For years little has been know or seen on Gardiner's
Island. View of this island have been limited
to only passing boaters. This island is privately owed as it has been now for hundreds of year.
Lion Gardiner purchased an island from Indian
Chief Wyandance, Montauk Sachem for "one big
black dog, one gun, some powder and shot, a gallon
of rum, and three Dutch blankets." The Gardiner's of New York continue to own, operate
and visit this beautiful island.
Gardiner's Island is 6 miles long and 3 miles wide and
there are no stores, restaurants or lodging
facilities on the island. The island is privately
owned and they do not allow visitors. There
are no telephone or electrical lines. All
electric on the island is produced by the island's
huge generators. The only
guests to Gardiner's Island are those invited from
the family or from those that work on the
In August of 2001 we were invited to
take a private tour of the island.
tour of the island, showed us just how precious the
island is to eastern Long Island. Stepping
foot on the island is like stepping back in time and
makes you think about how the rest of the east end
might have been like many, many years ago. The scenery of
the island is absolutely
were brought around the island with four wheel drive
trucks. The roads throughout the island are
made up of two dirt strips. The look of the
roads add so much to the ambiance of the island. These road can be found throughout
the island from Cherry Hill Point to Eastern Plain
Point. During our visit we learned that Mr. Gardiner
himself asks that the roads remain that way and caretakers plant grass in-between the dirt strips to
keep the look consistent throughout the island.
We also got a great view of the caretakers
house and the Gardiner's
Mansion from a distance.
first stop on our tour was at the Kitchen
house and barns. These
barns and buildings were being restored at the time
of our visit. They
were attempting to maintain the original hand made
feel to the buildings. Each shingle was being
put in place by hand. Some of the buildings
dated back to the 1600's. The buildings were
surrounded by stone fences and had a great view of
the fields of the island and the famous windmill.
This was also the location
of a third manor house which burnt down in the
1920's. Inside the barn was like stepping back
in time. The barns were filled with old
milking stalls and even had the names
of horses still on the wall. To the west
of the barns there was an old
dog pen where hunters would leave there dogs
while hunting on the island.
the barns we traveled west into the woods.
Along the dirt trail, we stopped near a hollow,
where we were told Captain Kidd had buried his
treasure nearly 200 years earlier. The site is marked
with a stone plaque stating the importance of
the area. Standing next to the plaque made
stories of pirates and rum runners all seem so real.
From the Captain
Kidd site we continued west to an area called Cherry
Hill Point. From this point we had one of the most
spectacular views of the island. To
the north we had a great view of "The
Ruins" and Bostwick Bay.
Cherry Hill Point we traveled east to an area called
Crow Head. Crow Head also
overlooked a large lake to the northeast. On
the day of our visit the lake was filled with
hundreds of swans. In all my years on the east
end I had never seen so many swans gathered in one
area. Looking at the swans reminded us all how
special this island was to us and to the wildlife
that inhabits this land. From
this vantage point we could also see several osprey
nests that are found throughout the island. On
Gardiner's Island you can find osprey's
nest on the ground near the beaches.
Ospreys can have their nest on the ground because
there are no natural predators to the osprey found
on Gardiner's Island. This island is one of
only a few places in the world that have osprey
nests on the ground.
Crow Head we traveled East to Eastern Plain
Point. There is an old watch
tower left over from World War II on this point. This watch
tower was disguised as a lighthouse and was manned
my soldiers looking for enemy ships during the
second world war. We could even see the remains
of a kitchen inside the abandoned tower. From this tower we got a great
view of the bluffs on the eastern side of the
island. Many boaters can see this tower from
Block Island Sound as they pass the island.
last stop on our tour was the island's landing
strip. The landing strip is used by the
Gardiners for small planes to take off and
landing strip is a long mowed grass strip and is
located on the southern tip of the island
overlooking Nappeague Bay and Cherry Harbor.
There is a wood
bench located at one end to wait for arriving
passengers. From the landing strip we were brought
back to our boat after a few long and wonderful day.
trip to Gardiner's Island was nothing short of
spectacular. It reminded me of what life on
the east end was like many, many years ago. I
will be eternally grateful for the experience I had
on that hot August day. I think every east
ender should experience such a feeling of purity and
beauty, but then the beauty and purity of this
island has been preserved by keeping this sacred
island private and free of tourists. I will
always cherish the time I spent on the special land.