There’s nothing quite like a nature hike to work up an appetite, but that doesn’t mean you have to try your luck picking mystery berries or rely solely on trail mix. Long Island offers some great combinations of bucolic walks and delicious dining experiences.
The Full Circle trail at Caleb Smith State Park (581 W. Jericho Tpke) in Smithtown, a mere 3.3 miles, is great for history enthusiasts, amateur ecologists and bird-watchers alike. You’ll pass historic houses and the nature museum before finding yourself surrounded by diverse populations of bird and plant life. This relaxing hike is great for couples and there’s no need to work up a sweat, so dress business casual, bring a change of shoes and continue the adventure with sushi at nearby H2O Seafood Grill (215 W. Main St., 631- 361-6464).
For those looking for a bigger challenge, there’s the Connetquot Contour in Bohemia offering nearly nine miles of historic architecture, lakeside views, swampy streams, thick fields and pine forests. If you bring a fishing rod you can drop a line into the fish hatchery, but if you come up empty or if you’re not in the mood for seafood you can stop by Mannino’s Restaurant and Lounge (169 Commack Rd.) afterwards for Italian or sink your hook into their full bar.
If you’re more interested in padding your photo portfolio than getting a work out, venture to the David Weld Sanctuary in Nissequogue. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to snap shots of water fowl that call Long Island home during the winter months. When you’re done indulging your inner Ansel Adams head over to Kitchen A Trattoria (532 New York 25A) in St. James, where the pasta is always picture-perfect.