My Perfect Day: The North Fork

Independent/Joe Cipro

Fall brings North Fork activities

It’s the perfect season for the North Fork. Labor Day has come and gone and Long Island Wine Country is open for business.

This fall will bring wine tasting, apple and pumpkin picking, fall selections from local breweries, corn mazes, and every autumn activity in between. Bring it on, fall!

Last weekend, after another crazed summer on the South Fork, I headed to the North Fork to live life at a different pace, for the day at least. The speed of the jaunt was similar to the speed of traffic on the South Fork — not very fast. And that’s the way it should be. Eat, enjoy wine, listen to live music, and relax — that’s what the North Fork is all about. Coincidentally, the traffic actually moves on the North Fork, making it easier to hop between towns.

My perfect NoFo day would start with breakfast at Love Lane Kitchen in Mattituck. Breakfast at this super-cute restaurant is served daily until 2 PM, so no need to rush. Love Lane Kitchen serves all of the classics: eggs, pancakes, French toast, all made to order and cooked to perfection.

Later, it’s off to pick your own (insert seasonal crop here). Last weekend, it was raspberries at Patty’s Berries & Bunches in Mattituck. We were a little late in the season for raspberries but were still able to fill a carton, it just required a little more searching. Next time, apple picking.

A day on the North Fork would not be complete without a little wine tasting. My top vineyard picks are Lieb Cellars, Sparkling Pointe, Raphael, Sherwood House Vineyards, and Kontokosta Winery. Enjoy all that wine country has to offer at these venues.

If you prefer a brew over wine, try the Greenport Harbor Brewery and Restaurant in Peconic. The brewery’s second location (the other is in Greenport) offers a full menu as well as live music on the weekends. Check the website for the schedule.

The North Fork Table & Inn in Southold is, hands down, one of the best restaurants on Long Island, so this would have to be the stop for dinner. On the menu — they offer a five-course tasting menu or you can order à la carte — you will find locally grown produce, the freshest seafood from area waters, and the finest North Fork duck and beef.

The restaurant, started in 2005 by husband and wife team Gerry Hayden and Claudia Fleming, was a leader in the farm-to-table movement. Hayden, a three-time James Beard Award nominee, lost his battle with ALS in 2015. Today, Executive Chef Stephan Bogardus continues the tradition of farm-to-table perfection. Fleming, a James Beard award-wining pastry chef, provides some of the best desserts you will find. Period. If there was ever a place you needed to save room for dessert, this is the spot.

If you’re looking for a sample of the North Fork Table without the tasting menu price tag (which happens to be worth every penny), you can also visit the food truck, which is open Thursday through Monday from 11:30 AM to 3:30 PM.

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