William K. Vanderbilt II built a hiking trail in the 1920s on his Eagle’s Nest waterfront estate in Centerport, N.Y. that became overgrown and disappeared into the forest. The Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum, located at Eagle’s Nest, has reclaimed the trail, and held a grand opening on November 19. Major project donors and museum trustees attended the event in the Rose Garden, which is also the trailhead.
Now called the Solar System Hiking Trail, the course includes a scale model of the Solar System, which complements STEM and astronomy-education programs offered by the Charles and Helen Reichert Planetarium.
Elizabeth Wayland-Morgan, executive director of the Vanderbilt, said, “This is a long-awaited day. We are grateful to Christine Berardi and the National Grid Foundation for 10 years of outstanding, unwavering support and to Vanderbilt trustee Laura Gerde and her husband, Eric Gerde. Their ongoing contributions to our STEM programming include the exhibits in the Planetarium lobby. Their steadfast support makes it possible for the Museum to expand its work as a leader in astronomy and science education.”
Other project donors are Marilyn and Russell Albanese, BAE Systems, Farrell Fritz Attorneys, Northwell Health, People’s United Bank, and PFM Asset Management.
The Vanderbilt Solar System Hiking Trail is 1 mile long, features a scale model of the solar system (Sun-Neptune) and has two opportunities for hikers to turn back.
This is an advanced hiking trail with many steep climbs and descents along a variety of mixed terrain with an elevation gain of nearly 300 feet. There will be two opportunities to cut your hike short and head back to the parking lot if you feel you or your party cannot finish the entire loop. The signs will show you the way out.
Ticks are active in the woods all year long when temperatures are above freezing. To avoid ticks, please stay on the trail.