North Fork is the quiet and relaxing antidote to The Hamptons’ loud and busy party scene during the summer. We took a weekend trip there last month and it was one of the best short trips we’ve ever taken. It is part of Long Island’s East End just like The Hamptons and about 75 miles east of Manhattan. So, getting there was two train rides away.
We chose to visit Greenport, which is like the unofficial capital of North Fork with its shop-lined streets, restaurants, bars, and lots of family-run wineries. Oh and it’s basically the birthplace of oysters, lots and lots of it that’s if you love them.
To help you plan your own trip to North Fork, below is a stress-free guide I put together that you can easily follow. It’s the same guide I used to plan our trip to take advantage of everything North Fork has to offer.
How to get there
Take the LIRR train from NYC Penn Station to Greenport. We left NYC on a Friday evening with the LIRR train which took us to Ronkonkoma and from there we transferred to another train that took us to Greenport.
Be mindful booking your train though because many LIRR trains leave NYC to Ronkonkoma daily but only few trains are scheduled daily to leave Ronkonkoma to Greenport and they are scheduled hours apart. I didn’t pay attention to this when I was planning our trip and we paid for it by waiting few hours at the Ronkonkoma station for the next train to Greenport.
Where to stay
Stay in an Airbnb just like us or you can stay in one of the hotels or bed and breakfasts like the Sound View, American Beech, Silver Sands Motel, Stirling House Bed & Breakfast, and Ruby’s Cove Bed & Breakfast. We chose Airbnb, which to me is the best option. And we were so lucky to find an Airbnb that was a walking distance to almost everything Greenport has to offer.
In fact, we found the house we stayed in by mere luck because I didn’t know the landmarks in North Fork and just wanted a place that was near shops, restaurants and bars, and a bike ride to the wineries. It’s impossible to find a place that was a walking distance to the wineries. And trust me, you can’t visit North Fork without visiting the vineyards and wineries. They were actually the main reason for our trip.
Anyway, I found our beautiful house for the weekend by going on Airbnb and messaging hosts from North Fork. Some ended up having houses much farther away but I eventually messaged someone with a house that was located in the midst of everything. Jackpot!!! This beautiful house was only a 10 mins walk from the train station so it allowed us the opportunity to enjoy the peaceful and fascinating view of the seaport that was right by the train station. It was also a short walk to all the restaurants, bars and boutiques.
Where to eat and drink
There are too many options to choose from. You can eat at oyster-studded spots like Little Creek Oysters Farm & Market and The Frisky Oyster. Or you can eat at a restaurant with the best view of the city, Green Hill Kitchen. This restaurant also hosts the best live bands from the city. Green Hill Kitchen was our favorite restaurant while in Greenport. We had dinner there on our first night and almost every day. The food was delicious with sizable portions. And they serve wines from local wineries.
Other restaurants to eat at include Crazy Beans (they serve the best breakfast in town), First and South, Bruce & Son, and North Fork Table & Inn. We had dinner at the North Fork Table & Inn on our second night. It’s a short drive out of town. The only spot we ate at that wasn’t a short walk from our Airbnb. And it’s a highly rated romantic restaurant in a building that used to be an inn. It didn’t look or feel like a restaurant. The food was also great but a bit pricey compared to other places.
For drinks, head to Whiskey Wind Tavern and you won’t be doing just drinks here, you will also be singing karaoke and playing the game of pool. If you don’t fancy karaoke or pool game you can walk to The Half Note to enjoy live jazz. But if jazz is not your cup of tea then you can walk to Claudio’s Waterfront to party like you just don’t care.
Where to shop
Greenport has lots and lots of boutiques, vintage and antique stores. You can shop at Lido, Local Knit, Lydia’s Antiques & Stained Glass, The Times Vintage (I found some rare gems here), Crinoline Fashion Boutiques, Ray and so many others. All these stores are on Front St. and Main St.
Wineries and vineyards to visit
You can’t visit North Fork without visiting any of the wineries and vineyards. There are too many to visit. If you have enough time I’ll suggest you visit as many as you can like we did. We planned our trip so well that the wineries and vineyards we visited were in the same direction and connected to each other. It was the perfect itinerary!
We visited Kontokosta Winery, Sannino Vineyard, Pugliese Vineyards, and Bedell Cellars. We had Duck Walk Vineyards and Sparkling Pointe on our itinerary but ran out of time so didn’t get to visit them. Don’t forget to buy a bottle of wine or more when you visit these places. The wines at each location tasted so good it was hard picking which winery to buy wines from so we basically bought from each place. But I must say Bedell Cellars has the best wines!
Other things to do in North Fork
Visiting Lavender By the Bay was the second reason for our trip. If you’ve made it down here you might as well visit one of the best lavender fields in NY. But you have to plan your trip around the seasonal blooms. Our trip was during the French bloom.
You can also take a short ferry ride to Shelter Island and there, you can get the best view of the sunset at Crescent Beach and also enjoy views of the Peconic River and Dering Harbor.