A celebration of land and sea, and its bounty, summer on the North Fork is a favorited season for locals and the populations that find themselves out east now through Labor Day. As the (un)official start of summer, Memorial Day marks the reopening of waterfront restaurants touting local seafood and produce, endless opportunities for entertaining at home, and the chance to spend days and nights near or on the water.
On the roster of waterfront restaurants reopening are Salt on Shelter Island and its sister restaurant Port in Greenport. The famed and recently sold Claudio’s compound is open for the summer, and guests can expect their usual favorites all season long with a few new menu items, updated beverage programs, events, and more. Also coming into season are bars offering frozen cocktails. Not your average piña colada, you can find icy craft beverages in Greenport at Brix and Rye, American Beech, Claudio’s, and coastal Italian restaurant Barba Bianca, which is returning for its second season on the wharf in Greenport.
With chef Frank DeCarlo and Dulcinea Benson at the helm, Barba Bianca’s menu features locally sourced produce and proteins from farms and purveyors including The Farm Beyond, Widow’s Hole Oysters, and Peconic Escargot. Think unusual yet delicious catches like spider crabs, whelk, frog’s legs, bluefish, eel, and more. New vegetarian dishes will be available this summer, including Fiori Di Zucca of zucchini flowers, ricotta, and saffron oil; Melanzana Parmigiana with stuffed, roasted eggplant; and Gurgulione, which is a Tuscan vegetable stew.”
We do have a few new things happening,” Benson shares. “We’re doing a dedicated Meatless Monday program to feature all the amazing farmers of the North Fork and to also stress the need for conservation. We will be featuring local wines with a tasting dinner option each Wednesday and we will be opening for dinner earlier at 5 pm instead of 6 pm so guests have more time out on the dock.”
At Pellegrini Vineyards in Cutchogue there is a strong focus on wines and the guest experience. “We have always been dedicated to continuing to provide excellent service to our customers,” says tasting room manager John Larsen, adding summer is an exciting time for the winery. “This dedication is reflected through our continuous support from our wine club members. Our wine club is the heart of Pellegrini. Our members continue to support us and thus we continue to find new ways to reward their loyalty. Whether it’s an exclusive blend, new releases or special events, the care and devotion we give to our members shines through.”
Winemaker Zander Hargrave shares the vineyard seeks to grow and craft fruit-driven wines that express the full potential of Vinifera grapes on the North Fork. “The Pellegrini winemaking philosophy is focused on the fruit, preserving and developing the rich character of nuanced flavors and aromas,” he says. “Everything about this state of the art winery was designed with purpose and technique in mind. We blend old world techniques with modern technology.”
Samantha and Jason Nagorski are welcoming summer with their new store called R.E.N. Design in Wading River. Jason has been woodworking for more than 13 years, creating everything from cabinetry to baby cradles. Each one of a kind piece is built with the user’s needs and style in mind. For those that love to entertain, a custom-made piece also makes for great conversation.
“Finding a balance between function and style is where our creative is rooted,” Samantha says. “I find myself pulling from the North Fork styles of farmhouse and relaxed beach house when creating the wood signs and smaller home décor pieces. I love that I get to carry that over into our monthly craft nights. Being able to help people make a personalized piece of décor for their home is a joy.”
To bring the outdoors in, Samantha suggests incorporating greenery into your home to make it feel like summer. Potted flowers and plants create a blooming garden feel indoors. “You spend so much time outside in the summer you’ll want to make your outdoor space have the comfort of a cozy living room,” she explains. “Have some mixed textured throw pillows, a mix of seating and candles. It’s a great way to make your backyard feel cozy when having a mid-summer’s night party.”
One of the biggest draws to the North Fork is the water. People come to enjoy the beaches, swimming and boating from the afternoon well into the evening. Getting on the water is important in the summer, and something Port of Egypt is hoping to offer everyone whether they own a boat or not. Launched by the Lieblein brothers William, Herman, and Herbert in 1946, this Southold marina transformed from being a thriving fishing station to a full-service marina. Now at the helm is third generation captain William Lieblein.
A popular program for getting on the water is the marina’s private cruises with a licensed captain. Pair hors d’ouevres and beverages with a tour of Shelter Island and Greenport, or enjoy dinner anchored outside of Pipe’s Cove. Bug Lighthouse in Orient is a favorite to explore and beautiful at sunset. The captains will even teach you how to fish if you so choose. For a little extra summer fun, Port of Egypt is hosting raft-ups for two local fireworks shows in Orient Harbor on June 30 and Crescent Beach on Shelter Island on July 7.
Though this may seem like a lot, it is only a glimpse into what summer on the North Fork holds. For weekly happenings, be sure to check out the North Fork Real Estate Showcase blog. We’ll see you on the other side of Memorial Day.