Couresy Desiree Harmon
The Greis Park Hudson Exercise Trail in Lynbrook is a local, hidden gem. Writer Mary Malloy recently took a walk with her grandsons Thomas, 8, and Shane, 4.
It’s a calm and peaceful, almost surreal area. The trees muffle outside sounds, and it has an almost cocoon-like, cathartic feel when you’re walking through it. There are exercise stations every few yards where children and adults can walk on a balance beam, do a few pushups or challenge themselves to swing across the jungle gym.
Even though we met a few bicyclists, dog walkers, serious runners and families pushing baby carriages, I think the Greis Park Trail is a hidden gem and underutilized. Want to get to a game or an event at Greis Park? Enter at the other end of the trail and make it part of your walk — and visit the beautiful community gardens while you’re there. Don’t want to fight the morning rush-hour traffic, or for a spot at the train station? Park on the other side of the park and walk the trail to the Lynbrook LIRR in the morning and back at night. It’s great exercise, and a good way to de-stress and get a little fresh air.
Where to walk?
Hempstead Lake State Park
Southern State Parkway, Exit 18, West Hempstead
Phone: (516) 766-1029
Trails for horseback riding, biking and hiking trails, shaded picnic areas and a historic hand-carved wooden carousel.
Valley Stream State Park
Southern State Parkway, Exit 15, Valley Stream
Phone: (516) 825-4128
Nature and cross-country ski trails. The Squirrel Nut and Hickory Nut nature trails give children the opportunity to explore the various habitats within the park. The park has a walking course, a half-mile loop with 15 stations where walkers can complete a variety of stretching and strengthening exercises.
Norman J. Levy Overlook Park and Preserve
1600 Merrick Road, Merrick
Phone: (516) 804-2000
This verdant park, once a landfill, has been transformed into an environmental treasure. Several miles of trails and a 500-foot-long fishing pier offer good bird watching. The park provides a jitney to transport physically challenged and elderly visitors upon request.