Looking for a place to go on a weekend?
I know. The week just started. But what a better time to start planning for the weekend. Weekend is a great opportunity to make a trip to Long Island’s East End and discover the award-winning wines of Long Island. Long Island wines are both grown on the North Fork and the South Fork on the East End of Long Island.
So if you are going to New York or its vicinity, it will be a great idea to go to the East End. At this time of the year, it is even better. Less crowd means less traffic.
Not only will you be rewarded with the great wine experience, the drive is exhilarating. Out east, you’ll find out that you are really in the back country. There are farms everywhere. Years ago, these farms were mostly potatoes farms and cornfields. Nowadays, they are sod farms and landscape trees farm.
How things change. But still, you’ll see historic towns, fishing villages, seafood restaurants, bed and breakfast establishments, flower and farm stalls and a proliferation of vineyards that dotted along the only main thoroughfare, the Main St. (Route 25). While you are there, you might as well go all the way to the end to Orient Point, the end of the North Fork. If you’re inclined, you can take the ferry which can transport you to New London, Connecticut. Before you head back home, you can cap your trip with a dinner at Claudio’s Restaurant in Greenport. That’s on the North Fork.
However, traveling to the South Fork on the weekend is horrendous. Everyone seems to be going to the Hamptons. My husband and I went out east to the South Fork once during the week and it was a pleasant day trip. No traffic. There are also some wineries on the South Fork but not as many as in the North Fork.
The first grapevines were planted 45 years ago in Cutchogue on the North Fork of Long Island. Today the area boasts of so many vineyards that they are able to compete with California wines and French wines. The early vintners found that Long Island has the best climate and soil and growing conditions for excellent ingredients for quality wines. The vintners here used the age-old growing techniques with the state-of-the-art technology to produce the award-winning wines.
However, there is a hidden vineyard located around the most expensive neighborhood of Long island. Villa Banfi Vineyard is located in Old Brookville. One can see their vineyard on Hegeman’s Lane off Route 25A going east toward Brookville Country Club. Although they do not have a vineyard tour, sometimes, they will open the main house for special private fundraising events like those held by the Oyster Bay Historical Society years ago when I was its treasurer.
Below is the 60-room manor house which is Banfi’s headquarters, originally known as “Rynwood” which also served as a country retreat for a branch of the Vanderbilt family. It sits amid squared lawns and formal English gardens on a heavily landscaped 55-acre estate in Old Brookville. A unique boast of the manor is a wine cellar that houses some 6,000 bottles of rare vintages.
Going to the North Fork is a snap. You take the Long Island Expressway to the end and then take Route 25. Once you’re on Route 25, at the second light, turn left to the end which is Sound Ave. By doing this route, you’ll also avoid the traffic congestion at Riverhead. You might like to drop at Briarmere’s Farm Stand and buy some pies. They are out of this world but I caution you, they are very expensive. Then follow that road and you’ll find vineyard after vineyard scattered about the road.
Go to Martha Clara Vineyards first since you are already on that road before you turn right and head back to Route 25 where you’ll see more vineyards. Check out other vineyards. I found some vineyards have friendlier staff than others. All in all, you’ll have a pleasant trip.
I like Pindar Vineyards very much and I like Viognier wine the best. I tried to order it online and I was disappointed they cannot ship Viognier to SC. I also have not seen Pindar wines sold in SC or for that matter any New York wines. I wonder why.
Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.
“The Rose Lady”