What truly sets the East End apart from most places is the sheer beauty of the place. Everything here is nice to look at. Food is plated beautifully, houses are designed beautifully, their grounds manicured beautifully, stores are merchandised beautifully with beautiful items for sale. And, of course, everything outside is beautiful—the beaches, the preserved land, the family of wild turkeys foraging next to the deer grazing in the open field on the side of the road. And while the food, houses and stores are here all year, the nice weather will eventually cool. That makes it even better for hiking and exploring!
Amidst thousands of preserved acres of spectacular coastal land in Montauk, Patrick and Cate Keogh’s Deep Hollow Ranch welcomes visitors from all over the world, from the experienced cowhand to the beginner, to take a step back in time and catch a glimpse of America’s rich history. Riding at the Ranch is Western-style, from saddles to bridles, to the real cowboys and cowgirls who will be your trail guides. Groups are small and match a rider’s ability from beginners to advanced. Private guided rides are also available. For reservations and more information visit deephollowranch.com or call 631-668-2744.
If you’re looking for a day of family fun, the Long Island Game Farm is the largest combined children’s zoo and wildlife park on Long Island, offering families a natural environment where they can learn about wildlife. The Farm features hundreds of exotic and indigenous animal breeds, including an 18-foot giraffe, red kangaroos, kinkajous, cougars, Barbados sheep, peacocks, buffalo, colorful parrots and the only lemurs born and bred on Long Island. There are also interactive areas where guests can touch and, unlike most zoos, actually feed the animals! In fact, “Please Touch” is the motto in the petting zoo. Finally, children can also enjoy carnival-style rides such as the Spinning Teacups or the Antique Carousel. If that’s not enough, they offer pony rides as well. 489 Chapman Boulevard, Manorville. 631-878-6644, longislandgamefarm.com
At the Quogue Wildlife Refuge (QWR) the calendar is full of great events. Learn All About Bats! On October 30 at 7 p.m. in a 45-minute presentation about bat anatomy and amazing physical adaptations, various lifestyles of bats from all over the world—including Long Island—and their ecological importance to the planet. Attendees will also learn about the conflicts bats are facing, and how they can help. $5 per person, reservations required.
The Refuge also features kayaking programs on an appointment basis for adults and children ages 10 and older. The trips on offer include one that explores Quantuck Creek to learn about local waterways and wildlife. Another trip tours Old Ice Pond to learn about a pond ecosystem. The charge is $20 per person, with a 15-person minimum and 18 person maximum. Of course, the Refuge trails and Outdoor Wildlife Complex are open every day from sunrise to sunset if you just want to walk around the great outdoors. 3 Old Country Road, Quogue. 631-653-4771, quoguewildliferefuge.org
Riverhead’s Hallockville Museum Farm is a nonprofit dedicated to re-connecting the community to our shared agricultural heritage. Stop by and take a museum tour, attend an educational class or workshop or bring your friends and family to the special events, fairs and festivals throughout the year. The next event on the calendar is an indoor one, a cozy autumn afternoon lecture on the trial of East Hamptonite and accused witch Goody Garlick. Tickets are limited, advanced registration is required. $10 per person. To register, please call 631-298-5292 or register online at hallockville.com.
Hallockville is also dedicated to preserving knowledge of traditional handicrafts in a modern world. Check out their online calendar for regular sessions devoted to quilting and woodworking. 6038 Sound Avenue, Riverhead.