Nolan Visits the North Fork

Although we headed to the North Fork once or twice during my pregnancy, the reality is that if you’re not tasting the wares, it’s not so fun … especially when everyone around you is swirling and sipping and enjoying. All that was forgotten Thursday when Matt and I (and Nolan) headed to two vineyards and then had a lovely dinner. Going to the North Fork during the week is ideal because you avoid any traffic and the tasting rooms aren’t crowded. One-on-one time with the staff is usually fun and informative and they are often much more generous when it comes time to pay the bill if no one else is around.

I picked up Matt right after work and off we went! During the week, most tasting rooms close on the early side (between 5 and 6) so check with the individual vineyard you are visiting. First, we stopped at Paumanok in Aquebogue. We had never been here but I tasted their Sauvignon Blanc at A Mano and it was so amazing that Matt gifted me four bottles after I had Nolan. I asked for an IV of it while I was in the hospital but surprisingly, the staff would not oblige. It turns out their steel-fermented Chardonnay is delicious as well. Both wines are perfect for summer so bring one to a bbq! Preferably at my house.

After Paumanok, we took the short ride to Sherwood House’s Jamesport location where we sipped some more and had a few good laughs with Ami and the guy who is really nice whose name I never remember. The people who run Sherwood House are seriously the FRIENDLIEST people ever. Go there already!

Me and Nolan snuggling

 Me and Nolan again, this time he is trying to peek his eyes open, but that Ergo Baby is just too damn comfy

After Sherwood we had another delicious dinner at A Mano in Mattituck – great food, wine and dessert. Before heading home I had the pleasure of breastfeeding in my car in a parking lot, which I’m getting better at. It’s not too bad, especially if I’m not driving. Kidding!! Don’t call CPS; I don’t nurse and drive.

The North Fork

As promised, for all the reasons I’m reluctant to live here, there are just as many reasons I’m reluctant to leave.

Reluctant to Leave Here Reason #1

Image: offthevine.us

The North Fork is a BIG reason. Although it’s probably the best representation of what Long Island used to be, being out there now feels like you’re hundreds of miles away. It can certainly get crowded and touristy during the summer months, Halloween, and a few other holiday weekends, but most of the time it’s quiet and filled with delicious food, local wine, and friendly people. You don’t go to Whole Foods for organic fare if you’re living in Cutchogue. Farms are everywhere selling vegetables, meat, livestock, and the like.

Matt and I took our first trip to the North Fork about five years ago. The car ride sounded something like this:

“Ooooh they sell pies!”

“Oh my gosh we can buy a goat!”

“Look at the village barber! And the village cheese shop! And the village coffee shop!”

“Aaaaaaah! The library is in an old country church! And they have a BOOK CLUB!!!”

As you can imagine, I was quite smitten.

Since then we’ve visited probably a dozen times, we spent the two nights after our wedding at Jedediah Hawkins Inn, ate a few delicious lunches at Jamesport Country Kitchen and tasted our way through many of the vineyards until we found a few we really love.

Yesterday we visited our favorite vineyard, Sherwood House, and then had lunch at Love Lane Kitchen. Sherwood House occupies a small, outdoor tasting room during the warm weather months.

Image: Sherwood House Vineyard Website

They are in the process of creating a larger indoor space to be used year round in Jamesport. In the meantime, they have limited hours on the weekends at the owner’s home just up the road.

We felt a little strange walking up the driveway to this seemingly private home.

Once inside however, we were warmly greeted by the staff and we enjoyed six different wines and great conversation for nearly two hours.

After purchasing a few bottles, we headed off to lunch at Love Lane Kitchen in Mattituck.

I can’t tell what’s whiter, the wainscoting or my pasty skin.

Eeeek! It looks like Matt’s middle finger got cut off!

Yes, this is actually the street sign for Love Lane.

To give you an idea of Mattituck’s quaintness, this is the entire Mattituck train station.

Getting out here is not as daunting as you might think. From Mineola to Mattituck takes just over an hour without traffic. It sometimes takes us that long to get to Park Slope and that’s only 20 miles away.

In addition to Sherwood House, we also enjoy the wine at Peconic Bay Winery. They have a newly expanded tasting room with a ton of outdoor seating and live music on the weekends. Although I’ve never eaten there, The North Fork Table is apparently¬†wonderful. Finally, if you’re up for the drive, the village of Greenport has several inns, shops, restaurants and activities.

Winter is really the perfect time to visit because most vineyards’ tasting rooms are open, there is no traffic and no crowding. Spend the day out there and let me know what you think!