From four major access points, trails amble along open farmland, curve through verdant meadows, tunnel through cedar groves and hop across foot bridges before converging at a pretty pond. But the enchanting centerpiece for me is the pine tree corridor.
There are four access points: Cherry Hill Rd (small parking lot), Birchwood Drive Cul-de-sac (street parking), Linton Road (street parking) and Pine Brae Road (large parking lot).
There’s ample space for loads of cars at the Pine Brae Road trail head, but only ours parked there on this Sunday. A map posted at the parking area shows the whole network of Cherry Brook pathways. This one makes a slight ascent up to a broad grassy track that runs the full perimeter around a vast area of farm land. Birds of prey take in the big sky and swoop into the thistly steppe every now and then. 10 minutes into the walk, you’ll pass a field of solar panels and then the Princeton airport becomes visible in the distance. All the while, the straight line of woods stands at attention on the horizon. The wide pathway enters the woods gracefully with signs of wildlife everywhere in the form of muddy tracks, droppings and song. Shortly after entering the woods, be mindful of your choice of pathways. Your first right connects you with the Cherry Hill Road access portion of the trail, carrying on straight ahead takes you toward Cherry Valley Road.
Opposite in the extreme, the Cherry Hill Road entrance to the preserve is an enchantingly narrow passage of cedars that has you intrigued at every twist and turn.
From Linton, you pass generous patchworks of wild brush and deer habitat – perfect for bird and butterfly watching.
And from Birchwood, more tunnels, but this time saturated with verdant green and astride (and sometimes atop!) a tiny stream that eventually merges with a brook with stepping stones connecting you to meadowlands.
AS A WINE….
This is a Pinot Noir – epic in scope and intrigue, elegant and far reaching but with deeply flavored prongs – and, to your amazement, one turn begets another, and another.