Monday, January 5, 2009

Marshlands Conservancy

Marshlands Conservancy in Rye is such an unspoiled piece of shoreline that I almost hesitate before writing about it. The 173 acres of meadow and salt marsh extend from Boston Post Road to Milton Harbor, and provide the only public access to a salt marsh in Westchester County. I have visited here regularly for about a decade, and I never grow tired of it. Each visit seems to offer a different shade of light and color that remains unique.

 Despite my familiarity with Marshlands, I am always a bit confused when I start out on a walk there. The woods behind the visitors center are not clearly marked, and the first part of my walk is usually a blind ramble, until I reach a footbridge that crosses over to a meadow that borders the Jay Heritage Center. From there, the walk becomes straight forward as the meadow leads to a sloped trail that overlooks the marshes and harbor. At the bottom of the slope, a causeway divides the marshes and leads to an island that contains the ruins of a house which was destroyed by the 1938 Hurricane, and eventually a fire.

When I visited in October, the sky was steel blue and contrasted beautifully with the oranges and browns of the autumn foliage. Several New York City buildings were visible on the distant horizon, while Hen Island sat close and quiet, despite the recent political uproar. I circumvented the island, eventually reaching a shaded area with rock outcroppings that meet the beach. Two young children and their nanny searched the shore for shells and small rocks, while an elderly woman with a large hat quietly painted the shoreline scene. This appears to be a popular spot for artists, and I have often stumbled upon them when visiting. One of these days I will try to put together a post featuring some of the paintings.

 I continued walking the shoreline that switched several times from sandy beach, to marshy mud. Although the walk here is an easy one, good footwear is needed for some of the pathways that are often quite wet. I started my way back, taking one last look at Milton Point and the thinning, late season mooring field of the American Yacht Club.

When I reached the wooded area near the entrance, a deer stood in silence watching my every move. I stopped walking and slowly reached for my camera (see WebAlbum below). I took two shots before trying to zoom in closer, but it was too late. He turned his back to my camera, before letting out a snorting sound and running for the woods.

NYNJ Trail Conference: Marshlands Conservancy Map


Rhi said...

This is a beautiful place, indeed! You have some amazing pictures, and even the pictures of the deer turned out pretty good. I'd love to visit this place one day. Thanks so much for sharing!

Steve B said...

What a great recourse. Thanks for telling us about it. Just think how much of this kind of habitat is gone? We have one of North America’s largest remaining Salt Marshes up here between Gloucester and New Hampshire. They are great places.

Mel said...

That place looks beautiful!!