My Big Backyard

This is not a drill – Spring has sprung! That means that it’s time to lace up some shoes (or slip on some sandals) and get outside. In my opinion, there’s no better place to do that than right down the road from where I grew up: Stony Brook State Park.

To childhood me, this place was its own kind of natural kingdom. Waterfalls, great stone shelters, and a pool built right into the creek- it was a book lover’s dream. Anyone with a creative bone in their body could be inspired by that magical place.

I also remember when they added in the massive playground out front. Part of me figured that they had built it just for me and I was speechless at the sight of those climbing walls and tire swings. There was playground equipment that I didn’t have a name for or know how to properly use, but boy did I have a blast.

I attended so many gatherings and get-togethers in that park. From my 1st grade graduation cookout to my little sister’s birthday to just wanting to have a picnic on a nice day, there always seemed to be an excuse to go there when the weather was nice.

The Finger Lakes Region is home to most of my favorite landscapes: woods, glacial hills, natural water resources and fall foliage like you wouldn’t believe. To have lived so close to a place that allowed me to walk up a gorge trail any day of the week was such a privilege.

Admittedly, there are tens of thousands of acres of State Parks in New York compared to the 500 or so in little Stony Brook. But with a natural wonder that close to home, you’d be crazy not to feel a sense of pride in your own special piece of it.

When every local has a place like that to claim and share with others, that’s how you know you live in a pretty special place.

Now, it might be a little bit chilly for swimming in that awesome stone pool, but the outdoors are definitely beckoning.


Halie Solea 2013Story and photo by Halie Solea