Photo: Courtesy of Bois de Chiens
Bergen County, New Jersey, is rich with historic and natural treasures that keep families, history lovers and outdoor enthusiasts coming back for more. One hidden trove, a 40-acre, non-profit nature park nestled within the town of Oakland, features Mother Nature’s finest.
Bois de Chiens (translation: Woods of Dogs) is owned and managed by Laurence Levine. Since 1985, the private property and its prodigious grounds have charmed visitors attending wedding receptions, conferences, research expeditions and meditative retreats.
At the core of Bois de Chiens is a sense of camaraderie and friendship — not unlike the property’s very own Irish pub, which was designed to replicate a London landmark Laurence used to visit. The pub, built by tradesmen from Belfast, is complete with four beer spouts, a stained-glass shamrock and an Irish hearth.
Laurence, a Brooklyn native, fell in love with the Lake Champlain Region, and his passion propelled the park’s latest outdoor venture — a picturesque log cabin. In 2017, he turned to Log Chips, LLC (a representative of Timberhaven Log & Timber Homes based in Pennsylvania) to erect his vision. The result is a 1,000-square-foot, engineered-log cabin that includes a panoramic loft, three bunk beds, an outdoor entertainment area, a BBQ pit and a matching log outhouse, which makes a moonlit stroll to the loo much more enjoyable. A wrap-around porch is complete with wrought-iron balusters that provide contrast against their natural wooden surroundings. Inside, the cabin is adorned with furniture from Adirondack Rustic Designs, re-creating Laurence’s
fond memories of his travels to the Lake Champlain Region long ago.
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Beyond the formal grounds, hiking trails connect eight fish-filled ponds. Fifty park benches and 100 nesting boxes complement the paths, and a lean-to camping area sits adjacent to the tranquil water. The gazebo has seen many marriages and sheltered thousands of guests through the years, while an amphitheater comfortably accommodates up to 30 people for social gatherings, team meetings and scenic entertainment.
Wildlife is abundant throughout the park (a bird observatory offers a viewing platform and telescope), while a professionally maintained conifer and botanical garden is available for tours, art exhibitions and open-air performances.
Whether grilling a burger in the sunshine or snowshoeing snowy paths, Bois de Chiens is an east-coast nirvana for outdoor enthusiasts.
Though the park isn’t open to the general public, arrangements for tours and group outings can be made. For additional information or to tour Bois de Chiens’ one-of-a-kind log cabin, contact Log Chips LLC at 845-988-9622 or Timberhaven Log Homes at 855-306-5678; timberhavenloghomes.com.
Photo courtesy of Bois de Chiens
Outdoor-loving guests will find plenty of natural grandeur to admire.