The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan
Toast to Harvest Season in the North Fork
By Julie Earle-Levine
September 27, 2013
September 27, 2013
Celebrating fall on Long Island means drinking at new wineries, eating freshly harvest oysters and enjoying farm-fresh produce at weekend food festivals.
1. Where to Stay
Unwind in Aquebogue at the Cove Place Inn (from $259), which opened in spring 2012 a short jaunt from some of the area's best wineries, including Paumanok Vineyards, Comtesse Therese Vineyard, and Jamesport Vineyards. The property has its own private beach with hammocks and lounge chairs, while its eighteen rooms and suites are decorated in a neutral palette that doesn't detract from the views of the bay.
Spend an evening around the outdoor fire pit at Fig & Olive Bed & Breakfast (from $275, two-night minimum), which opened in June in Cutchogue, within walking distance of five wineries. You won't find any antiques hanging on the walls here; the three bedrooms have been tastefully furnished with contemporary-looking colors and prints, with help from the 1670 Furniture House in Southold. In the morning, expect flavors from the local farm stand, like pumpkin pancakes with homemade blueberry syrup and maple-glazed bacon.
Where to Eat
Dine with fellow locavores at Noah’s, which just launched a new winemaker dinner series ($75) that highlights local ingredients. The five-course meal (available every Sunday through the end of October) is paired with wines from a different vineyard each week and led by a winemaker in the restaurant's private dining room, where diners sit at shared tables. Menus depend on market availability but have included butternut squash gnocchi, red-wine-braised short ribs, and roasted winter squash purée.
Drink inside a former vault at the Riverhead Project, a two-year-old restaurant that inhabits a former bank. Long Island chef Lia Fallon's menu is seasonal and farm-sourced, which means fall brings Crescent Farms duck breast with smoked sweet-potato purée, pork-braised collard greens, and cornbread crumbs ($29). After dinner, sink into a leather lounge chair by the fire and watch one of the movies they screen nightly.
3. What to Do
Visit Kontokosta Winery, a new addition to the North Fork's list of wine producers. The Greenport property planted its first grapes in 2002 and had its first harvest in 2006, but didn't open to the public until this past June. Get a tasting of four wines ($10) including the must-have Cabernet Franc, then walk around the beautiful property to reach the bluff overlooking the Long Island Sound. Also new this year is Cutchogue’s Coffee Pot Cellars, where winemaker Adam Suprenant has four offerings including a fresh Merlot. His partner is a local beekeeper, so you'll also find great honey and beeswax products in the the tasting room.
Plan your trip to coincide with some of the season's best festivals. The annual Taste North Fork (November 8 to 11) will be packed with crowds, so opt for the calmer Fall Festival at the Cooperage Inn in Calverton (every weekend through October 27, 12 to 6 p.m.), where you can feast on fire-roasted corn, bratwurst, and pulled-barbecue-pork sandwiches. For veggie lovers, the Long Island Garlic Festival has already passed, but the kid-friendly pumpkin festival is on at Garden of Eve Farm (every weekend in October), where you can enjoy roasted squash and pick out pumpkins and fall mums.
4. Insider’s Tip
5. Oddball Day