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Long Island - A very special place we get to call home.

A Hiking...or a Haunting...We Will Go

In search of a hike out east, my sister and I left our fate in the hands of google. There were many to pick from, but somehow we settled on one in Hampton Bays that looked somewhat interesting since it seemed to be waterfront, and anything that promises a view of the water I'm all in.

After meandering through winding roads in unchartered territory (it was populated, but we had never seen the likes of the area) we finally stumbled on the sign for Squiretown Park. It came up on us so quickly we were almost on two wheels as we spun into the entrance. We pulled in and drove down a narrow, wooded driveway that led to a clearing with a gravel parking area. There was no one in sight, the grounds completely silent. “Oh no no. No. We’re not hiking here," my sister said as she looked around nervously from the safety of the car's shotgun seat.

I ignored my sister’s pleas to abandon the mission, the trees and trails just beckoning me to step foot. Alone, and a bit apprehensive, I set out on the first path I saw, telling myself I had to be brave big sister but hoping to god she would be too scared to stay back by the car. You know what happens in the movies when the crowd is separated.

After trying to call my bluff she ran out of the car and followed me very, very closely behind, and the only sounds we heard were the crunching of our own footsteps. Up ahead we could see a ranger’s house, with a CAR in front. We weren’t alone! I was relieved for a fleeting moment, until I remembered it’s sometimes the “good guy” you’re running from. Yikes!

We got up the courage to move along and explore, coming across these abandoned structures along the way. It was a bizarre and creepy display of rundown buildings we couldn’t quite make out, each with a story to tell although I couldn't tell you the tale. Part of the thrill was our girlish imaginations running wild with Jason on our tail, blood-thirsty zombies chasing us through the brush, and the Blair witch cackling at every turn. There's just something about an abandoned campground that makes your skin crawl...and I liked it.

Finally up ahead we saw a clearing, an open sky that we knew must have been the opening to the bay. We walked a little faster, shedding the heebie jeebies as we approached the escape of open water. It

turned out we were on a bluff, steep and sandy, that overlooked the Peconic Bay. The beach below was rocky with crystal water lapping at the edge. The breathtaking view calmed our nerves, and we stayed a while just taking it all in.

When we got home I had to do a quick bit of research. I was silently embarrassed of my ignorance - I had never heard of Squiretown and had no idea of its history. I found out it was a retired Girl Scout 65-acre camp called Camp Tekakwitha, sold to Town of Southampton’s for $16.5 million in 2006. The grounds are now being used as a public park.

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