If you’re stuck at home and going stir-crazy in the aftermath of this week’s impending North Fork snowstorm, you might as well put on a hat and gloves, grab a toboggan and go sledding (or cross country skiing, or if the rinks are open, ice skating.)
Don’t know any spots? Here are our staff members favorite picks.
North end of Roanoke Ave., Riverhead
Relatively safe with little traffic, the dead-end where Roanoke Avenue meets the Long Island Sound has a small hill goof for sledding. Even better, there’s room to park your car once the plow comes through.
Reeves Beach boat ramp, Riverhead
Going sledding with little ones? This boat ramp has a nice, slight decline down to the sand.
South hill on Main Road across from Mattituck High School, Mattituck
Children have long flocked to this popular sledding site, located across the street from the school
Behind Washington Ave., Greenport
Neighborhood sandpits in this location make for decent tobogganing
CROSS COUNTRY SKIING ON SHELTER ISLAND
This story originally appeared in the 2014 edition of northforker’s holiday magazine.
BY CHARITY ROBEY
Although I am a grown woman, snow in the forecast makes me very happy. That’s because I have cross-country skis.
It takes only two or three inches of the white stuff to ski on Shelter Island. Last winter, that was no problem from Christmas right through March. And the 2014/2015 Old Farmer’s Almanac predicts another winter of above-average snowfall for our area.
“Out here, people often hunker down in a snowstorm,” said Holly Cronin, a Shelter Island resident who has skied all over the Northeast. “When you ski, you get the joy of being outdoors in the snow — and even on a cold day, you will sweat.”
The only officially designated cross-country trails on Shelter Island are at Mashomack Preserve. Bring your own skis or snowshoes and don’t expect groomed trails, snowmaking or much company.
“It’s whatever nature provides,” said Cindy Belt, education coordinator at Mashomack. “On the weekends, there might be half a dozen people in a day.”
Shelter Island resident Kim Reilly agreed.
“The difference skiing at Mashomack, that I haven’t experienced elsewhere, is the sense of being completely alone and surrounded
by nature,” she said.
In the summer, dense foliage hides Miss Annie’s Creek, one of the most charming bodies of water on the Island. But in winter, glimpses of the creek show through the bare trees.
“You really appreciate the ups and downs, the hills and valleys,” Belt said.
A six-mile cross-country loop consists of parts of the Mashomack trail system connected by a section that’s only open during the winter. For a 10-mile loop, add the longer (and bumpier) “Blue” trail. Mashomack is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. October through February and is closed Tuesdays. In January, the Visitor Center is open only on weekends.
When the first flakes fly and school is out, nearly the entire able-bodied population of Shelter Island heads for Goat Hill, also known as the Shelter Island Country Club. A nine-hole public golf course, it boasts the highest point of land on the Island with spectacular views.
The last time I “Skied the Goat” it was crawling with sledders, including my sons. I kept to the middle of the fairways, making a long loop around the course. Swooshing past the bottom of the hill, I avoided human missiles on unsteerable contraptions like giant salad bowls. I loved every minute.
Sylvester Manor Educational Farm is a 243-acre property laced with footpaths and trails that wind through farmland and woods with views of Gardiners Creek. Executive director Cara Loriz said that although they have not yet established cross-country ski trails there, they welcome wintertime visitors, provided they call first.
A fireplace is an important amenity after a day
of skiing. Two Shelter Island inns with fireplaces are open in the winter: The Ram’s Head Inn has
fireplaces in the lobby, bar area and restaurant
and the House on Chase Creek has a fireplace-equipped suite.
47 South Ferry Road, 631-749-1001
Shelter Island Country Club,
26 Sunnyside Ave., 631-749-0416
80 North Ferry Road, 631-749-0626
The Ram’s Head Inn,
108 Ram Island Drive, 631-749-0811
House on Chase Creek,
3 Locust Ave., 631-559-2296
Both Riverhead Town and Greenport Village open temporary ice skating rinks once temperatures dip below freezing long enough to create a thick sheet of ice.
Are you a novice who is afraid to take the ice? Our Danielle Doll explains how it easy it is with lessons available at the Mitchell park rink.
Be sure to call ahead, particularly after a snowstorm, to make sure the facilities are open.
Riverhead Town Ice Skating Rink
Location: Stotzky Park, Columbus Ave. and Pulaski Street
Times: Daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Cost: Free; ice skates not provided
Contact Riverhead Recreation Department, (631) 727-5744
Greenport Ice Skating Rink
Location: Mitchell Park, Front Street
Times: Monday through Friday, 3 to 5 p.m.
Saturday-Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: Adult, $5; seniors and those under 18, $3. Rentals and skate sharpening are an additional $5.
Contact: Village of Greenport, (631) 477-2200, ex. 2.