The hidden gem of the north shore of Long Island, Bailey Arboretum, is a living museum. An Arboretum is a garden dedicated to a collection of trees. Your entire family, including the dog, can escape into nature while still close to Glen cove.
Bailey Arboretum was once an estate that belonged to Frank and Marie Louise Bailey. Frank Bailey was an amateur botanist. An amateur is driven by passion and pursues things for joy, not profit. He created a wonderful collection of common and rare, local and exotic trees in his home.
In 1911, the son of a physician, Frank, bought a hundred-year-old estate. A gardener was one of the first staff he hired to maintain it.
The house built in the 1800s, which he humorously used to call Munnyskunk, was once the property of Winston Churchill’s uncle’s mother.
He imported trees and plants for his home and helped his staff to plant and maintain them. This activity brought him great joy and a sense of accomplishment.
His real estate business was majorly based in Brooklyn, NY. During the great depression, he ensured the survival of the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.
His efforts made him many friends in the botanical profession. He knew both businessmen and horticulturists alike. With his deeper network of friends, he could procure rarer trees for his private collection. He also received many choice gifts to add to it. Gardeners, both professional and amateur, would frequent his collection.
He died in 1953, and his wife followed in 1964. Shortly after, in 1968, the property was for the benefit of the public in Nassau County. The home was restored, and a parking lot was added to the property during the same year. In 1969, the North Shore Garden Club helped fund a new rose garden.
During the early 1970s, Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) students built a trail and added plants, bridges, and dams. In November 1993, thirteen decorators volunteered to restore the main home on the property and made many improvements to the withering house.
Management switched over to the Friends of Bailey Arboretum in 2006. It’s a non-profit organization created in the 60s, dedicated to the maintenance and improvement of the Arboretum.
They tore down a greenhouse in 2008 because it was beyond repair. However, in 2010, the North Shore Garden Club of Long Island, Inc. restored one of the greenhouses to its original state. A replica of its wooden door was built to replace the neglected one.
In 2011, a wildlife hospital moved to the Arboretum. It cares for injured local wildlife.
In 2014, the Arboretum became accredited by the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program. It was recognized as a Level II arboretum, the only one in the New York Metropolitan area.
Unfortunately, while facing heavy winds in 2018, some trees were destroyed, including a few planted by Frank Bailey himself.
Bailey Arboretum has several specialized areas for the public to explore. The Arboretum is home to the first sensory garden on Long Island. There’s an aviary, fairy castle, bird garden, greenhouse, visitor center, rose garden, turtle island, hiking trails, and more to check out there.
You’ll see the world’s largest Dawn Redwood during your time there.
The Bailey House
The original house on the property is a well-maintained neo-colonial home. Nowadays, it is used as a venue for a variety of celebrations such as but not limited to:
- Wedding ceremonies
- Wedding Receptions
A special area is sectioned off for children on the property. It is an Arbor Day Foundation-certified outdoor classroom. It’s a place where kids can explore nature, dig, play with blocks, or act on the wooden stage. It’s an area where kids are free to be kids.
There are two artificial ponds added to the property. They beautify the area even more. You can dip your toes in the pool or sit close by on a shaded bench. Read a book or picnic with the scenic water body in your background.
There are several acres of woodland trails to enjoy a nature walk. You can bring your kids or dog to experience the well-maintained woods.
Unlike a usual trail, there are several exotic and rare species of trees. Immerse yourself in nature and appreciate the work of a visionary and many horticulture enthusiasts who came after him.
Things to Do
The list of things to do here is endless. Here are some of our recommendations
Visiting the Arboretum is a great opportunity to learn or teach your kids the names of many trees. Learn how to identify different local trees by their leaves or the color of their bark.
Anywhere can become a brilliant picnic spot here. You can choose from many open spaces. Since the park’s capacity is limited, it won’t be too crowded. You can enjoy your feast with your family in peace.
3. Dog Walks
Your dog will enjoy the outdoor enrichment gained from visiting this park as much as or more than you do. Take it along with you, and as long as it’s on a leash, you can have a great time. The trails will provide you and your dog with some great exercise opportunities.
4. Castle Sculpture
There’s an interesting German castle sculpture in the park. It’s nothing to write home about for adults, but kids will love it!
5. Volunteers for Wildlife
Visit the Volunteers for Wildlife animal hospital and see the animals receiving care. They may let you interact with some if they are friendly.
The greenhouse is full of lush plants during any season. You can view and learn about new plants there.
7. Attend an Event
The Friends of Bailey Arboretum host many parties and educational classes you can attend. Learn about nature while having fun at the same time.
The Bailey Arboretum started as a private collection belonging to someone who loved nature. After his passing, his hard work and legacy continue living today. The Arboretum is a place where humans can reconnect and learn about nature.