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Welcome to
Gardiner's Island

 

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 island.  

In August of 2001 we were invited to take a private tour of the island.  

Our 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 breathtaking.   

We 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.

The 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 tractors, cow 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.

From 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.  

From 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.  NestOnGround.jpg (58003 bytes)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.

From 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.

Our 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 land.  The 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.

Our 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.

 

Written by Gordon Gooding III

 

Read a recent e-mail OspreysGuide received from a descendant of Lion Gardiner's.

 

 

 

Learn the story of Captain Kidd!

 

Want to see more pictures of Gardiner's Island?
See our Photo Gallery!

 

 

Ospreys on Gardiners Island

 

 

 

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This page was last updated on 06/11/2005
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