If you like wine and are looking for a great weekend getaway from New York City or somewhere in the Tristate area without the kids, you should really consider taking the Cross Sound Ferry to the North Fork. The 16-mile boat journey is just an eighty-minute journey from New London, Connecticut to the North Fork of Long Island and back. Ferries depart every day and drop off in Orient Point, NY (also known as the North Fork). You can take your car for just $51, plus $14.50 for additional adult passengers. Children ages 2-11 are $6.00 one-way, $10.00 round trip. Children under age 2 are FREE. The trip is scenic, relaxing and transporting.
Sometimes it’s easier to take a tour of an area and leave the planning to someone else, so that’s precisely what we did.Vintage Tours met us at the ferry and took us on a tour of some of the area’s vineyards.
Our first stop was Waters Crest Winery, with lunch and wine blending with owner Jim Waters. We sampled red and whites from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Chardonnay grapes and Riesling. Lunch was served from local Nofo Lunchbox – a gorgeous kale salad with berries and cheese. The combination of salad, wine and being in the North Fork was soothing and so very zen. Waters Crest Winery is located at 22355 Route 48 in Cutchogue. The vineyard is open Monday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday from 11am-5pm and Saturday from 11am-6pm.
Then we headed to Kontokosta Winery in Greenport, a 62-acre property with a 9,000 square feet winery owned by brothers Michael and Constantine Kontokosta, overlooks the bluff of Long Island Sound. The winery is in a a 19th century New England barn made of 90 percent recycled-content steel and boasts floor-to-ceiling windows and exposed steel beams. From merlot using grapes of Peconic to cabernet to merlot to cabernet sauvignon to chardonnay, the wines were flowing and the taste was magically flavorful and sublime. Kontokosta Winery is located at 825 North Road (Route 25) in Greenport and is open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 631-477-6977 or go to www.kontokostawinery.com.
The last winery we explored was Sannino Bella Vita in Peconic. There we were greeted and hosted by Anthony Sannino, who owns Sannino Bella Vita with his wife, Lisa. Their vine to wine process lets visitors join him in the wine making process, which he clearly loves. We tasted his fresh grapes and newly made wine in barrels outside and drank chardonnay, made from fresh fruit, and merlot made with dashes of tobacco, macerated dark plums and black licorice. Anthony’s passion for his roots and wine-making was addictive. Sannino Bella Vita is located at 1375 Peconic Lane in Peconic. It’s open every day until 6 and until 8 on Saturdays.
For accommodations, we chose the Harborfront Inn at Greenport, a three-story, grey and white inn offering simplicity and comfort. Most rooms have harbor views and all rooms have Wifi, flat-screen TVs, hair dryers, an iron, an extra blanket and pillows, a safe and refrigerator. The front desk is staffed 24 hours a day. There’s a fitness room and complimentary continental breakfast from 7-10am daily. Our room was cozy, complete with contemporary furniture, an armchair and comfy bed linens. The inn is nicely located in the heart of historic Greenport, right by quaint shops and restaurants. The hotel is located at 209 Front Street. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org to make a reservation.
At the Greenport Harbor Brewing Co., a microbrewery in a converted firehouse, we drank a flight of delicious, unique tasting beer that included Harbor Pale, Black Duck Porter, Leaf Pile Ale and Weesh’d Scotch Ale. A food truck was parked outside from Noah’s on the Road offering scrumptious mushroom risotto balls, lobster rolls, crab cakes, which we munched on while listening to music. Greenport has a slew of restaurants in the historical district, as well.
The verdict? We’ll be back. The North Fork needs to be explored. Its beauty of its vineyards, the seaside and the easy boat ride on Cross Sound Ferry are just a sublime combination.
Disclosure: The Cross Sound Ferry hosted Holly on this visit but all opinions are her own.