on the Chartres design, the labyrinth is approximately 50 feet in diameter with a sculptural feature highlighting the overlooking rock. It conveys a feeling of tranquility and peace to its visitors.
Labyrinth Avalon Park & Preserve
The paths of the labyrinth lead to a central circle, symbolizing wholeness and eternity, no beginning or end. 
Labyrinth Avalon Park & Preserve
The sculpture at the top of the labyrinth speaks much symbolism. One interpretation of the missing pieces of the climber could be a life torn apart, while there could be various meanings left to the imagination.
Along the Walking Path
Leaving the labyrinth and further along the path is one of the ponds on the property.
Around to the other side of the Pond
The autumn scenery is beautiful.
Signs of Autumn
A Glance of the Bridge in the Distance
In the distance is a bridge that crosses over the main pond, while one can encounter smaller pond areas along the way. 
A Visit to the Toad Pond
Cartas Al Cielo-Letters to Heaven
Following the "red path" to the preserve on the other side of Rhododendron Road is Cartas Al Cielo, a stainless steel sculpture by artist Alicia Frami, which was introduced into the preserve in 2015. Next to a description of the sculpture are note cards and pencils for visitors to write letters.
Cartas Al Cielo-Letters to Heaven
The idea behind the giant sculpture is that visitors can insert letters containing their deepest thoughts into the mail slit on the front of the ball. The phrase Cartas Al Cielo is roughly translated as letters to the sky. There is something about this place that relays a feeling of tranquility and peace and encourages the imagination to wander.
Leaving Cartas Al Cielo
Friendly Swan
This Long Island visit ends as the trail meanders back to the beginning of the park by the Stony Brook Grist Mill. Long Island has a wealth of beautiful places and Avalon Park & Preserve is one to put onto your list. I hope you enjoyed the visit!
Avalon Park And Preserve, Harbor Rd, Stony Brook, NY 11790, USA
I hope you enjoyed This Month in the Garden for November. Be sure to stop by on the 1st. of each month for This Month in the Garden, as I share gardening tips, information and horticultural adventures! (Linking with: Floral FridaysMacro Monday 2Friday Photo JournalImage-in-ing Weekly Photo Link-Up and Dishing It & Digging It.)

For more information visit Avalon Park & Preserve.

For more gardening information and tips...Visit My Author Page and See My Books:

~As Always...Happy Gardening! ~

Author: Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening,© Copyright 2010-2019. All rights reserved.


  1. I thoroughly enjoyed your hike. Thanks for taking us along. I must say that the sculpture is evokes an emotional response in me but I wouldn't call it serene or calming. I can only imagine seeing it in person.

    1. I am glad you enjoyed the hike Lisa. I think the sculpture is one of those things that can be interpreted in different ways. For me it brought a feeling of tranquility while standing next to it, but I can see how it can have several meanings to various viewers.

  2. Wonderful pictures of what looks like a truly remarkable setting.

    1. It is Dorothy. This park has been on the island since the late 1990's and finally got to visit it!

  3. How lovely. I like that climber...#RubyTuesdaytoo

    1. Thank you Lydia. The climber is a remarkable piece and could have so many different meanings.

  4. I was just over at Garden Photo of the Day & saw your amazing photos. Love it all there & here.

    1. Thank you Sally! I was elated to see that they wanted to use my photos and it's so nice to hear that you enjoyed them!

  5. Beautiful scenes of autumn, Lee. I love fallen leaves, so colorful. Swans adorn any park with their proud posture. Of course you had a good time there.


Thank you for visiting. I love reading your comments and knowing you have been here, and will try to reciprocate on your blog. If you have any questions I will try my very best to answer them. As always...HAPPY GARDENING!


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