The remarkable true story of General George Washington’s Setauket Spy Ring has come to life in books, exhibits, and even a television series. Now Long Islanders, and people from around the globe, can discover and relive history for themselves in an ingenious outdoor adventure which takes nature enthusiasts, athletes, and history lovers to a whole new level. The brainchild behind this interactive historical experience is local historian, Margo Arceri, a Strong’s Neck resident who has spent years researching the Culper Spy Ring and its effects on the American Revolutionary War on Long Island. “The Culper Spy Ring is about average people doing extraordinary things,” states Margo Arceri. “These brave men and women, who risked their lives, have changed the course of history. It’s about time they get the recognition they deserve. Tri-Spy is a fun way for people to be active and to learn about the Culper Spy Ring and our Revolutionary War past.” Arceri, who is also a historical educator working in conjunction with the Three Village Historical Society in Setauket, acts as a guide taking cyclists, walkers, and kayakers through the actual trails where the British and patriots once roamed. Tour-goers follow in the actual footsteps of the Culper Spy Ring, and, along the way, historical places of interest are pointed out and discussed.
There are three options to choose from: bike, walk, and kayak tour. The biking adventure is an average 10 mile trek, and the walking tour is a three mile trek. The kayak adventure is by appointment only and is an estimated two hour tour. Those participating in the kayaking tour have the opportunity to see the home where Benjamin Tallmadge was born, and visit the proposed site of the famous “Nancy’s clothesline”, where Anna Smith Strong hung petticoats and handkerchiefs as a means of passing along secret information.
Some other sites along the tours are the Strong Family Cemetery, the creek at Conscience Bay, Setauket Village Green, Patriot’s Rock, the Tyler-Jayne Tavern (c.1750), the 1729 Caroline Church of Brookhaven (one of the oldest surviving structures in Setauket), and Timothy Smith House (the c.1695). Several 19th century homes, churches, and other structures will be seen as well, including the 1812 Setauket Presbyterian Church, General John Roe Satterly House (c.1825).
The historic Three Villages, comprised of the Setaukets, Stony Brook, and the incorporated villages of Old Field and Poquott, was settled as a farming community in 1655, and later became known for its shipbuilding. Its rich history is preserved at the Three Village Historical Society, which is also the home of the Society’s ongoing exhibit SPIES!