The list of what attracts people to the North Fork is long. Its vibe is more easy going in comparison to its southern counterpart. Water surrounds all sides, calling to boaters, fishermen, beachgoers, and hikers. Natural landscapes and open space are a literal breath of fresh air for those that travel the less than 100 miles from the confines of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Warmer and longer days have begun to draw people outdoors and when calendars turn to Memorial Day, the official summer season will start. North Fork real estate agents share how they spend their time outdoors.
Taking the time to enjoy one’s surroundings and be present is perhaps the most important thing for Sheri Winter Parker (SWP), who when asked to describe the North Fork would likely say it has a “peaceful energy.” She embraces the water in particular, having grown up in a place where it took quite a while to get to the beach. Here, whatever she does, she is surrounded by beaches.
The North Fork is where SWP discovered her love for boating. “I was never into boating before being out here on the North Fork,” shares the licensed associate real estate broker with Corcoran. “Then I realized when I got invited out on friends’ boats, I didn’t want to wait for an invitation, I wanted my own! And that was that!”
Greenport, Shelter Island, Sag Harbor, and Shinnecock Canal are some of SWP’s favorite ports. There are many places to dine outdoors on and off the water, and even those that don’t offer outdoor seating have large windows that slide back to make one feel like they are outdoors. Off the water, she recommends hiking paths in Orient for a peaceful and serene experience that also offers incredible birdwatching. Walking along the water in Greenport is a simple activity as well.
“We love taking the boat out and mooring in Noyac Bay,” SWP says. “Going to Shelter and Sag is so fun, and of course I really love going to Greenport too. We head over to check out my husband’s oyster farm, Noyack Oysters, on our way to Long Beach in Sag Harbor, his old stomping grounds.”
For those that do not have access to a boat of their own, there are several other ways to get on the water. Fishing is a huge part of the North Fork’s history, so hopping on a charter boat out of Orient by the Sea offers the opportunity to also see Orient Point Lighthouse, Plum Island, and Fishers Island, shares William Walters of Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty. He also enjoys kayaking and paddleboarding on Mattituck Inlet, heading out toward the jetty and Long Island Sound.
Food, wine, and beer is a large part of North Fork culture as well. “I definitely suggest going to Macari Vineyards for some of their refreshing rosé and Avelino Pizza, which is operated by the youngest of the Macari children, Eddie,” Walters suggests. “Also, Greenport Brewery in Peconic is a great spot to enjoy the summer weather and listen to music or Little Creek Oysters in Greenport for some casual waterside snacks and atmosphere.”
Wine tasting is a must for first-time North Fork visitors, according to Douglas Elliman licensed real estate broker Thomas McCloskey. Lieb Cellars, Jamesport Vineyard, and Borghese Vineyard are his top candidates. For a peaceful exploration of the area, biking down Oregon Road, Nassau Point, and Soundview Avenue offer a different perspective. There are a few public golf courses as well for those that enjoy the game. Then of course, beaches, shorelines, and fishing.
Hoping to spend as much time on the water as possible, McCloskey likes to fish shallower waters and the shorelines of Peconic Bay through the end of June, sight casting to striped bass. “Fly fishing for striped bass in the spring and false albacore in the fall are favorites,” he says. “Sailing, boating and bike riding are all ways I like to spend my free time. Lastly, I have a good-sized vegetable garden that I enjoy working in.”
These agents live and work on the North Fork. Having a good understanding of what potential buyers are looking for in homes when they either buy here for the first time or are ready to transition to a new property is essential. McCloskey notes that living directly on the waterfront is not essential to be able to enjoy what the area holds.
“If waterfront is not in the budget, close proximity to a beach is always a priority,” McCloskey explains. “Privacy and pools are always in high demand. Room for a garden, patios or decks and outdoor kitchens are items that if a house does not have, buyers will add quickly.”
Simple amenities can go a long way as well. Walters particularly enjoys a fire pit in the backyard, which is something that can be easily added to a property that does not already have one. “I think it’s the best way to hang out and relax in the yard as the sun goes down and air cools off on a summer night,” he says. “It always engages everyone in conversation and it’s a simple way to add value to the North Fork experience without having to break the bank.”
Space, privacy, and access to the water are among the most important attributes for North Fork homeowners, especially those that are used to urban areas and apartment living. For year-round residents and second homeowners alike, the outdoor experience is an important aspect of living on the East End. Currently, the real estate market landscape is strong for buyers, making this the ideal time to make not just an investment in physical property, but one’s well-being. Nature, after all, is said to support emotional and physical health.
“Here, what is amazing is that you’re literally surrounded by water,” SWP shares. “Whatever you do you’re one with the water. It is so beautiful and bucolic. It’s more like taking the time to enjoy your surroundings and be present in the moment.”