Welcome to Long Island North Fork. The east end of Long Island is divided into the north fork and the south fork. Although both are special places to visit and very different from the rest of Long Island, the north fork is the most rural, simply beautiful place to experience. You will never believe you are only 90 miles from New York City as you ride through “the country” and see all the vineyards and local farms.
Nestled along the Long Island Sound (the waterway between Long Island and Connecticut) there is one main road, Sound Avenue, where most of the north fork attractions can be found. From wineries and breweries, a fun day in Greenport, the best seafood and pie you can find anywhere in New York, museums, and history, and of course beaches and beautiful scenery, Long Island North Fork is a pleasant day trip or weekend getaway from NYC and other tri-state areas.
For more getaways from New York City check out my post on 20 Weekend Getaways from NYC.
So if you are looking for the best things to do on Long Island North Fork read on.
You haven’t tasted the best pie around until you’ve had a Briermere Pie.
This fruit farm bakes all their pies, cakes, muffins, cookies, bread, also jams and jellies, on the premises from scratch from the fruit grown on the farm. With over 20 varieties (changes with the season) you will have a hard time deciding on what kind to get. If you like cream pie, raspberry, cherry, blueberry, or chocolate cream pie is a must. You think you died and went to heaven with the first bite!
The pies are not cheap, ranging between $20 and $40 each but are well worth it. The lines can be long at times but usually go fast as they are very organized and have many people helping, especially on the weekends. They also have some fruit and vegetables for sale as well as apple cider. These products are locally grown and will change with the season.
Tip: If you go earlier in the day ask about their day-old pies. These pies are half off and are still fresh and very good.
Address: 4414 Sound Ave, Riverhead
Long Island Aquarium
In Riverhead, the gateway to Long Island North Fork is the Long Island Aquarium. There are many indoor and outdoor exhibits for all ages to enjoy.
Some indoor exhibits include the following:
- Amazon Rainforest
- Archer Fish
- Birds, Bugs, and Butterflies
- Coral Reef
- Critter Corner
- Giant Pacific Octopus
- Jellyfish Exhibit
- Lagoon representing eastern Long Island
- Shark Exhibit
- Touch Tank
- Turtle Bay
- Ray Bay
And these are some outdoor exhibits that you need to see when you’re there:
- Creatures of the Night
- Reptile Runs
- Koi Pond
- Otter Falls
- Penguin Pavilion (my personal favorite)
- Sea Lion Coliseum
Address: 401 East Main Street, Riverhead
For hours, ticket prices and COVID precautions please visit their website.
Long Island North Fork also has a waterpark, Splish-Splash. Voted one of the Best Water Parks in the USA by the Travel Channel, this 96-acre park is fun for the whole family.
Featuring many water slides as well as a lazy river and even a water coaster, the Bootleggers run. Other rides include a wave pool, the Abyss, and an interactive water splash area for kids. Altogether there are 22 attractions and rides and they even have shows too. Other rides include a pirates cover area, shotgun falls, and soak city.
Opened Father’s Day weekend to Labor Day, it’s a great summertime experience to share with the whole family.
Address: 2549 Splish Splash Drive, Calverton
For more information on hours, ticket prices, and COVID policy, check out their website.
Long Island North Fork Restaurants
Being surrounded by water definitely gives Long Island the advantage of having the best seafood around. The North Fork doesn’t disappoint. When you are out there it’s a must to get some lobster, flounder, shrimp, scallops, clams, and oysters. Most restaurants serve hot and cold lobster rolls, baked clams, and soap (clam chowder, lobster bisque, and seafood bisque).
It’s nice to sit outside during the warm summer months as most of these places are on the water. Here is a list of the top seafood restaurants on the North Fork:
Top Seafood Restaurants
- Claudio’s Restaurant (Greenport) A summer tradition of Long Islanders
- Southold Fish Market (Southold) It’s more of a takeout place with outdoor seating and excellent seafood know for its steamed lobsters.
- Little Creek Oyster Farm & Market (Greenport) Seafood market and outdoor restaurant known for its oysters. They also partnered with Greenport Harbor Brewing Company to serve their beer.
- Port Waterfront Bar & Grill (Greenport) Offering outdoor dining overlooking the Peconic Bay known for its lobster roll, oyster chowder, and fish tacos.
- Braun Seafood Co. (Cutchogue) A fish market with a restaurant. The grill is only opened Wednesday to Sunday.
- Noah’s (Greenport) This “farm to fork” fare restaurant serves food from the local farmers and fisherman.
- Billy’s by the Bay (Greenport) A casual relaxing restaurant at the marina serving lobster, clams, shrimp just the best fresh seafood.
- The Frisky Oyster (Greenport) Quality high-end (pricy) dining with a sophisticated metropolitan atmosphere. The menu changes daily and features local ingredients.
- Legends (New Suffolk) Inside and outdoor dining on the water, a good atmosphere, and fantastic food is what Legends is known for.
- Case’s Place (New Suffolk) Relaxing atmosphere on the water watching the boats pass, a little out of the way but the food and the view are worth it.
- Grabby Jerry’s (Greenport) Outdoor seasonal restaurant on the docks serving seafood such as clams, shrimp, and lobster rolls.
- A Lure (Southold) Fine dining with a beachy feel with indoor and outdoor seating on the water. Known for its fresh seafood and the catch of the day whatever that may be, cooked to perfection.
- Waypoint (Southold) An Italian seafood restaurant on the water with stunning views and great food.
Long Island North Fork Wineries
Long Island’s North Fork has over 40 wineries making several different wines including Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Grigio, Cabernet Sauvignon, and more. When I was a kid growing up on Long Island it was covered with potato farms, now it’s grapes. The first grapes were planted in 1973 with today’s vineyards comprising over 65,000 acres.
Long Island climate has produces grapes that yield award-winning wines for many of the wineries. Sharing grapes among themselves gives them the advantage to make different varieties of wine.
Here are some of the wineries on the North Fork that I recommend:
One of the oldest and most known vineyards on Long Island North Fork, Palmers offers a laid back atmosphere. They have the most award-winning wines on Long Island.
Address: 5120 Sound Avenue, Riverhead
This winery is known for being 100% solar-powered since 2017. It also made a wine, Minimalist Cabernet Sauvignon without using any sulfites.
Address: 1074 Main Road, Aquebogue
Baiting Hollow Farm Vineyard
This winery is known for its wine but also for its beautiful tasting room, gift shop, hot grille, cheese bar as well as pie tasing on the weekends.
But what really makes this winery special is the fact that some of its profits go into horse rescue.
Address: 2114 Sound Ave, Baiting Hollow
Old Field Vineyards
One of the oldest vineyards on Long Island, this family-owned farm has been around for over 100 years. It offers a casual atmosphere with views of the farm, trees, and old buildings. But best of all, only small groups (10 and under) are allowed (no buses) making it a nice quiet time for all.
Address: 59600 Main Road, Southold
This winery is family and pet-friendly and offers lawn games and picnic tables in which you can bring your own food (one of the few that still lets you do this). Its wine also earns high awards.
Address: 44075 Main Road, Peconic
Another old established winery on the North Fork known for their award-winning champagne with their hand-painted bottles and wine glasses. It is also known for its live outdoor entertainment from May to October and its park-like settings to enjoy a great afternoon with friends.
Address: 34515 Main Road, Cutchogue
Shinn Estate Vineyards
This hidden gem features a wine library with a barrel cellar and a large outdoor patio overlooking their vineyards. It specializes in biodynamic farming practices and has become a model on Long Island. It is also one of three wineries to list its ingredients on their labels.
Address: 2000 Oregon Road, Mattituck
A third-generation winery, guests get to relax on the outdoor patio with beautiful gardens. They also have a restaurant featuring a wood-fired kitchen on the property for guests to enjoy food while having their wine. The restaurant uses all local ingredients specializing in artisanal pizza.
Address: 1216 Maine Street, Jamesport
Duck Walk Vineyards
Duck Walk has 2 vineyards, one on the north fork and one on Long Island’s south fork featuring the beach on its labels. After all that what Long Island is all about. You can enjoy their wine in the large tasting room as well as local craft beer making it a popular location for gathering. There also have a delicious blackberry dessert wine which is worth trying.
Address: 44535 Route 25, Southold and 231 Montauk Highway, Watermill
Bridge Lane Wine
For a modern atmosphere, this winery offers tastings, live music, lawn games, and a picnic area with a relaxed feel. It is also the only winery on Long Island to offer its wine in boxes, kegs, and cans. The can four-pack is equal to 2 bottles of wine and works for the beach, BBQ, camping, and boating leisure activities on Long Island.
Address: 35 Cox Neck Road, Mattituck
Long Island North Fork Breweries
The north fork may be known for its wineries, but the breweries are giving them a run for their money. Check out some of the breweries below when you plan your visit:
Greenport Harbor Brewing Co
Located in the old firehouse in Greenport Village, college friends fulfilled their dream by opening up a brewery. Today they make all their beer in their two locations (the other in Peconic) and also has a restaurant. They now distribute their beer in the tri-state area including throughout Long Island.
Address: 234 Carpenter Street, Greenport and 42155 Route 25, Peconic
North Fork Brewing Co
North Fork Brewing is on a farm and grows most of the ingredients for their beer including the hops. They currently produce 12 different beers. Stop by their tasting open Wednesday to Sunday.
Address: 24 E 2nd Street, Riverhead
Peconic Country Brewing
Long Island’s newest brewery overlooking the Peconic River. They also have a full restaurant and currently serve 10 different beer.
Address: 221 E Main Street, Riverhead
Jamesport Farm Brewery
All ingredients are grown on-site at this farm to pint brewery. A former potato farm, the brewery still operates on the 43-acre farm, Also home to LI Hops, which sells and grows hops and barley, and Plant Connection, a wholesale nursery. You are really getting the freshest beer made on this farm!
Address: 5873 Sound Ave, Riverhead
Shelter Island Craft Brewery
A small brewery making small batches of beer from local ingredients. Their flagship beer is the 114, a signature east coast style IPA with fresh hops and a light flavor of tangerine.
Address: 55 N. Ferry Road, Shelter Island
Eastern Front Brewery
A new small brewery with only 5 beers on tape located on Main Street in Mattituck.
Address: 13100 Main Road, Mattituck
Long Ireland Beer Co
This brewery started in 2009 when 2 guys wanted to quit their full-time jobs and make beer. Well, that’s exactly what they did and today they make 5 full-year beers and 6 seasonal beers. The tasting room is opened 7 days a week and there is always something happening on the weekends. Stop by for one of their beer and maybe listen to some music.
Address: 817 Pulaski Road, Riverhead
Twin Fork Beer Co
A small brewery owned by twin brothers. They currently self distribute 6 beers throughout Long Island, New York City, and the Hudson Valley. You can come to Riverhead to taste their beer.
Address: 807 Raynor Ave, Riverhead
Long Island North Fork Farms
One thing that you will love about Long Island North Fork is all the farms and farm stands selling all local products. Where else can you find fresh produce and fruit, honey, and flowers?
Long Island corn is the sweetest corn you will ever have. I believe it must be the soil (mixed with sand) that makes the corn taste so sweet you don’t even need butter. Of all the places I’ve been to, even areas like Iowa and Nebraska that are known for growing corn, nothing can beat the taste of Long Island corn, so be sure to get some when you’re visiting the North Fork.
Other products that are fresh in season are strawberries and all kinds of berries (you can pick your own in several places, but I recommend Patty’s Berries and Bunches), pumpkins, apples, cauliflower, broccoli, squash, so much more and of course Long Island potatoes.
There are so many farms and stands along Sound Avenue and Main Road that you can choose from. Some of the bigger farms include Wickham Fruit Farm, Lewin Farms, Harbes Family Farm, and Schmitt Farm.
Lavender Farm by the Bay
Visit the lavender farm for a beautiful day in a sea of purple flowers with all the aroma of the plants. With over 80,000 plants of both French and English lavender come see all their unique traits. Of course, the best time to go is when the lavender is in full bloom which varies depending on mother nature and the type of lavender plant, But in general, the French plants are best at the beginning of July (the largest variety at the farm) a small field of English bloom in mid-June and another small field in mid-September.
There are chairs all around the fields so you can take stunning pictures while you relax. There is also a little store that has a great assortment of lavender products. The most sort after product is the lavender honey. It is sold only at the farm’s store on a first come first serve basis and supplies are based upon what the honeybees make each year.
Address: 7540 Main Road, East Marion
North Fork Sunflower Maze
Located at Sidor Farms is a huge open field of sunflowers. Walkthrough the fields and take in these beautiful flowers. The best time to go is mid-July through early fall depending on the weather. People drive for hours to experience these tall, big, yellow flowers.
The fields are located at Sidor Farms where they grow and produce North Fork Potato Chips, fresh and natural chips made on the farm where the potatoes are grown. Grab one of the many flavors when you’re out on the North Fork.
Address: 8623 Wickham Ave, Mattituck
The North Fork in the Fall, Best time of year
Fall is the best time to visit Long Island North Fork. It’s the end of the harvest and the area celebrates with festivals and fun activities for everyone. You will encounter crowds but it will be worth it!
It’s pumpkin and apple picking time. You can either pick your own or you can buy it from your favorite farm.
Farms set up corn mazes, games for the kids, hayrides while the atmosphere at the wineries and breweries are filled with music and food trucks.
There are also specialty foods such as roasted corn, fresh apple cider, and apple cider donuts. Octoberfest is in the air with German special beer and food too.
Spend a day in Greenport
The biggest town on Long Island’s North Fork is Greenport. Just like the surrounding town, it’s known for its quaint town with views of the water with a relaxed feel as you walk through town. Here are a few places to see when you’re in Greenport:
Located at Mitchell Park, the carousel is a favorite and inexpensive thing to do while visiting Greenport. Overlooking the marina you get to ride on this 100-year-old carousel which was built by the Herschell-Spillman Company in upstate New York near Buffalo. It features 36 painted vintage horses some dating back to the 1800s.
It has been in Greenport since 1995 when it was donated by Northrup-Grumman. They used it for company picnics and special events. It has become the proud of Greenport and has been enjoyed by many visitors.
Address: 115 Front Street, Greenport
Fireboat Firefighter Museum
Also located in Mitchell Park, the original NYFD fireboat is housed in the water for everyone to tour. However, it is currently being loaned to a museum in Connecticut but is expected back in Greenport sometime in 2021.
East End Seaport Maritime Museum
This seaport museum offers lighthouse tours, has a 750-gallon saltwater aquarium, and houses the Fresnel Lens Collection as well as other changing exhibits. Once a major shipping port, Greenport has a boating history, and the museum exhibits capture this history.
Take the “Bud Light” tour, the only lighthouse on Long Island which you can go into. The tour is narrated by the great-grandson of the last lighthouse keeper. Come and enjoy some time on the water with this 2-hour tour.
Take a Ride Aboard “The Glory”
The Glory is the first solar-powered vessel used for touring in the United States. It takes people for tours around Peconic Bay. Enjoy the views with no fumes and noise of a loud engine.
The boat is a replica of the 30-foot Fantail. The hull is made of fiberglass with a rich mahogany and white oak interior. The solar batteries (8 of them) can move the boat at 7 mph for a total of 60 miles.
During the third weekend of September (this year September 18,19 & 20, 2021) the Maritime Festival fills the streets of Greenport. The festival is celebrated with a parade on Saturday, kayak races, Mystic Whaler 1-hour cruises (Saturday & Sunday), Coast Guard helicopter rescue demos, and on Sunday a chowder contest and a snapper fishing tournament. The Columbia Tall Ship will be there for the weekend as well as electric boat harbor tours by the Glory. There will also be a craft fair, Irish step dancing, food vendors and so much more.
Railroad Museum of Long Island
The Riverhead location exhibits include the Allen Herschell Park Train, a riding train from the Long Island Railroad (LIRR) Pavilion from the World’s Fair of 1964 and 65. Other exhibits include Lionel Train displays, several rare passenger and freight cars, and many cars in the middle of being restored.
The Greenport annex of the museum is located in a restored 1892 freight house of the LIRR. It displays railroad artifacts and exhibits that change yearly.
Main location—416 Grifting Avenue in Riverhead
Annex—440 4th Street in Greenport
Take the ferry to Shelter Island
An 8,000-acre island nestled between the north and south forks of Long Island. A 10-minute ferry ride from Greenport or a 3-minute ride from Sag Harbor will take you into another world.
A third of the island is preserved being owned by the Nature Conservancy. It’s a paradise for birding, waterfowl, and wildlife, fishing, golfing, boating, and biking as there are few cars and only a 35-mph speed limit throughout the island. You can relax at one of the 2 town beaches, Wades Beach and Cresent Beach then go to the Shelter Island Brewery or eat at one of their restaurants.
Orient Point State Park
At the end of Long Island North Fork, Orient Point State Park is located on Gardiner’s Bay. It is nestled around a rare maritime forest made up of red cedar, black-jack oak trees, and prickly pear cactus.
Orient Point is an Audubon Important Bird Area with everyday sightings of Blue Herons, Egrets, Black Crown Night Herons, and Osprey in the park. It also has a saltwater marsh and marine wildlife and is recognized as a National Natural Landmark since 1980.
There are lots to do including swimming in the bay, fishing, kayaking, windsurfing, paddleboarding, and hiking and biking on the nature trail. There is a playground, picnic area with grills and food during the summer months.
Orient Point is also the place where you can catch a ferry to New London Connecticut and avoid the traffic of “driving around the island”.
Custer Institute/Custer Observatory
Long Island’s oldest observatory (since 1927) is opened to the public every Saturday night from 7 pm to midnight. Run by volunteers, you get to see the night skies through many different powerful telescopes.
Custer also runs a library, museum, and gift shop. The organization also hosts lectures, classes, concerts, and art exhibits. The place survives solely on donations and members’ dues.
Address: 1115 Main Bayview Road, Southold
Southold Indian Museum
The museum features a collection of Native American artifacts specializing in local Algonquian culture. You can visit on Sundays from 1:30 to 4:30 or by appointment.
Address: 1080 Main Bayview Road, Southold
Hallockville Museum Farm
This museum tells the story of farming on the North Fork. It is located at the Hallock Homestead, which was built in 1765. Today the museum hosts many programs including a “Bee Yard” where you can sponsor a beehive and also have bee-keeping workshops.
Hallockville has a community garden where people volunteer during the season from planting in the spring to harvesting in the fall. They also have a tree sponsorship program where you can sponsor trees that they plant on the property.
The museum has events throughout the year including craft farms, tractor shows, yard sales, a spring tea, earth day activities, arbor day events, etc. Check their website for their weekly calendar of events.
Address: 6038 Sound Avenue, Riverhead