Not quite the Hamptons, but still just as far away from New York city, Long Island’s Northfork is growing in popularity. My favorite town in the area, Greenport, is the perfect place for a long family weekend, a girl’s day out, or a romantic getaway. A small harbor town, Greenport gives you access to both the Long Island Sound and the Peconic Bay, some of the best wineries on Long Island, trendy restaurants and shopping, and a distinctive maritime charm.
- Shop the town. Greenport town is full of quaint boutiques, clothing stores, art galleries, etc. Support the local economy and spend an afternoon browsing and stopping for ice cream or drinks as you walk along.
- Mitchell Park. A small park in the center of town that borders the harbor, walking Mitchell’s docks on a sunny day is a must-do. During the summer, the park features plays, concerts, and even themed dances. In the winter, the town also opens up a public outdoor skating rink. If you are traveling with younger kids (or if you are still a kid yourself), hop on the local indoor carousel for a ride. Tickets $2 a person and the carousel is open year round.
- Kontokosta Winery: the only vineyard actually located in Greenport’s small borders. Visit Kontokosta for beautiful scenery of grapevines set against the coastline of Long Island sound.
- Beaches: Make sure you stop by both the bay and the sound. The bay is calmer, with warmer water and smooth sand beaches. Gull Pond is the best bayside beach to visit, featuring a long stone jetty and great views of Shelter Island. The sound has a few more waves and is especially refreshing on hot days. Be prepared for rock beaches though.
- Sep’s Farm, East Marion: Only five minutes by car outside Greenport, I always recommend a visit to Sep’s during the Summer or Fall. Sep’s fruits and vegetables are served at most of the local restaurants in the area. If you are staying somewhere with a kitchen, spend an evening meal at home and cook using Sep’s produce (make sure to try the corn in August). If you aren’t, stop by for a snack in their picnic area to enjoy their homemade salads or baked goods.
- Northfork Wine Tours: There are almost 50 vineyards within a 30 minute drive of Greenport town. Check them out here to create your own personal wine tour.
- Biking Shelter Island: In the summer, the best thing you can do on a day when it is not hot enough for the beach is bike Shelter Island. Bring bikes if you can, rent bikes in town if you can’t. Ride over to the Shelter Island Ferry and take the 5 minute, $5 round-trip ride over. Shelter Island is a wealthier, and it is fun to spend an afternoon biking through to check out the impressive mansions. Bear left when you get off the ferry to bike through the small town center.
- Lucharito’s: A new spot that has become extremely popular over the past two years, Lucharito’s is a tequila bar with the best tacos in Greenport. Order margaritas over ice and mix-and-match the variety of fresh fish, vegetarian, and meat tacos. At night, Lucharitos is a great place to hang out and enjoy drinks with friends.
- American Beech: Recently opened, American Beech is a hotel/restaurant with fresh food that delights any palate. The ambience is equally as wonderful, with crisp white decor lit up by candles and soft lighting. If you decide to visit, make sure you try the shrimp curry bowl. It is my favorite plate on the menu, and it never disappoints.
- Blue Canoe: The best part of Blue Canoe is its location. Situated next to the Mitchell Park Boardwalk, Blue Canoe’s outdoor seating feels both nautical and trendy. The menu is the same. Serving everything from homemade sushi rolls, to burgers, to pasta bolognese, Blue Canoe has something for everyone.
- Claudio’s: Renowned as the oldest family-owned restaurant in the United States (although rumors of its sale outside of the family have been sprouting), Claudio’s is a classic restaurant with three distinctive locations to get your seafood fix. Crabby Jerry’s, on the pier, offers outdoor self-seating over the water and fried seafood during the summer. Claudio’s Clam Bar is slightly more upscale, still situated over the pier and a hot-spot for dancing and entertainment on summer nights. If you are looking for more upscale, Claudio’s restaurant is the best place for indoor seating with classic seafood offerings.
- 1943 Pizza Bar/Brix and Rye: This fun pizza bar serves customers with thin-crust pizza topped with fresh meats, vegetables and cheeses. Though not your traditional New York pizza joint, 1943 makes you feel like you should be going out for pizza more often. If you are into shuffleboard and enjoy adult beverages, go downstairs to their Brix and Rye location. Drinks there are served the old-fashioned way and are strong. A dumbwaiter lets you order food from upstairs and enjoy it while getting competitive in a game of shuffleboard.
- The Market: A nice spot for lunch, the market is a health food store with an organic kitchen inside. Vegetarians, vegans, and those who appreciate a hearty meal can order homemade soups, baked goods, salads, wraps, sandwiches, etc.