The North Fork, located just two hours from Manhattan, has more than 40 wineries, a gorgeous beach and delicious local food. Here’s your guide to a quick weekend getaway in Long Island’s wine country.
When I first heard about the North Fork at The New York Times Travel Show, I figured it was too good to be true.
Wow. That sounds a lot more like Napa than New York.
But fortunately, you don’t have to travel out to Napa for a getaway like this. Long Island’s North Fork, located a mere two hours from Manhattan, has all the makings of a major Napa Valley vacation — with a quintessential New York twist.
If the North Fork is on your upcoming travel list, here are all the highlights you can jam into one memorable (depending on wine consumption) weekend.
North Fork Wineries
If traveling to the North Fork from Manhattan, you’ll actually pass most of the wineries on your way into town.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to hit up every winery in the first two hours of your trip (actually, please don’t do that… for the safety of everyone around you). Just know you can conveniently space them out to hit a couple on your way in, and a couple on your way out. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Pauamanok Vineyards, a family-owned, award-winning winery. Head here when the warm weather hits to sample wines while gazing across 127 acres of vines.
- Shinn Estate Vineyards, which uses sustainable farming techniques for one-of-a-kind wines (and they have a dog, Panda, on premises!).
- One Woman Wines and Vineyards, a small vineyard with a personal touch. The tasting room is located in a small, renovated toolshed, which makes it easy to get to know the winery staff.
- Greenport Harbor Brewing Company is obviously not a winery, but I had to put it on here because this tasting room is a must on any North Fork trip. The bonus? It has live music most weekend nights.
North Fork Waterfront
Okay, so you’ve had enough vineyards for the day. Now it’s time to work off those wine calories — and what better way to do that than a walk on the beach?
With its location along the Long Island Sound, the North Fork offers an interesting beach experience. During our trip, we spent the most time on the Southold Town Beach. It’s pretty rocky, and given our spring timing, a bit frigid, but the beach is relatively quiet, making it a good spot for hunting seashells, watching seagulls or enjoying a dazzling sunset.
The Southold Town Beach is located right along County Road 48, near the Southold Beach Motel.
North Fork Dining
The North Fork is known for its rich growing grounds, meaning most local restaurant owners get their produce and proteins fresh from the source. Sure, “farm-to-fork” is an overused buzzword, but in the North Fork, you can honestly taste it.
Most of the area’s dining options are located in the towns of Mattituck (western North Fork) and Greenport (further east). Here are a few of our delicious picks to add to your list:
- First and South, located in Greenport, has fresh American fare with local fish, produce, wines and craft beers. A major plus: It’s dog friendly!
- Little Creek Oyster Farm, also located in Greenport, offers — you guessed it — oysters. But in this slice of seaside heaven, you can have your oysters and learn to shuck them, too.
- Goodfood, located in Mattituck, is a great lunch spot on your way into or out of the North Fork. It features fresh, homemade empanadas, salads, soups and more, along with coffee from the local North Fork Roasting Co.
- Village Cheese Shop, down the street from Goodfood, has all the cheese you could ever need — plus some great wine pairings.
North Fork Accommodations
Along the North Fork’s 20 miles, you’ll find plenty of places to rest your weary, wine-filled head. The North Fork has B&Bs, hotels, inns and motels. You can also look into some Airbnb or VRBO options, but note, there’s a minimum two-week-stay rule across the entire North Fork.
We stayed at the Shorecrest Bed and Breakfast, a charming little spot in the town of Southold. It was on the pricier side, but it did come with some major perks, including a home-cooked feast of a breakfast, private beach and inlet access, free parking and a jacuzzi bath in certain rooms (ours!).
With 40 vineyards, fresh food and a close-knit community, the North Fork is a great way to experience a vastly different side of New York. The pace is slower, and patrons friendlier, which makes you feel miles away from Manhattan — when in reality, you’re relaxing right in the Big Apple’s backyard.
Not sure what to pack for your North Fork weekend getaway? Check out my North Fork packing guide!