By Ruth Thomas
Cutchogue, named after the Native American tribe, the Corchaugs, who first inhabited Fort Corchaug before the English settlers arrived in 1640, is located in the Town of Southold. 2015 marks the Town of Southold’s 375th anniversary with festivities taking place in Cutchogue and other hamlets around town. Cutchogue is also where the first winery on Long Island originated, Hargrave Vineyard, established in 1973 by Louisa and Alex Hargrave. The North Fork now boasts nearly 50 wineries, several of them in Cutchogue, attracting tourists and vacationers from all over the world.The Village Green on Main Road, Rte. 25 in Cutchogue features three centuries of historic buildings from the 17th to the 19th centuries. According to the Cutchogue-New Suffolk Historical Council, they include The Old House, built in 1649 in Southold and moved to Cutchogue in 1660. It was restored in 1940 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1962. The Wickham Farmhouse built in 1704 on Rte. 25 was given to the Council in 1965, then moved to the Village Green and restored. The Old Schoolhouse, built in 1840, was Cutchogue’s first district school. Donated to the Council in 1961, it was also moved to the Village Green and restored. The Barn, from the 19th century features a horse carriage. The 19th Century Carriage House is the information center and gift shop for the Council. Celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, Cutchogue-New Suffolk Free Library was granted its charter in 1915. It is located in the former Independent Congregational Church and Society of Cutchogue, c.1862. The Village Garage houses a 1926 Ford Model TT Pickup Truck donated by J. Parker Wickham, shortly before he died in 2011. One mile east on Rte. 25 is The Old Burying Ground, an old cemetery with the oldest stone dating back to 1717.
In addition to its interesting history, the Cutchogue-New Suffolk Park District for
residents of Cutchogue and New Suffolk features two beautiful beaches in Cutchogue on Little Peconic Bay. Pequash Avenue Beach has stairs to the beach from the bluff and Nassau Point Causeway Beach is a big, sandy beach with a boardwalk running alongside the beach. New Suffolk Beach, a Southold Town beach, is a small, sandy bay beach on the Peconic Bay in New Suffolk, overlooking Robins Island. In the summers of 1938 and 1939, Albert Einstein rented a cottage on Old Cove Road (now West Cove Road) on Nassau Point and learned how to sale on Little Peconic Bay.
The first vineyard on Long Island, Hargrave Vineyard, was established in Cutchogue in 1973, when the young couple Louisa and Alex Hargrave discovered that Cutchogue was the sunniest spot in New York State and ideal for growing grapes. They purchased 66 acres in Cutchogue and started the first vineyard on Long Island. The Hargraves founded what was to become the booming wine industry on the North Fork. They sold the vineyard in 1999 to Prince Marco and Princess Ann Marie
Borghese, who renamed the vineyard Castello di Borghese – Castle of the Borgheses. The North Fork now features almost 50 wineries; many of them in Cutchogue, including McCall Vineyards, Pellegrini Vineyards, Peconic Bay Winery, Pugliese Vineyards, and Bedell Cellars on Rte. 25, Castello di Borghese (formerly Hargrave Vineyard) on Rte. 48, and Lieb Cellars on Oregon Road. In addition to wine tastings, the vineyards also feature live music and entertainment.
Not only is the North Fork known for its fabulous wineries but also for its delicious farm produce and fresh seafood. Wickham’s Fruit Farm, a 300-acre farm, dating back to 1661 is on Main Road and features over 15-20 varieties of apples, among other produce. Braun Seafood Company, on Main Road, founded in 1928, features fresh local seafood.
Cutchogue also has several quaint and delightful Bed & Breakfasts, including Sannino Vineyard B&B on Alvahs Lane overlooking the vineyard, The Farmhouse B&B on Depot Lane, The Fig & Olive B&B and Blue Iris B&B on Skunk Lane, and on Main Road, Andrew’s Legacy B&B and the newly opened Sunny Side Up B&B. Each has its own character, charm, and wonderful amenities.
Cutchogue is truly in the heart of North Fork wine country. It is a picturesque agricultural landscape made up of farms and vineyards, surrounded by a beautiful and varied coastline. Stretching from the white sandy beaches of the Peconic Bay to the scenic rocky shoreline of Long Island Sound, you are never far from a glorious beach and a gorgeous sunrise or sunset over the water.