Say Hello to Orient: 5 Hotspots in the North Fork's Easternmost Hamlet
The hamlet of Orient, the eastern end of the North Fork, has gone by multiple names: first called “Poquatuck” (open tidal river) by the Algonquin people who first inhabited the area, then “Oysterponds” by the English settlers impressed by its plentiful oyster beds, and finally the name was changed to “Orient” in 1836 to represent its status as the North Fork’s easternmost point (and so the U.S. Post Office Department could differentiate it from Oyster Bay).
Less than 1,000 people live in Orient, and there are just a few businesses there. Along with farming families who have been there for decades, retirees and second-home owners from Nassau and western Suffolk counties, writers, artists, literary agents and other professions are among the more recent arrivals.
Orient is an enjoyable place to spend a weekend, from the rocky beaches to the historical sites. And when it comes to shopping, there are some shining gems worth seeking out. Here are five of our favorites.
The Candy Man
A little candy store called The Candy Man focuses on making its own chocolates. The same family has owned and run the company for four generations — that’s more than 75 years of their signature recipes made with the finest ingredients. Since 1980, it has been located in its current Orient site. They’re open 10 a.m.–5 p.m. seven days a week. 22350 Main Road, Orient. 631-323-2675, the-candy-man.edan.io
Old Orchard Farm Store
Oyster plates, vintage pond boats, decoys and farm-style furniture are among the antique store’s collection of art, treasures and gifts inspired by the North Fork. Vintage maps of Orient and the vicinity, as well as vintage sterling silver jewelry are also available. This location is excellent for learning about the history of the Orient. They’re currently open Friday to Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., same as their summer hours. 1240 Village Lane, Orient. 631-323-8083, oldorchardfarmstore.com
Orient Country Store
The current owners of the Orient Country Store, Miriam Foster and Grayson Murphy, own a piece of history: a pre-Revolutionary War general shop that has served as an A&P, a post office, a schoolhouse and more over the decades. The store is still the center of the neighborhood, lovingly called “Orient’s Living Room.” Come home to Murphy’s soups, salads and sandwiches, plus fresh baked goodies by Foster, and even homemade ice cream. 950 Village Lane, Orient. 631-323-2580, orientcountrystore.com
Opties and Dinghies
During its five years on Village Lane, this little eatery specialized in French crepes and Chinese dumplings, mirroring the cultures of its owners, Vincent Bertault and Claudia Lin. However, as of Halloween 2023, it has switched to an online-only business model focused in the delivery of frozen dumplings. Traditional dumpling options include pork, chicken basil, veggie and shrimp, and shaomai dumplings are offered with pork or shrimp. Orient. 917-822-1230, optiesanddinghies.com
Beach Plum Holiday Shop
Oysterponds Historical Society’s annual Beach Plum Holiday Shop is scheduled to return to the Old Point Schoolhouse with a little something for everyone. Unique gifts, decorations, ornaments, traditional crafts, games and OHS merchandise are just a few of the wonderful items on sale Saturday, November 25 through Sunday, December 10, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. 1555 Village Lane, Orient. 631-323-2480, oysterpondshistoricalsociety.org