Sometimes the perfect day is not one big adventure, but rather an accumulation of several mini adventures with good eats along the way. One such perfect day can be found on the North Fork of Long Island. All you need is good weather and a picnic blanket with accoutrements. We’ve planned the rest for you, stop by stop. Consider this your own personal curated date.
You’ll begin with a stroll at Lavender By The Bay, a 17-acre lavender farm in East Marion. They not only allow, but actually encourage, enjoying a lounge in their adirondack chairs and some portraiture in their fragrant fields of purple. But if you want to do a more formal photo session, you’ll need to book it in advance and pay a session fee of $150 to $200. (Just remember to BYOP: Bring your own photographer.) While you’re there, pick up lavender honey from their store for the picnic, and a bunch of fresh lavender to take home.
The field at Lavender by the Bay is open 7 days a week, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at a cost of $5 to $8 dollars per person to enter the fields. Off season it’s free. Check their website for bloom season info.
Next you’ll travel along County Road 48 and take a brief stop at a fruit stand on the side of the road to stock up on fresh fruit. I suggest a bag of cherries , some apples to slice, and a bouquet of sunflowers. They will go great with the lavender.
Log some animal time at Catapano Dairy Farm to pet the goats and take some Instagram shots. While there you’ll visit their adorable little blue store and pick up a couple flavors of their award-winning goat cheese and crackers. At 4:00 p.m. every day you can watch them milk the goats, and if you’re lucky, you’ll get to watch them make the cheese which happens throughout the day. Unless the guy is at lunch.
Catapano Dairy Farm is open 7 days a week, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., May to November. Admission and cheese tastings are free.
Next is picnic time at New Suffolk Beach (located at 2650 Jackson Street in New Suffolk). This is one of the few local beaches where you don’t need to be a local resident to park, and you can pay for a day pass on the spot. Some of us learned this fact the hard way by parking at another beach (that shalt not be named).
It’s now time for a game of corn hole paired with a wine tasting at Sannino Vineyard, one of the best rated vineyards on the North Fork with a casually rustic vibe. You can even take one of their various tours, and walk away a little wine-educated (or is that “wine-ducated?).
Sannino Vineyard is open from May through October, 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Note: No outside food.
Finish the perfect date at the beautiful Jedediah Hawkins Inn. It’s a wonderfully maintained historic restaurant and inn in Jamesport. If the weather is right, sit outside and watch the sunset while you dine on their fresh-baked mini loaf of bread, and add a dash of their merlot salt. If you wish to continue with the local theme, they offer the Bedell Cab Franc from the North Fork, which is a local favorite.
Dinner hours at Jedediah Hawkins are as follows: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday & Sunday, 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.; Friday & Saturday, 5:00 to 9:00 p.m.