Distance: 1.75 miles, option for more or less
Skill Level: easy
Elevation Gain: 100′
Type of Hike: loop
Trail Condition: grass, trail
Wow Factor: historical value and discovery centers
Note: discovery centers closed Monday and Tuesday and winter
How to get there: From I648, take exit 6. Follow 35 east. Turn right onto 22. The Homestead will be on the left.
From the parking lot, head right and walk across the grassy area in front of the gardens (away from the big house).
Turn right on the gravel road and head down a short distance.
You’ll see an opening on the left and head into the field. This is a great area to watch birds swoop around.
Head up into the trees and follow the Jay signs.
At the T intersection, head left following the Jay and yellow signs. You’ll pass a fence on the right. Check out the little pond on the left.
Pick your way up through the grass to a gravel road.
Before going too far, head right just before the little house.
You’ll pick up the Jay trail signs just behind the empty foundation. Follow this section as it skirts the entire back of the property and climbs to the highest section of the entire park. Keep an eye out for horses and their riders.
The trail will come to a little clearing and you can either head straight/right to finish the trail and come out by a little bridge near the main road (this section has an interesting out-and-back path on the right through the original entrance with enormous birch trees but overall, is pretty overgrown with weeds and poison ivy). I suggest heading left toward the house.
Head up the hill behind the house and you’ll come to the old school house that has been made up to resemble what it did when in use. It has a huge bell, chalkboards, books, a dunce cap, and other items to play with.
There is a sandbox out front and a play house just behind the school. The playhouse has tons of cute wooden toys and furniture.
When you’re kids have had their fill, head down to the far side of the back of the house. Pick up the gravel road and walk past the visitor center.
Go to the red barn and check out all the fun stuff. They have a cow you can “milk,” a huge wooden tractor, a kid-sized barn, tables with tons of toys, a reading nook, dress up clothes and stick horses, historical photos and information, and more. It is a great place to spend a few hours.