At the Fork in the Road, Head North
With the husks charring against the embers from the grill, the sweet scent of corn wafts into the air. Stalks of brussel sprouts lay nearby, damp from the morning dew. A car drives with young faces in the backseat pressed against the glass windows, breath fogging the view. The car drives on and soon the landscape turns to evenly rowed grape vines. The diversity and beauty a single road holds in the North Fork is incomparable to other parts of Long Island. With the abundance of fresh fruit and produce available from local farms, restaurants and farmers support one another in the trending sustainability menus and lifestyle. Local vineyards, inns and activities scatter throughout the area, giving a visitor or resident year-round vivacity. To visit you don’t need a specific excuse, because a North Fork summer itself is excuse enough.
On the NoFo, it’s all about the Vineyards. Being a former bus boy at the Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard, I can tell you with extreme accuracy (and a little PTSD) that on any given summer weekend the vineyards are either swimming in people relaxing with family and friends or celebrating on a party bus trip visiting the wine country. The vineyards really come alive during the summer; most of them have live music on the weekends. The vineyard I worked at even has a horse ranch where you can take a stroll through the stables while sipping on a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. Every winery down the North Fork has something special, with little hidden treats that make it distinct. And after a few rounds of tastings, it’ll be a good time no matter what. You really should take a whole day to experience the lot of them but a short list of wineries with fantastic wine and even better atmospheres are Macari Vineyards of Mattituck, Kontokasta Winery of Greenport, Jamesport Vineyards in Jamesport, and Pellegrini Vineyards in Cutchogue.
Sooner or later, you’re going to need some food to go with all that wine,...