Stories / Guides and Tips

JBF Trip Planner: Long Island’s North Fork

Elena North-Kelly

Elena North-Kelly

October 22, 2013



If you’re anything like us, the first thing you do when planning a trip—perhaps even before booking a plane ticket—is figure out where you’re going to eat while you’re there. Museums, sightseeing, and shopping are all well and good, but food is often the main attraction. To make trip planning a little easier, we’re compiling lists of our can’t-miss pit stops in some of our favorite places. JBF Award winners, hole-in-the-wall favorites, America’s Classics, and one-hit wonders—we’ll give you a quick rundown of our absolute must-eats in each featured location.

Just across the bay from the celebrity-studded beaches and mega mansions of the Hamptons, the quaint North Fork of Long Island lures us with its laid-back vibe, countless vineyards and farm stands, and succulent local oysters on every menu. Autumn is harvest season, which is an ideal time for a jaunt out to the East End. Here are our can’t-miss spots for your perfect North Fork weekend:

Shinn Estate Vineyards and Farmhouse, Mattituck 
Stop by for an afternoon tasting, or spend the night in the elegant farmhouse inn next door. With former New York City restaurateurs Barbara Shinn and David Page in charge, Shinn Estate Vineyards and Farmhouse offers some of the all-around best options on the North Fork: fine wines, luxe yet warm accommodations, and the most delectable breakfast you’ll find on the East End (made with produce from their garden and eggs from their very own roost).

Croteaux Vineyards, Southold
Any Francophile will feel right at home in Croteaux’s lovely, lush gardens that evoke the Provençal countryside. Order a baguette and cheese basket and sample one (or all!) of the selections from their exclusively rosé wine list. If you want to take home more than just a bottle of wine, they also sell a variety of French goods in their historic 1800s carriage house.

McCall Wines, Cutchogue 
Although Pinot Noir has a reputation for being too fastidious for Long Island soil, McCall Wines beat the odds and cultivated the finicky grapes. Housed in a former horse stable, the equestrian mood provides a unique backdrop for wine tasting. Visitors can also take their glasses and wander the grounds, stopping to pet the horses that live in the barn next door.

Love Lane Kitchen, Mattituck
Drop in and grab a counter stool at this friendly neighborhood eatery for a robust breakfast with endless coffee refills, or their juicy, buttery Maine lobster roll with garlic–herb fries. Wait times can be lengthy on weekend mornings, so get there early.

The Village Cheese Shop, Mattituck
A long day of wine tasting certainly whets our appetite! Stock your picnic basket en route to the vineyards with a delicious spread from this delightful cheese shop. The cheesemonger has a wide range of local cheeses made just down the road, as well as luscious jamón ibérico and marcona almonds imported from Spain.

The tasting barn at Shinn Estate Vineyards

North Fork Table, Southold
Farm-to-table meets ultimate elegance at the North Fork Table & Inn’s on-site restaurant. The progressive American menu is meticulously crafted with locally sourced ingredients and masterfully executed by chef Gerry Hayden. Menu options include a three-course prix fixe or an indulgent chef’s tasting, each ending with JBF Award–winning pastry chef Claudia Fleming’s impeccable desserts. Can’t make it for dinner? They also have a lunch trunk parked outside, offering midday lobster rolls, pulled pork, and artisanal hot dogs for a more budget-conscious meal.

Elena North-Kelly is senior editor at the James Beard Foundation. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.