Friday, August 7, 2009

Sheffield Island, Norwalk

We took the ferry out to Sheffield Island on this spectacular day. The sky was blue and the air was clear and we could see the Manhattan skyline in the distance (above).

Here are some old ruins on Sheffield Island we passed in the ferry as we approached the pier. Unfortunately, the ruins are on a section of Stewart McKinney Wildlife Refuge that is closed off to people, so I wasn't able to walk up to them. There's a nature trail nearby with a viewing platform and interpretive sign that says the ruins were once part of a mansion with a 100 foot long pier. The trail is quite short. If I go back, I plan on walking along the shore on the opposite side of the island, where it looks like you could go quite a ways. Otherwise, there's really not that much space for you to explore considering the size of the island.

You only get to stay on the island for an hour and a half, which seems very short considering how much there is to do. When we arrived, a tour of the lighthouse was announced to take place in twenty minutes, and the tour would last 20 minutes. I chose to skip the tour so I would have more time to explore the island. But later I regretted missing the opportunity to go inside the lighthouse and one of the staff was kind enough to let me go in and climb to the top. You go up by wooden steps so steep they are nearly ladders.

Here's a view from the top of the lighthouse towards the tip of the island. Later we walked down the tip there and found the old stone ruins of a former building... well as a big clump of these beach peas, a plant native to our sandy shores.

Information on the Sheffield Island Ferry is online. Be sure to call. The first time I planned to go I did just that and discovered they had canceled the ferry that morning because a private party wanted to charter the boat. During the ferry ride a guide describes what you're seeing, but unfortunately I couldn't understand most of it due to the fuzzy speakers.

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