Autumn is in full swing in New York City. Although I honestly do enjoy the cool rains and enjoying my fireplace for the first time for the season, I’m reminded of the fun of summer…It’s 2020, so all fun is relative, but the ability to eat comfortably outside, take leisurely strolls, and enjoy the sun at the beaches are all slipping away into winter festivities and anticipating more shutdowns during our second wave.
Last month, we were fortunate enough to take some mental health days off work and leave the city. We ventured to the North Fork of Long Island. For most of you, this is a foreign place of little interest. But, I bet all of you have heard of the Hamptons and the glitterati who summer there. The Hamptons are on the south side of Long Island. And, although they were calling to me, the massive block parties, beach parties, DJs, and lack of social distancing were not. So, we went to the north side of the island; the side where the beaches are slightly rockier, the grass is slightly greener, and the activities are MUCH more laid back.
Did you know that the North Fork is home to nearly 30 wineries? There are also a handful of brewers, distillers, and more farms and local food stands than you can imagine. It’s another one of New York’s foodie meccas.
(And, if you ask me, the wine rivals California’s at a fraction of the cost. Insider tip. 😉)
The locals are really wonderful as well! You may only be 80 miles from New York City….but you aren’t in the city anymore! There’s a slower pace and a friendlier vibe. Noah mentioned that it’s a place you might think of when you think of quintessential Americana.
Most of my frequent readers know that I tend to be drawn to places that are a little damaged. I would take Berlin over Munich, Oakland over Mountain View, and Kingston over Ochos Rios any day. I’m constantly on a quest for truth and “real” culture. There are three places that have proven this theory wrong.
- 1) Copenhagen – picturesque, perfect, and somehow also real.
- 2) Vancouver – A perfect place that houses honest people.
- 3) North Fork – 1950s vintage Americana with a culture that matches – Think the best that Pleasantville has to offer and you’re there.
What To Do in North Fork?
Where to Stay
There aren’t a lot of options for lodging in North Fork. Although it’s a great place to visit, it’s not overtly “touristy.” There are a lot of big-name chain hotels that are reasonable priced at the split of North Fork to South Fork in a town called Riverhead. Aside from that, you may be able to find small inns, B&Bs, and house rentals in Mattituck and Cutchogue. Then, there’s the North Fork favorite seaside village of Greenport, that reminded me a lot of Carmel-By-The-Sea and Monterey, California with the quaint shopping and dining districts, waterfront docks, and coastal vibes.
What to Eat
Everything! Just kidding… You’ll find a lot of quintessential American diners, a ton of seafood restaurants, and some classic Italian fare. It’s all great. You’re in a breadbasket of New York! To get you started, we really enjoyed Jerry and the Mermaid in Riverhead for all things Long Island.
Where to Go
Every season brings something new in North Fork. In late summer, we were able to catch amazing sunflower fields, harvest, and corn mazes! I’m anxious to go back as the seasons change to experience their fall foliage, holiday festivities, spring lavender fields, and summer flowers. You should definitely hit up the small town of Mattituck to stroll down Love Lane and the farm stands around this quaint and perfect town! You should also check out Greenport and the beaches at the north side.
What to Do
For us, it was all about getting away from the city. We wanted to escape IT ALL! So, we rented a couple of bikes at East End Bike Tours and went wine tasting all around Mattituck. It was an amazing day that was peaceful, no-nonsense, and so much fun! You can hit up seven or eight wineries within a 15 mile circle of Mattituck, but we chose Shinn Estate (our favorite without a doubt), Sannino Vineyards, and Lieb Cellars. Because we were slightly limited without a car, we spent the second day near our hotel in Riverhead and explored the aquarium and outlet malls.
Since our plan was a no-nonsense, no-stress getaway, we opted to take the Hampton Jitney and take cabs or Lyfts to get around. I wouldn’t do it that way again. Getting out there is easy with the LIRR or the Jitney, but there aren’t enough drivers in North Fork. We were stranded in Greenport for over an hour trying to find a way back to our hotel in Riverhead. Transportation isn’t easy out there…rent a car or take a car with you. Your life will be better, I promise.
Also, if you’re from the city, don’t talk politics and don’t mention how much different everything is in “New York.” They’re New Yorkers, too. 😉 It may seem like a different world, but we’re all in this together.
Other NYC Ideas…
Check out our previous posts for other NYC neighborhoods to check-out!
- Red Hook
- Rockaway Beach
- Murray Hill and Midtown East
- Central Park
- Discover the Best NYC Landmark and Lookout – Just For You!
More coming each week!
And…it’s 2020…So, here’s my weekly reminder.
Should I Come to New York in 2020?
If you are living outside the Northeast, the answer is still, sadly, no. For more on this, check out our other posts on “3 Months of New York City,” “Riding the Second Wave,” “Wandering and Wondering in NYC,” and “New York: Awakening from COVID-19 Slumber.” Although the numbers are starting to climb again, New York still seems to be under control (at this point). The government is doing its best to make sure it stays below a certain percentage. With so many people living in such a close proximity, pandemics are especially lethal here.
Wait this one out…New York will still be here when the dust settles.
As always, don’t forget to Toast The Moon to all of your international travels by visiting our store, and make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and the ‘gram to catch all of our latest posts and adventures!
Stay in your region this year, stay safe, stay distant, and be like the NYC statues – wear your masks! We’ll see you on the other side.
Noah and Majhon