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noraleah:

The Thought For Food Guide to the North Fork 

A few people have asked for tips — here they are. They’re based on many visits over the past three summers and M.’s always sage advice. (See all my North Fork/Hamptons posts here.)

Where To Stay:

We normally stay in a house that belongs to M.’s ex-girlfriend’s father’s ex-girlfriend (how’s that for la familia putativa?), so I don’t have a ton of experience with hotels and house rentals. This is what I do know:

  • For Liz’s bachelorette we stayed in Southold at this fantastic waterfront house chalet. Sleeps a crowd.
  • M. and I have stayed at the Quintessentials B&B in East Marion —yummy breakfast and a sweet Jamaican owner. Highly recommended.
  • For writers or people seeking quiet, shared space, the Ink Hotel in Southold is lovely.

Getting Around:

M. has a car so we always drive. We have friends who take the LIRR or the Jitney to Greenport and stay in town without a car but then they’re limited to Greenport: no wineries, etc. I feel like you need a car for the full experience, though you could bring bikes on the train, stay in Southold or Mattituck, and bike to wineries and beaches. That would be doable and fun, assuming the weather cooperates.

Favorite Wineries:

Note that for larger groups (say, 5+), you may need reservations on weekends.

  • Shinn Estate in Mattituck — they just started doing a $25 reserve wine tasting with food pairings every Sat. and Sun. afternoon, every hour on the half hour (I think). They also do winery tours every Sat. and Sun. at 1:30. But if you don’t make it for those, just do a regular tasting. It’s hands down the best winery on the North Fork. Their Wild Boar Doe, First Fruit sauvignon blanc, bone-dry rose, and Anomaly, a white wine made from red grapes, are favorites of mine.
  • Lieb Family Cellars in Mattituck — great wine (love their white merlot), no-frills setting on Cox Neck Road.
  • Paumanok on the Main Road (Route 25) in Aquebogue — beautiful vineyard setting and you can bring your own picnic.
  • One Woman in Southold — the tiny little hut surrounded by picnic tables makes for a charming setting, especially if it’s a beautiful day; their rose is quite good.
  • The Old Field in Southold — a picturesque old farm.

Favorite Restaurants:

  • You must get an iced (or hot) mocha at Aldo’s in Greenport — good god, so delicious. His scones are terrific too. N.B., my ladies: I don’t think he has skim milk, just go with full-fat and enjoy!
  • Love Lane in Mattituck — their lobster rolls are outrageous. A generally adorable lunch spot. It’s busy on weekends.
  • The Hellenic in East Marion — an excellent Greek joint worth going to if you’re heading farther out from Greenport. Get the salad platter to share. They do wonderful whole roasted fish &  falafel. 
  • The North Fork Table and Inn in Southold— romantic and upscale; fabulous local and seasonal food. You’ll need a reservation for a table — but it would be fun to just eat at the bar.
  • The Lunch Truck — operated by the North Fork Table and Inn in their parking lot; yummy lobster rolls and the like.
  • The Frisky Oyster in Greenport — local/seasonal food at Manhattan-level quality … and price. The bar is scene-y and fun.
  • The Modern Snack Bar on Route 25 in Aquebogue — worth a stop on your way in or out. Good diner food; awesome fried clams and giant slices of pie.
  • Vine in Greenport — good food and wine and they have free wi-fi.
  • Claudio’s has several locations in Greenport (including on the marina) — all serve tasty classic seafood fare.
  • The Harbourfront Deli in Greenport — great take-out sandwiches. I love their oyster po-boy wrap.
  • The Sandpiper in Greenport — classic ice cream shop.
  • The Whiskey Wind in Greenport — not food, just booze. A perfect dive bar.

Favorite Beaches: 

You need town permits to park in beach lots. It’s generally better to either bike to beaches or park a little way away and walk. 

  • Rocky Point in East Marion (we usually stay near there) — It’s quiet, gorgeous, but (yes) rocky. Fantastic sunsets.
  • Southold Town Beach — sandier and pleasant but busy on peak days.
  • Narrow River Road Beach in Orient — super-chill & small. It’s good for sunbathing and swimming in the shallow waters of Narrow River; they’re much warmer than the Sound or the Bay.

Favorite Farm Stands and Food Stores:

  • Oyster Pond Berry Farm at 24850 Main Road in Orient — easily the best berries I’ve ever tasted. Get there early in the day because they often sell out.
  • Sep’s on the Main Road in East Marion (near Rocky Point beach) — awesome produce at crazy-cheap prices. M. loves their pies.
  • Sang Lee Farms in Mattituck — probably the best farmstand on Long Island. Perfect produce plus staples like nuts, cheese, and sauces. They also run cooking lessons, dinners, and other fun events throughout the summer.
  • Southold Fish Market — where we go for the freshest of fish for grilling or, perhaps, cioppino on the beach.
  • The Village Cheese Shop in Mattituck — who doesn’t love a good cheese shop?

Shelter Island and the Hamptons:

We love taking the ferry to Shelter Island for dinner at the Vine Street Cafe — try to coincide it with sunset! It would be a lovely bike trip.

We take day trips to Southampton (ferry to Shelter Island & ferry to Sag Harbor) to have some ocean beach time — but better to avoid doing this on the weekends. We stop at a few places along the way….

  • Channing Daughters — tied with Shinn for my fave Long Island winery. Try their “orange” wines — quite unusual.
  • The Dock House in Sag Harbor — awesome fried seafood.
  • Tate’s Bake Shop in Southampton— they make those amazingly crisp chocolate cookies that are sold all over NYC.

A wonderfully thorough guide to the treasures of North Fork.  Time to return to the golden sunsets and rocky beaches for a much needed vacation.

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