Greenwich Riding Trails Association Holds Dedication of 94-Acre Nichols Preserve

On July 26 the Greenwich Riding Trails Association (GRTA) hosted a dedication at its bucolic Nichols Preserve. Located at West Lane in Greenwich, the Nichols Nature Preserve was donated to the GRTA by Herbert J. Nichols, Jr, and is a  94-acre property full of natural beauty, including meadows, forests and ponds.

This massive expanse of nature is open to the public – a true hidden gem where families can hike, jog, horseback ride, fish, cross country ski and even picnic. 

Mary Dunham, the granddaughter of Herbert J. Nichols, Jr, was in attendance at the event for the gifting of a tree and bench, and spoke about the special place the Preserve is for her.  

from left, Mary Dunham, GRTA President Anita Keefe and GRTA Board Chair Vicki Skouras. Contributed photo

“I grew up 15 minutes from here in South Salem. My grandfather’s house is at the top of the road so we came here every Sunday, and we would cultivate the land with him,” Mary shared at the dedication. Not only was this a special place in her childhood, but also in her adult life. “My parents got married here at the Nichols house underneath the bell and I got married over by the side pond about 17 years ago,” said Mary. Now, she is committed to its preservation on behalf of her beloved grandfather. “ My grandfather never wanted this land to be built upon. When he passed, it was terribly sad and hard because I didn’t know what would happen to the land but the [GRTA] ended up taking it over,” explained Mary. Now she visits and enjoys seeing other families going on nature walks, walking dogs, riding horses and more. Her visit on July 26 was made even more poignant because she was able to plant magnolia trees for him and her mom who passed away this year, and the butterfly bench for her cousin who passed after contracting COVID-19.

Please visit this amazing place and  enjoy the beautiful land preserved by this wonderful non-profit, first championed by Herbert J. Nichols, JR. Shared Mary: “My grandfather was a world traveler. He walked the Great Wall of China and he was the oldest man in the world to go to the North Pole at 94 years old,   and he went swimming in the polar waters. He wrote 15 books. He took us on many adventures. He was very eccentric; he never wore shoes, ever. Always barefoot. He was a very wise, kind, and generous man. He was my hero.”