Van Wyck-Lefferts Tide Mill Tour
Old mills aren’t all that uncommon, but tide mills, which once dotted the Long Island North Shore, are another story. The Van Wyck-Lefferts Tide Mill is one of the best preserved in the country, and the only one left on Long Island with its building and original massive wooden gears still intact, still sitting on its original dam. It’s a unique Long Island treasure.
The Huntington Historical Society conducts guided tours of the 1795 mill, which is owned by the Nature Conservancy and accessible only by a short boat ride. The Van Wyck-Lefferts Tide Mill was the height of technology when it was built, using the unfailing 8-foot tides of the many bays and coves around Long Island as a power source. High tide filled the mill pond through the tide gate, and then, at low tide the trapped water was let out to turn the water wheel. If you’re into history or mechanical wizardry, it’s a must see.
Tours leave by boat from West Shore Road in Huntington, and last about two hours, from May through October. The first tour takes place on Tuesday, May 29 at 11 am. Tour cost $20; since the tours are generally full, reservations are required. It’s not a trip for those who have trouble with steps, as neither the boat nor mill are handicapped accessible, or for kids under 12, who aren’t admitted. See the website calendar for tour schedules and call (631) 427-7045 Ext 404 for reservations.