It’s 80 degrees and muggy in the city. The forecast is basically begging you to escape the city for a weekend near the water with your family. You’ve already explored Brooklyn Bridge Park, taken advantage of all the East River piers and tripped up the Hudson on the Harbor Line at Chelsea Piers. It’s time to explore Long Island’s North Fork! Less popular than its mirror image on the south shore speckled with Hampton’s towns, chic restaurants, posh shopping and of course family-friendly Montauk, the North Shore boasts scenic views, fruit and vegetable stands, world-class wineries and the quaint town of Greenport.
Just a brief LIRR ride out to the Greenport station or nap-friendly Jitney trip and you will arrive at the oasis that is Greenport, Long Island. While it is easily accessible via bus or rail, we recommend the drive out! Just two hours from Manhattan to Greenport, the scenic drive along the North Fork provides many opportunities to stop at farm stands (Briermere Farms bakes the most amazing pies--it’s not to be missed!) wineries, pick-your-own fruit farms and quaint ice-cream stops on the side of the road (have you ever had Lavender Rosemary Honey ice cream before, because you should!) This ride is like an on-and-off bus tour, sure to satisfy your children's sweet tooth.
Once you’ve arrived, unpack your kiddos and make a b-line to the stunning antique carousel housed within a glass enclosure that offers swoon-worthy water views. Mitchell Park also offers a beautiful field for the kids to romp and play ball in before making your next stop. Should you have any locomotive lovers in the family, shoot straight down the main drag to the Railroad Museum of Long Island, where you can explore an 1892 freight house and various railroad models.
The Pièce De Résistance? Hop aboard the Shelter Island Ferry just a stone’s throw from the museum (with your car or via walk-on) for the glorious seven-minute ride to Sunset Beach! Shelter Island has been slowly climbing as a hot destination, competing with the likes of Sag Harbor which happens to live just across the harbor on the other side of the island. Shelter Island dons unparalleled pristine beaches, a perfectly manicured golf course and fantastic outdoor restaurants. Sunset Beach itself is a public access beach with a number of umbrellas and chairs available for rent via its neighboring Sunset Beach Restaurant, Cafe & Bar. This beach side hang-out is reminiscent of beach bars along the French Riviera or Amalfi Coast, with its billowing yellow & white scalloped awnings and killer menu (be sure to try the Shrimp Roll!). The best part? This restaurant and beach bar is kid friendly and dog-friendly, should your pooch have taken the trip out with you for a much needed dip!