Explore Jim Dreeben’s Fabulous Riverhead

Watch the sealions at Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead!
Watch the sealions at Long Island Aquarium in Riverhead! Photo: fullempty/iStock/Thinkstock

Jim Dreeben of Peconic Paddler, in Riverhead, sometimes shares his dining suggestions with Dan’s Papers. Dreeben also has some excellent suggestions on where to spend time in Riverhead before or after a meal. So here are more reasons to visit Riverhead, as explained by Dreeben.

The Long Island Aquarium and Exhibition Center [on East Main Street] has the most beautiful fish I have ever seen. They have a great sea lion show, a big octopus on display and hundreds of fish in huge tanks. You can pet stingrays. Reserve ahead and you can swim with the sharks. The aquarium and Peconic Paddler put on a paddling race on the Peconic River called the Paddle Battle [more info at paddlebattleli.com]. The next race is July 18, 2015.

At Art Sites (651 West Main Street) [the artist] Oz has created some huge and interesting sculptures on the banks of the Peconic River and smaller stuff in the studio. It can be visited on Route 25 by car or from the river. Call 631-591-2401 for hours.

Riverhead now has three breweries, two [Long Ireland Beer Company and Moustache Brewing Company] in Polish Town and one on Main Street. [Be sure to] try Crooked Ladder’s Ponquogue Porter at [their tasting room at] 72 Main Street.

Wineries—from Riverhead, go east on Main Road (Route 25) and Sound Avenue to visit many wineries and taste wine. [Receive] discounts on wine for multiple bottles. I love the Merlot, Riesling and Chardonnay at the Jamesport Vineyards on the Main Road in Jamesport. They have oysters, wine and music on Saturdays.

Great Bike Riding. I like pedaling on Route 24 west into Manorville and then stay on the back roads or Route 51 south to East Moriches or east, through Riverhead, to Peconic Bay Boulevard and take the side streets to the Peconic Bay. A mountain bike trail is on Route 51. I buy my bicycles from Nick at Twin Forks Bike Shop on Main Street. You can hike at Indian Island County Park for free.

The Peconic River and Peconic Bay are beautiful and so are a thousand other Long Island waterways. The Peconic River is the number one paddling destination on Long Island starting on Connecticut Avenue, Manorville, and paddling east into the Peconic Bay and the bird sanctuary. I have paddled it many times using kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards and I have swum parts of it. The fishing, scenery, tranquility and beauty are all outstanding. Get set to get wet.

Peconic Paddler, in business over 50 years, is a paddle sport specialty shop. [We] sell and rent a large variety of kayaks, canoes and stand up paddleboards. I love the 8-mile Peconic River Canoe Trip. For the most fun, paddle a Solstice GTS or a Prowler Kayak or try stand up paddling for the best physical fitness workout. SUPing strengthens your core better than any other exercise. Professional paddlers on staff: Jim and Jared, 89 Peconic Avenue by the downtown traffic circle. 631-727-9895.

Riverhead Community Garden is a showplace of vegetables and flowers not to be missed. You will be amazed at the wide array of healthful food being grown by the banks of the Peconic River. For a free tour of ‘our’ garden please call me. (You may have a taste of my kale, spinach, ground cherries or tomatoes and a handful of zinnias from my box.)

Please visit Riverhead to eat, drink (workout) and be merry. Call Jim Dreeben, 631-727-9895 or 631-834-2525 or email [email protected].

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