Lisa Glover, our contributing blogger, explores the hidden side of Long Island.
“If you’re lucky enough to have a house by the water, you’re lucky enough.”
Unfortunately, I do not own a house on the beach, not yet at least. However, I’ve been blessed to have family and friends who open their North Fork homes and make you feel less like a guest and more like a member who lives there. There’s a certain feeling of peace and serenity that you feel while traveling from town to town on the North Fork. Each town has quaint establishments that make it unique, yet they all seem to flawlessly blend together.
Located on Long Island, North Fork is on the eastern portion of Suffolk County, paralleling the South Fork. No more than 30 miles long, I’ve come to love everything about the North Fork. Maybe it’s the drive that I love, knowing that I’ll pass countless farms and sunflower stands along the way. It could be the way that the corn mazes seem to stretch on for miles and miles, like an endless hidden maze, eagerly waiting for kids to come and play. Maybe it’s the familiar towns that I pass, knowing I can stop at the local ice cream parlor and get the same sundae with rainbow sprinkles. Whatever it is, it always feels like home.
Windows down, crisp air, the smell of the salty sea… I can’t remember a summer that wasn’t spent on the North Fork. I’ve come to appreciate the locally grown vegetables and fruit stands on the side of the road. It becomes a special stop on the way, imagining what I’ll cook or prepare with the produce. My personal favorite: Briermere Farms. They produce their own jams, jellies and most importantly, pies. Some of these pies are upwards of $28.00. It’s one of my guilty pleasures every summer.
Another North Fork attraction: the vineyards. Now that I’m old enough to partake in the wine tasting festivities, it’s become one of my favorite autumn activities. I love learning about how wines are made, the story behind the vineyards, and listening to the bartenders articulate the notes of each wine that I’m sampling. It’s relaxing and therapeutic to walk the grounds, admiring the grapes and the infrastructure of each winery.
When we were younger, my best friend and I would to curl up under a blanket on her back porch in Mattituck, which directly overlooked the Peconic Bay. We used to spend hours out there, sharing secrets and listening to the waves. We’d watch the fireflies go by, spook each other about sounds in the dark, and sometimes, just sit silently. To this day, those moments still stick out in my mind when I think about winters on the North Fork. Thinking back on it makes me miss the days of pre-social media, when every detail of your life wasn’t documented and photographed and shared. It was easy to let the rest of the world fade out and truly just be in the moment. Now, whenever I return, I instantly switch back to that mindset. Aside from the occasional Instagram photos (guilty), I love leaving my phone in a room and not checking it for hours. It’s easy to become captured in the slow-pace of life of the North Fork.
I’d be hard to pinpoint just one reason why I love the North Fork. Maybe it’s the spectacular sunsets and the way the sparkling sea glass reflects the blues and pinks in the sky. Maybe it’s the dinners I’ve helped to prepare in my uncle’s kitchen, or the nights when candle lights and good conversation were all we needed. Or maybe it’s all of it. It’s all of the memories that this piece of land has captured for me. It’s the hope that I will continue to visit in the years to come and someday have my own house on the beach, to make new memories.