NYC Escape: Weekend in North Fork, Long Island
Take a break from the city and explore the wineries and quiet beaches and lavender fields of Suffolk County.
Photo By: littleny
Photo By: Kontokosta Winery
Photo By: Michael Krinke
Photo By: AlisonPerryPhotography
Photo By: ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT / Staff
Photo By: iShootPhotosLLC
Photo By: 4kodiak
Photo By: Alice_yeo
Photo By: Leonsbox
Photo By: Kontokosta Winery
More than 40 wineries call the North Fork home, along with a brewery and distillery. Wineries are a mix of corporate and independent; if you’re traveling with a larger group, check with independent operators ahead of time, since many don’t allow buses or vans.
Kontokosta Winery is the island's easternmost winery, and one of the most beautiful properties in a region packed with Instagram-ready wineries. Its long, vineyard-flanked driveway makes for a dramatic entrance, and leads to an equally impressive tasting room housed in a large, airy farmhouse. For the ultimate North Fork experience, cross the sprawling backyard with your glass of award-winning Rosé or Sauvignon Blanc while drinking in the rural sweep of Long Island Sound.
The Old Field Vineyards
Shinn Estate Vineyard and Farmhouse
What to Do
You could easily spend the entire weekend visiting wineries, but it's not the only option. Rent bikes from Dan’s Bike Rental, either to pedal to wineries or around Greenport. A number of wineries also hold yoga classes in their vineyards during the warmer months. There's no shortage of farms, and Harbes Family Farm is one of the largest with three locations. The main location in Mattituck offers 10 acres with horses, sheep, chickens, rabbits and more. It also features two corn mazes, hayrides, and a tasting room for adults.
Orient Beach State Park is located at the very end of the North Fork, and is just a 15-minute drive from Greenport. The beach is long enough so that it never feels crowded; in fact, if you visit during an off-peak time, you might have much of it to yourself. Either way, hiking paths lead to such finds as mussel beds or giant osprey nests in trees, while kayak rental is available from Eagle’s Neck Paddling Company. On the way back, stop by Lavender By the Bay to stock up on lavender supplies. Walk through the lavender fields when they’re in bloom (usually between early summer and fall) for an $8 entry fee.
The North Ferry to Shelter Island is conveniently located next to the Long Island Rail Road, and the trip takes five minutes. Shelter Island is a worthwhile excursion; if the North Fork feels like a serene getaway, the island is even more so. Exploring it requires a car, unless you’re in good enough shape to bike hills and longer distances. Grab lunch at SALT Waterfront Bar & Grill next to a marina and chow down on steamed mussels and lobster rolls. Afterward, make your way over to Sunset Beach and head upstairs to the bar to enjoy sunset views over the water.
Back in Greenport, make time to pop into its dozens of boutiques and antique stores that line Front and Main streets. Verbena sells eclectic gifts, while Bealle & Bell is a go-to among industry insiders for its antique treasure trove; Thursdays are the best bet to score new weekly finds.
Where to Eat
Shabby chic Love Lane Kitchen in Mattituck is a beloved breakfast and brunch spot; you can’t go wrong with the French toast or a lobster roll. The North Fork Table & Inn, a ten-minute drive from Greenport in Southold, serves destination-worthy farm-to-table fare in an upscale farmhouse setting. Options for lunch or dinner might include tuna sashimi or handmade ricotta cavatelli. Desserts tend to be artistic takes on savory dishes, such as a tapioca pudding resembling sunny side up eggs. If you can’t score a reservation, look for The North Fork Food Truck in the parking lot and order the lobster roll at least once. A side of North Fork Potato Chips are obligatory.
In Greenport, The Salamander General Store serves some of the best fried chicken around. Place your order an hour ahead of time, then bring your feast to the waterfront for a lunchtime picnic. For dinner, Noah’s is acclaimed for its seafood and small plates, and provides an interesting selection of local wines. The Frisky Oyster is another upscale option for dinner, and yes, oysters are a highlight. For more casual dining, Claudio's Clam Bar is an open-air dining spot right on the water, and the perfect spot for enjoying fresh seafood and local wine.
Where to Stay
When to Go
Getting There and Around
If you didn’t drive out, consider renting a car in Greenport, or arrange for a bike rental. A handful of wineries are within easy biking distance. Many restaurants and businesses are also within easy walking distance if you’re staying in town.