14 Stellar Reasons Why the North Fork Is the Best Fork
My husband and I have celebrated our last (um, only) two wedding anniversaries in Long Island’s North Fork. Our date is in early May—which is always just a bit too cold for a dip into the bay, and the farm stands are all boarded-up—but this neck of the wood still has plenty of charm to spare, even in the chill. Which makes it the perfect post-Labor Day getaway, too, if you ask me. Below, my go-tos for shellfish, local wine, and antiques for people who don’t think they have the patience or the pocketbook for them.
“We rent the magical Clamrake Cottage in the picture-perfect, of-another-era town of Orient. It’s a tiny little two-bedroom shack right on the bay. If you go in warmer months, grab one of the namesake clamrakes from the shed and wade out into knee-deep water to scoop up your own mollusks and eat them right there on the beach.”
“If you’re looking for more a full-service situation, check out the 10-room Gallery Hotel in Greenport. The owner is an art and design fanatic and has carefully and thoughtfully appointed every nook, including the back patio and lounge-y bar space, which are worth visiting for a cocktail even if you’re not spending the night.”
ORIENT COUNTRY STORE
“I love Orient Country Store so much that I had to be stopped from buying all of their branded merch. A family-owned grocery, deli, and gathering place where locals come to discuss the latest town gossip, it really couldn’t be cuter. The real draw, though is the best bacon, (farm-fresh!) egg, and cheese I’ve ever sunk my teeth into.”
“Grab a mocha cappuccino and a scone at By Aldo—both way better than you’re expecting and totally worth the indulgence.”
SOUTHOLD FISH MARKET
“Our favorite thing to do is pick up live lobsters at Southold Fish Market and cook them ourselves, which saves us the embarrassment of having to ask a waiter for second and third servings of melted butter.”
“If that sounds too ambitious, let Alure steam up (and clean up) the lobsters for you. They’ve got gorgeous ocean views, to boot.
LITTLE CREEK OYSTER FARM & MARKET
“And, speaking of DIY seafood: Little Creek Oyster Farm & Market will teach you how to shuck your own clams and oysters. Two (hopefully unbloodied) thumbs up.”
HELLENIC SNACK BAR & RESTAURANT
“Want something laid-back and easy? Hellenic Snack Bar & Restaurant’s your spot. It’s delicious Greek diner food, and you could make a whole meal out of the dips.
NORTH FORK TABLE & INN
“Want something fancy? Make a reservation at North Fork Table & Inn and get the prix fixe. It’s a storied little spot that emphasizes local food and pulls out all the white-tablecloth stops.
“Briermere Farms is a farmstand and bakery legendary for their pie offerings. I’m not even a pie person, but we still pick up two at a time. Grab some of their gorgeous produce while you’re there—it’ll help you feel balanced.”
FOUR AND TWENTY BLACKBIRDS
“If you miss Briermere on the way into town, Brooklyn’s own very hip and very good Four and Twenty Blackbirds opened up an outpost further out in Orient.”
KONTOKOSTA, MACARI, AND CROTEAUX WINERIES
“The main thing to do here is chill the eff out: Go for a bike ride or a swim, read a book, take a nap. But if you must be active, drink a little wine. There’s a seemingly endless number of wineries to choose from in the area. My sense is that you can’t go wrong at any of them, but here are my picks: Kontokosta for amazing views right on the water, Macari for family-owned, knowledgeable and caring vibes and plenty of outdoor seating; Croteaux to spend hours—or as long as they’ll let you—sipping from their all-rosé selection in a garden that might as well be in Provence.”
ANTIQUING AT BEALL AND BELL AND OPENSPACE
“The antique shops that line the streets of Greenport hit that happy medium between the dusty, sprawling clutter-fests you’ll find along open country roads and the meticulously curated, insanely priced showrooms you’ll find in big cities. You could whittle away an entire afternoon at Beall and Bell, an old Masonic Temple filled with mostly mid-century modern gems. And Openspace is a little jewel-box store with furniture, home and fashion accessories, and drawers full of knickknacks you’ll convince yourself you have space for at home.”