Trying to describe the whirlwind that was 2020 would either put us at a loss for words or result in an epic novel. Despite the swift and unprecedented change in our lives, the year has flown by and we’ve found ourselves preparing for another holiday season. Things look different this year, but many have found a renewed perspective in what is most important in life. Mini celebrations and small family gatherings will feel more special this year, as well as supporting the local community. Looking towards this coziest of seasons, North Fork real estate agents share their tips and thoughts on supporting local businesses, and why it may be important now more than ever.
If the North Fork has learned anything from the pandemic, it is how important community really is, finds Kristy Naddell. The licensed associate real estate broker with Douglas Elliman Real Estate has noted the struggle of many local businesses to survive, the same businesses that make the North Fork so special. She predicts the area will be busier than ever throughout the holiday season.
“We have more people calling the North Fork their full-time home than ever before,” Naddell shares. “Given the restrictions on gatherings, I think the holidays will definitely be different, but for all those who bought homes here in the last few months I think they will be eternally grateful to have their refuge away from the city.”
When it comes to shopping local, Naddell has found ways to give a North Fork gift that allows the recipient some flexibility. Helping clients explore the evolving food scene, restaurant gift certificates make for a particularly great gift. Even though dining out is harder to do, both restaurants and foodies alike have embraced to-go orders. Gift certificates also help support these restaurants as the season slows down.
Naddell recently purchased a candle from Revel North Fork in Greenport, which advances the local vibe by using ingredients from Harbes Farm. Boutique shopping remains one of her favorites. “My hands down favorite place to shop for Holiday gifts for friends (and myself) is MINT on Love Lane,” she says. “I also always find cute clothes and accessories from Lido in Greenport!”
Boutiques for fashion and home décor are perfect for recipients that love style. Find bohemian clothing, homemade home goods and décor, gifts, and more at Tea and Tchotchkes in Greenport. Find modern and midcentury décor and thoughtful, fun gifts at touchGOODS in Southold. Nicolette’s for the Home and The Weathered Barn are also Main Street musts.
For foodies, there are plenty of spots to pick up local treats. The Candy Man in Orient and Love Lane Sweet Shoppe in Mattituck are perfect for the sweet tooth on your list. Any number of local wineries are great for holiday occasions. For unique and local offerings, visit Wines by Nature in Wading River. North Fork Potato Chips, Backyard Brine pickles, North Fork Sea Salt, Greenport Fire hot sauce can be found across the North Fork.
Looking toward the holidays, licensed real estate salesperson Nora Conant with Douglas Elliman Real Estate says this will be a chance for new homeowners to really get to know their space. There is the opportunity to spend more time at home, building fires inside and out, reimagining furnishings and color schemes, and start planning for spring projects. It is in the off season that people can get into activities and discover new passions like baking, gardening, fishing, boating, and more, and there are plenty of businesses and people to help make these things a reality. And find some new friends, too.
Conant, who often works with fellow Douglas Elliman Real Estate agent Jill Dunbar, a licensed associate real estate broker, loves to gift experiences over objects when possible. “By that I mean gifting participation in a local event such as a restaurant meal, guided birdwatching, moonlight kayaking, fishing trip, star gazing lecture, historical society event, etc.,” she says. “The memories from such a gift will last a long time in addition to helping introduce people to interesting local activities and organizations.”
There was a notable loss this year as big events were canceled, many of which support local hospitals, libraries, and social services. Conant says the absence of the Strawberry Festival, Maritime Festival, various parades, fundraisers, races, and more have hurt both businesses and nonprofits that support these causes. Dunbar has long been a fan of making donations to worthy causes in the name of family and friends. Causes she has supported include Peconic Community School, North Fork Environmental Council, Peconic Land Trust, Community Action Southold Town (CAST), and the North Fork Animal Welfare League.
Often in Greenport, both Conant and Dunbar find there are great local gifts to be shared. Burton’s Bookstore is a must for readers on your shopping list. As a seaside village, all things nautical can be found at Preston’s Marine and various marinas. For plants or small home gifts, Clarke’s Garden is always worth a visit.
The weather outside will soon be frightful, as the song goes, and as more people gear up to stay safe at home for the winter months, we can find comfort in still supporting our favorite local businesses. Buy gift certificates to restaurants to help keeping them going in the off season. Cozy home items like throws, candles, and other feel-good décor will provide a sense of coziness. Of course, you can never go wrong with local wine, beer, spirits, and food. If you’re cautious about going indoors at local businesses, many have adapted over the course of the pandemic to allow for online ordering and curbside pickup. If you’re ever in doubt as to what to buy at one of these local shops, gift certificates work just as well. Be part of the community and support North Fork makers this year. Happy Holidays!