I  hope my friend Jamie never starts a blog.

Because it will be fabulous, you’ll be sure to find it, and you’ll forget all about me.

Jamie and I became friends about a year ago – and it quickly became apparent that we had much in common. So it never surprises me to see Facebook pictures of her at many of the same places that I venture to. The thing is, she manages to always up the ante by ALSO finding obscure, awesome things to do that I’ve never even heard of. This would really irk me if I didn’t love her so much.

To top it off, she goes almost everywhere with her three impossibly adorable blonde daughters in tow – and all wearing dresses.

We’ve done some fun things together, so when she sent me a link to Dead Horse Bay, I was IN.

Okay, so – Dead Horse Bay. You’ll find some links below to more information about this New York oddity (and its gruesome past), but here’s the scoop: The bay got its name for the horse “rendering” plants that stood there in the 1850’s. Since horses were the main form of transportation back then, there were lots of carcasses to deal with.

(You still with me?)

And that’s where most of them wound up – to be turned into glue, fertilizer and god-knows-what-else. And the bones? Dumped right into the water.

When cars overtook horses, the plants eventually disappeared and the bay became a landfill. Sometime during the 1930’s the landfill was capped, only to burst 20 years later, spewing trash all over the beach and bay. Since then, the garbage has been steadily leaking onto the beach.

Which brings us to Dead Horse Bay today – thousands and thousands of bottles, old telephones, bits of pottery and other such “ephemera” (along with the occasional horse bone), scattered the entire length of the beach.

This of course, made for the perfect outing for Jamie and her girls (all three feisty, intrepid scavengers and creators). I was thrilled to tag along.

Wellies, rubber gloves and canvas collection bags in tow, we walked about a half mile from the main road (thank you, phone GPS!!) and emerged, through a thicket of beach grass, onto Dead Horse Bay.

dead horse bay

dead horse bay

It was eerie, quiet and strangely beautiful. dead horse bay

dead horse bay

There were a few other treasure hunters on the beach that day, along with a very friendly ranger and her crew. The ranger showed us an actual horse bone and gave us a brief history of the island.

dead horse bay

dead horse bay

dead horse bay

After a good scrubbing, my bottles found new life as mini vases atop my mudroom window sill.

dead horse bay

dead horse bay

And Jamie and the girls? They made a fairy “hang out” – complete with red bookcase.

dead horse bay, jamie's picture

photo credit: Jamie Gehman

See? I told you they were cool……….

dead horse bay

Want more? Here are some links to other articles – let me know if you go!

From The New York Times.

From Untapped New York.

From Underwater New York.


  1. Jamie Gehman on September 8, 2012 at 9:58 am

    Good score on those bottles, Sheri! After I washed off one of my acquired milk glass bottles, I noticed the bottom read “Musterole.” Googled it- apparently Musterole was a salve for coughs, (like Vick’s Vapo Rub) made from mustard, popular in the 40s. Love this method of learning history. Thanks for remembering this so well!

    • sherisilver on September 8, 2012 at 1:53 pm

      And thank YOU for providing me with such beautiful “subjects”! 🙂

  2. Jill V. on September 8, 2012 at 10:34 am

    What?! This sounds awesome! I put it on my to go list.

    • sherisilver on September 8, 2012 at 1:53 pm

      Pick me up on the way! xo

  3. Drew on September 9, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    So macabre and so cool. Like a scene from a post-apocalyptic eco-nightmare.

    • sherisilver on September 10, 2012 at 6:44 am

      Yes, the juxtaposition of 3 little blonde pixies in this setting put it right over the top! 🙂

  4. Lisa on September 10, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Oh my goodness – what an incredible sight! I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anything like this before! What an amazing (and spooky) treasure island for kids (and adults) – and the story! My jaw dropped as I was reading it!

    • sherisilver on September 10, 2012 at 7:16 pm

      Thanks Lisa – this is one of those places that did NOT disappoint! xo

  5. Melanie on September 12, 2012 at 12:58 am

    This post made me go “cool! eww!!! cool!!!” Seriously, what a unique adventure. 🙂

    • sherisilver on September 12, 2012 at 6:54 am

      Same. But it was definitely more “cool” than “eww”!

  6. Karen on September 28, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    As a horse-lover/horse owner, that this place exists breaks my heart. It is hauntingly beautiful and I hope those horse spirits are happy and free and galloping along the beach. Great post!

    • sherisilver on September 29, 2012 at 7:32 am

      Thank you so much – I was really hoping to convey both the beauty and the haunting in the words and pictures….

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