Once upon a time, Long Island’s North Fork played poor cousin to the Hamptons. But now the North Fork is on top, and not just geographically. Dotted with mom-and-pop farm stands, artisanal goat cheese producers, and enough vineyards to make it the East Coast’s answer to Napa Valley, the Fork attracts adventuring gourmands in search of the anti-scene. The tiny town of Greenport, a two-hour drive from NYC, is the ideal base, and—great news—there are still rooms available. Borrow a car, grab a weekend bag, and go.
The Bartlett House Inn is just the kind of B & B we like. With 10 rooms to tend to, the innkeepers are helpful but not busybodyishly so. The rooms are comfy, if a bit precious (e.g. each suite has a theme), and the breakfasts (quiche, mounds of fresh fruit, rich coffee, and warm pastries) live up to the North Fork’s reputation as a foodie destination. As of Thursday morning, the Inn had four rooms available over Labor Day (three-night minimum), starting at $199 per night.
The North Fork offers flat biking terrain, and traffic along the two main roads tends to respect cycling city folk. Need wheels? Call Dan (cell: 212-380-1119), this is a first-name kind of place, and he’ll deliver a bike that’s right for your build to your lodging ($25 per day). Pedal to the vineyards just west of Greenport, or board the ferry and spend the day tooling around Shelter Island.
The now-legendary North Fork Table features two pedigreed chefs who’ve migrated from Manhattan and the best ratings in the North and South Forks. But what’s little known is that lunch here is the best deal around. Try the five-course tasting menu for $40, a fraction of the a la carte price.
LIBATION: Along Route 25 near Southhold you’ll find the best wineries. Our favorite, Lenz ($5 and $10 flights) makes phenomenal Merlot and has a cozy, wood-planked tasting room. Bedell is glitzier with more of a Napa-style tasting room, and the wines are also worth a stop. Its sister property Corey Creek also has tastings. Expect to pay about about $12 for tastings at these.