Goldsmith Inlet County Park is a unique and important ecosystem on the Long Island Sound in Peconic. This saltwater inlet runs from open beach up to a tidal inlet to a tidal saltwater pond. The ecosystem includes Goldsmith Inlet itself, the channel into the Inlet from the Sound, Autumn Pond, the County Park, the Town Beach and the land surrounding these water bodies.
Historically, a strong tidal flow allowed operation of the Goldsmith Mill which operated for more than 50 years (1843-1898). During this time wooden bulkheads were installed along the channel from the Mill to the Sound to allow boats heavily loaded with grain to use the Mill.
During Prohibition (1919-1933) the depth of the channel allowed large power boats to deliver bootleg liquor to the Worthwhile Tavern, also located in the channel to the Inlet. Later in the 1930’s, Southold Town installed 2 wooden jettys extending approximately 100 feet into the Sound at the entrance to the Inlet channel. By the mid 1950’s they were no longer functional. Then in 1964 the County rebuilt and extended the western jetty, which is still there today.
Over time, large amounts of sand began to be deposited in the channel and then also in the Inlet itself. Despite dredging the sand continues to return.
A trail crosses a small footbridge at a narrow point of the tidal pond and ascends the forested bluff for a commanding view of Long Island Sound until it descends to the interdunal swale and open beach. The forested bluff contains examples of Maritime Post Oak and dune areas are dotted with Beach Plum and Bayberry. There is a significant Spartina marsh on the east side of the inlet. You are likely to see foraging Ospreys, terns, and kingfishers; also shorebirds, wading birds and winter waterfowl. Prairie Warblers nest here. Although there are many crabs and mollusks in the inlet, shellfishing is forbidden. The mouth of the inlet is a popular fishing location.
Click the following link for a 4 season look at the park in a film by Conrad J. Obregon called “The Little Bridge at Goldsmith’s Inlet”.