Beaches, lush vineyards, farm stands selling fresh locally grown produce, quaint villages, lavender fields and a progressive farm-to-table food scene that offers some of the best food on the East End, that’s what you’ll find on New York’s North Fork. It is the best of America’s Northeast, all in one region.
Relaxed and low key, the North Fork feels worlds away from the concrete jungle and offers a peaceful antidote to the hectic Hamptons – and a true escape for those looking for that laid back Aussie vibe – but without the 24 hour flight! 😉
Spread out across a 30-mile Northeastern Peninsula the North Fork runs from Riverhead to Orient Point. It’s home to more than 40 vineyards, numerous working farms that continue to thrive, and some of the earliest settled villages. Whether it’s day trip, weekend away or family vacation the North Fork offers endless things to do, here are just a few of my favorites:
A true escape for those looking for that laid back Aussie vibe – but without the 24 hour flight
Visit Greenport – a charming port village
Greenport is the main town on the North Fork is a charming and quaint 19th-century whaling village with excellent restaurants, boat rides, and a restored 1920s carousel my kids love. Stroll along the water front main street and explore the unique stores.
Do not miss Bruce & Sons in Greenport for brunch. Owned by a young couple who spent 3 months in Australia researching the Aussie food scene – this is the closest I have ever come to what feels like an authentic Aussie brunch, right here in New York. Hands down our favorite place to eat on all of the North Fork. Reservations are a good idea.
Stroll the main street to discover: Lido: a chic boutique for one-of-a-kind finds – everything from vintage Moroccan rugs to custom-designed summer frocks. Flying Point Surf & Sport: A local surf shop with a small, but well curated collection of surf essentials. The Weathered Barn: 10+ craftspeople whose work is carefully curated to fit within the shop’s lifestyle. And take a moment to stop in on Aldo’s Coffee for freshly ground coffee, watch the beans being roasted inside the huge roaster, the coffee shop and Aldo the man are Greenport institutions. Just by Aldo’s is the Vintage carousel, where kids love the ‘grab the gold ring’ game as they whizz by on the horses.
Other food ideas: Little Creek Oyster and Farm Stand where you can enjoy freshly shucked oysters & local beers served in a snug harborside cottage with a market & outdoor seating, right in the heart of Greenport overlooking the port. Or another option for oyster lovers: The Frisky Oyster on main street, behind the modern facade is a creative American bistro boasting local ingredients & a hipster vibe.
1943 Pizza – delicious wood fire pizza served through an open air window. This is just next door to American Beech a restaurant and hotel that boasts a chicly designed interior with French doors that open on to lovely courtyard area for fresco dining with outdoor fireplaces. For a family friendly option check out First and South with it’s relaxed outdoor seating.
To wash down all the food: The Greenport Harbor Brewing Company has 2 locations Peconic & Greenport.
Offering small batch locally brewed beers, pop in for a beer flight tasting. Or stop by Kontokoska Winery to taste some local wines. Housed inside a modernized and light filled barn, this winery enjoys the most dramatic setting as the property is facing the Long Island Sound. Walk to the end to enjoy stunning Sound views, great place to catch the sunset over the water.
Greenport Farmers Market runs on Saturdays between 9am and 1pm and is North Fork’s very first weekly farmers’ market. Find the best of the North Fork all in one place: providing a wide range of vendors including vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers, poultry, eggs, cheese, baked goods, wine, and other locally produced products.
67 Steps Beach close to Greenport will give you access to Long island Sound, walk down to enjoy the pebbly beach and clear water.
A wine lover’s heaven
Home to over 40+ wineries the possibilities are many. Here are just a few ideas:
Croteaux winery – Southold
This is our favorite spot! Feel transported to the South of France when visiting this small, chic winery that produces Rose only. Croteaux Vineyards is set on two farms that have been in continuous agricultural production since the 1700s. Enjoy the delightful courtyard and instagram worthy 200 year old Tasting Barn while sipping on their Rose flight – a tasting of 6 Rose wines, delivered to you in chic etched glasses that arrive in a wire basket.
Jamesport Winery – Jamesport
This large and family friendly winery is set on beautiful grounds with open lawns for kids to run around. Lots of outdoor seating in the garden and fire pits for the evenings. Taste local wines, and enjoy their delicious gourmet wood fire pizzas.
Rose Hill Winery – Mattituck
Working vineyard and winery with a charming farmhouse on beautiful grounds. On a sunny day, relax outside on the patio and enjoy a tasting overlooking the vineyards, don’t forget to step inside and check out the barrel room, just off a very charming library. One of the North Fork’s loveliest spaces.
Sherwood Winery – Jamesport
Sherwood House is a converted 1860s farmhouse that serves some of the best local wines, explore their adjoining barn – a well curated collection of vintage home goodies.
The Old Field Vineyard – Southhold
The Old Field Vineyard is a 104 year old farm making sustainable wines. We love the relaxed vibe with chickens strolling around as you taste the wines, much more low key than the bigger more commercial wineries.
Biking Wine Tour
I have not done this but East End Bikes offer guided and self-guided tours of the region.
There are so many farm stand on the North Fork selling quality locally grown produce you do not need a guide as you’ll stumble right past them. But I will call out these two:
Briemere Farms in Northville sell the most insanely delicious pies, they are so popular that during Thanksgiving there are traffic police to manage the crowds! Made from locally grown fruit and farm fresh eggs, they are not to be missed if you’re a pie person.
Another farm we like to visit is 8 Hands Farm in Cutchogue. This 28 acre, sustainable family farm, has an excellent butcher – selling their own grass fed organically raised meats. They have a gourmet food truck there on weekends and also offer farm tours on Saturdays. This is farming done right.
Stop off in Southold
On route to Greenport you’ll drive through Southold where these places are of note:
The Southold General Store is worth a stop in, it’s a high end market with a beautiful design aesthetic. They sell local products, delicious pastries, gourmet sandwiches and homemade ice-creams with exotic flavor combos like ginger and lime that change seasonally. Great for picking up all you need for a picnic.
White Flower Farmhouse in Southold, is my favorite homewares store where you’ll find vintage European linens and antique ceramics, rustic cushions, worn-in cutting boards and other curiosities —all in calming shades of white and natural wood.
Horton Point Lighthouse, built in 1857, and now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Walk down the wooden stairs for access to the Sound front Beach.
Halyard at the Sound View Motel is a hotel and restaurant on an incredible waterfront setting – waves literally crashing into the deck of the restaurant! The 1953 iconic motel was newly renovated recently, the sprawling space is super chic and beautifully designed with a modern beach vibe.
North Fork Table and Inn here you’ll find the ultimate foodie experience at this farm to table restaurant. Set in a formal old homestead it’s a more serious dining experience offering a 7 course tasting menu and wine flight. However what the locals do instead is go to the North Fork Food Truck in the parking lot next door, where they serve delicious and inventive food, with all the produce sourced locally.
Love Lane, Mattituck
Love Lane in Mattituck is a cute little street worth a stroll.
Love Lane Kitchen – Serves American comfort meals in a quaint local cafe with house-roasted coffee plus beer & wine.
Lombardi’s Love Lane Market – This italian grocery has a gourmet selection of antipasti, meats, bread, an incredible selections of Olive Oils and vinegars as well as lots of delicious prepared dishes from locally sourced farms. A good place to stock up if you’re renting an AirBnB and BBQing at home.
The Village Cheese Shop – This incredible cheese shop gives Murrays Cheese in NYC a run for it’s money! Huge selection of international cheeses, excellent baguettes and yummy extras such as crackers and figs to complete the gastronomic experience.
Fruit Picking & Flowers
Patty’s Berries and Bunches in Mattituck. We love picking our own berries and it is something we do every summer. Patty’s grows strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, with each fruit coming to maturity a different times: Strawberries are usually ready by June, blueberries come later in the season.
During the fall there are many orchards for apple picking, our favorite is Woodside Orchards because of their delicious homemade apple cider donuts, which must be eaten hot!
June and July are the best months to visit Lavender By The Bay when the flowers are in bloom. You can walk through the spectacular purple fields and feel transported to Provence.
During the Fall, the North Fork is dotted with bright yellow sunflower fields.
For those that like to motor, a drive to the end of Orient Point is well worth it. At the very tip of the North Fork you’ll find Orient Point County Park. Great for bike riding, hiking and enjoying the beaches. You can also rent a kayak and glide through the beautiful calm water ways.
Duryea’s at Orient Point is a lovely spot for lunch, a bit of a splurge, but the waterfront setting and beach club have a nice vibe.
A fun trip is to take the car ferry from Greenport over to Shelter Island. A charming tiny island
without a single traffic light on it. Drive or bike around to explore, or lunch at Sunset Beach a seasonal boutique hotel, which is more Hampons than North Fork. It’s very stylish with a great roof deck overlooking the beach for outdoor dining. Expect French food, over price magnums of Rose and music. Reservations and sun tan essential. When you’ve had your fill of that, scurry back to the North Fork for a more chilled vibe!