Why North Fork, Long Island Is the Perfect Weekend Trip Destination

Courtesy Barry Winiker/Getty

Where to sip, eat, stay, and play in Long Island's rural wine country, two hours from Manhattan. 

There are two sides to Long Island's oyster-studded eastern tip. Take the South Fork and you hit the Hamptons, but take the quieter North Fork and you'll reach Long Island's many family-run vineyards and farms, eventually reaching the quaint seaside village of Greenport. 

Just like its buzzier southern neighbor, North Fork can be reached easily from NYC in a few hours for a day trip or weekend escape either by the Long Island Rail Road, by car, or by chartering a private bus. 

Of course most visitors come here to spend the day tasting the region's grapes of which there's something for just about everyone's palate (and you're never more than an eight-minute drive from one vineyard to the next), but design fiends, antique-shoppers, seafood enthusiasts, and nature lovers will have plenty to add to their itinerary too. 

Here's how to raise a glass and navigate this laid-back north-eastern spot. 

Wine

With over 35 vineyards in this small part of Long Island to choose from, it's good to be picky. Rosé fans should make a beeline to hideaway Croteaux, a fairytale garden with a 200-year-old tasting barn that transports you to Provence and makes and serves rosé, only.  

Cozy Shinn Estate Vineyards is set on a rustic farmhouse inn (they have four guestrooms) with a 25-acre vineyard as its views. Settle into your glass and charcuterie in the garden terrace or on the beanbags by the vines. Guided tours are available on most Saturdays & Sundays at 1:30 p.m. There's also a vineyard walk & winery tour available.

You'll want plenty of time to sip and stay at Kontokosta Winery. This design-led tasting house sits on a waterfront, wind-powered farm in Greenport with sweeping views of the vineyard and the Long Island Sound.

Bedell Cellars, family-owned and operating for more than 35 years, is a North Fork institution and is the spot to come for vineyard dinners, live music and if you're part of their Wine Club, sunset cruises over the Peconic Bay. 

Related: How to Make the Most of Your Summer Trip to Martha's Vineyard

Those in need of a break from the grape can quench their thirst with a fresh beer at Greenport Harbor Brewing Co or Days Like These, the downstairs bar at Lin Beach House. Or if you want to step things up another level, blend your own signature botanical spirit at Matchbook Distilling Co


Courtesy Rachel Herbst of Isobel Media

Dine

This summer, beloved Greenport restaurant Noah's celebrates its 10th season (there's a new 10-year dinner menu to honor the occasion). This spot is known for its fresh seasonal and local fare, and due to its success, it's best to make reservations for dinner. 

For breakfast, hit Bruce & Son—a buzzy hub open Fridays to Sundays. Come here for food like lemon scones, masala toast, and regular avocado and egg brunch favorites. 

Little Creek Oyster Farm & Market is the go-to place for oysters (you can shuck your own if you so wish) and local beer. It's a snug 140-year-old former bait and tackle shop along Greenport's dock. The U-shuck oyster bar is also planning to open The Station by Little Creek inside a 1920s-era fishing building at Port of Egypt Marine in the coming months.

For Italian-by-way-of-Long Island fare head to Barba Bianca. Open Thursdays to Sundays for dinner you can expect fresh focaccia, fish and meats that "goes beyond farm to table" as produce and proteins come from farms, foragers and fishermen within a 5-mile radius.  

Related: The Best Last-minute Labor Day Weekend Getaways From Los Angeles and New York


Courtesy Sound View Greenport

Stay

Check into the recently renovated Sound View Greenport. Designed by Brooklyn-based firm Studio Tack—the team behind cool boutique hotels like Casa Bonay in Barcelona and Scribner’s Catskill Lodge in Upstate New York—the 55-room inn harkens the retro-cool design of 1950s motels.

Other stylish lodges include American BeechLin Beach HouseThe Duncan Inn, and Greenporter Hotel.


Courtesy Lavender by the Bay

Do

Pack a picnic (and maybe rent a bike) and make for Orient Beach State Park, a 363-acre strip of beach and maritime forest with views of Plum Island and the Orient Point Lighthouse nearby. For a weekend on the water, Peconic Water Sports will help you charter wakeboards, jet skis, and boats. 

To return to Provence post-or-pre your rosé at Croteaux, stop by Lavender By the Bay, a lavender field that's open every day from June through September (when blooms are at their most spectacular). Follow their social media pages to see the state of their blooms, but their gift shop stocking lavender pillow sprays, eye pillows, oils, soaps and more is worth a stop at all time of year.  

As you drive in from the city you'll pass by many handmade signs on the side of the road by farms flogging everything from cheese to pies to fresh vegetables and sauces. It's hard not to pick up some tasty souvenirs from Sang Lee Farms and Briermere Farms

Treasure hunters can while away an afternoon and pick up a good book at Burton’s Bookstore then wander over to Beall and Bell to scope out some antiques.