SYNOPSIS: Chamber Park is a small waterfront park with a playground, gazebo, fountain and benches. If you are running errands in Mahopac, it’s a nice place to stop with the kids or take a few minutes to sit waterside. My kids find our necessary errands and chores less painful when we combine them with a short hike or a visit to a playground.
(Scroll down below slideshow for more info.)
APPROXIMATE TIME: 30 minutes.
DIRECTIONS: Mahopac Chamber Park is on Route 6N, adjacent to the intersection with 6. Coming from the Brewster area, take Route 6 into Mahopac. Bear right onto Route 6N and make an almost immediate right into the gravel parking area. The parking area is large enough for maybe 6 to 8 cars.
THE VISIT: Lake Mahopac in the south central section of Putnam County has limited public access to the waterfront. Indeed, in my ten years living in Putnam, my only view of the lake, until we found this park, has been from my car window.
One of the first things you will see is the large gazebo at the far end of the park. An American flag sits atop a flagpole in the center of the park, and just off to the side of the parking area is a large circular fountain.
The Chamber Park is small. From the parking area, what you see is what you get, but the park planners did a nice job with a small piece of property. There are a few beautiful weeping willow trees down near the water, and there is a small waterway along the eastern border of the park.
A winding brick path takes you through the park. We stopped at the jungle gym for a few minutes. As our two older children played on the small playground, my wife and I discussed the finer points of now being outnumbered by our children. Our youngest was on my arm watching his brother and sister intently.
The path continues down to a sitting area on the water. The ducks seemed “well-fed” and were not afraid to come right up to us. If you look left, you are looking into someone’s backyard, but if you look right there is a nice view of the lake and a marina.
I have driven by this park dozens of times and never noticed it. But I guess that is also part of its charm – a park doesn’t have to be 600 acres of untrodden forest to serve its purpose. The Chamber Park sits in the center of a busy section of town, but if it gives the kids or grandkids some playground time, and you five minutes of relaxation and a nice view of the water, sometimes that is all you need.
We headed back to the playground for a few more minutes. The aroma of a wood-fired oven from a local restaurant filled the air, which of course reminded everyone it was dinner time, and time to go.
HISTORY: According to the Trust for Public Land website (www.tpl.org), this property was given to the Town of Carmel in 1998 by the Trust for Public Land and the Open Space Institute. To buy the property, those two organizations obtained half the needed funds by securing a grant from the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The other half of the funds were donated or raised by the Mahopac-Carmel Chamber of Commerce, local businesses and individuals.
MAP & ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Our last visit was in September 2009, but we have been to the park a number of times, including an evening concert. The Mahopac Chamber Community Park is owned by the Town of Carmel. The town’s website is www.carmelny.org and the parks department phone number is 845/628-7888. For more info on upcoming park concerts and events visit the chamber of commerce website at www.mahopaccarmelchamber.com or call 845-628-5553.