The North Fork of Long Island is virtually unknown outside of locals and those who live and work in Manhattan. About 75 miles and 90 minutes from Midtown (when traffic is good) is the start of the Hamptons and the North Fork.
Starting at the Town of Riverhead on Route 58, you will travel through the towns of Mattituck, Southold and end at Greenport. Along the way, you will pass through villages and hamlets that are some of the oldest in America- some founded in the 1600’s.
My best advice is to start out early and wander among the farms and vineyards as you travel east. Stop for lunch and a snack – hit the little inlets and small villages. Walk around Greenport. Ferry over to Shelter Island and then head back west at the end of your day and eat dinner in Southold, Mattituck or Riverhead.
Here are the some key distinctions between The North Fork and its more famous South Fork neighbor, the Hamptons. The North Fork is:
- More families; fewer celebrities
- More farms; fewer mansions
- More friendly; less attitude
- More pumpkins; less perfume
- More vineyards, less sand
- More Wrangler jeans; less Gucci
There are two main routes from Riverhead to Greenport. Both have their charms:
- Route 58 – sort of heads down the middle of the North Fork and skirts along Peconic Bay
- Sound Ave runs along the North shore and skirts Long Island Sound.
Where there was once a real shortage of good restaurants, now they are abundant. To get a flavor for things here are a few recommendations (maybe even musts); but please don’t expect haute cuisine- think good, simple and local.
- Briemeiers Pies – at the top of Rt. 105/Sound Ave in Riverhead
- Duffy’s – just a simple but quaint deli in Mattituck
- The Elbow Room – for marinated steaks – Mattituck- local flavor; not
- Magic Fountain in Mattituck – for ice cream – lines all year long and worth it
- Country Inn – on Rt 58 for breakfast
- TR’s In Riverhead – a throwback kind of place
- Farm Country Inn – Riverhead – for lunch and dinner – try their Montauk sandwich
- The Barge in Southold – very good lobsters
- Buoy 1 – Riverhead for simple seafood and great clam chowder