Exploring Lasdon Park and Arboretum
Written by instructor Anna Knothe
If you have never been to Lasdon Park and Arboretum in Somers, NY, I highly suggest visiting. There is so much to explore. Some of the main highlights of the park include the rare American Chestnut grove, the Memorial Garden, the Historic Tree Walk, the Veterans Memorial path (and museum), and my favorite, the Bird and Nature Sanctuary.
Lasdon is fun for all ages; the park has entertained me from childhood to adulthood. Some of my earliest memories are of me and my family playing with frisbees and kites in the meadow. As I got older, I became less interested in activities like frisbee and more interested in studying the rare flowers and trees on the property.
The park has two different areas, separated by the main road. If you are looking to do something a bit more laid back, I suggest you explore the park’s Arboretum. Stroll through the formal gardens which feature trees, shrubs, and flowers from all over the world. Or visit the Chinese Friendship Pavilion, donated by Westchester’s sister city, Jingzhou in the People’s Republic of China. My favorite relaxing walk is the Famous and Historic Tree Walk which presents trees that commemorate historic events (for example, the Callery pear, a tree species that survived 9/11). Growing up and visiting this park, I would spend hours reading the interpretive signs, trying to learn how to identify each individual tree species.
If you are looking for something more rugged, visit the Mildred D. Lasdon Bird and Nature Sanctuary off of Wood Street. It is only a two-minute drive away from the Arboretum. This twenty-two acre preserve has a system of trails that run through a series of wildlife habitats. It is a great location for birdwatching and viewing other forms of wildlife. Growing up about a mile down the road from these trails, as a birdwatcher, I spent a lot of time here, especially in the spring and summer months. Some of my favorite bird sightings here include the Ovenbird, Red-eyed Vireo, Baltimore Oriole, Brown Creeper, Eastern Wood-Pewee, and Veery.
Lasdon Park is truly a hidden gem in Westchester. It is never overcrowded, and you will learn something new every time you visit. It will take multiple trips to the park to see everything it has to offer, and once you see it all, I guarantee that you will want to keep coming back. I have made countless trips to Lasdon throughout my life, always finding something new to marvel at!
Note: Check for ticks after leaving the Bird and Nature Sanctuary. This area has a lot of tall grass species (where ticks love to hide).