Extending eastward into the Atlantic Ocean like a giant lobster claw, Long
Island stretches 100 miles from New York City in the west to its easternmost
point in Montauk. The two "claws" are known as the North Fork, facing Long
Island Sound and the Connecticut shoreline, and the South Fork, facing the
Atlantic Ocean. Peconic Bay separates the two forks, with Shelter Island in
between. The main highway to the area is I-495 (also known as the Long Island
Expressway, the L.I.E., the Long Island Distressway, and "the world's longest
parking lot.") You can take the Long Island Railroad or the Hampton Jitney
(bus) to the Hamptons in the South Fork, but it's still helpful to have access
to a car to get around once there.
At Riverhead, you can follow Routes 25/48 to the North Folk, or Routes 24/27 to
the Hamptons in the South Fork. For a more relaxing trip, consider taking the
ferry from Bridgeport, CT (just off I-95) to Port Jefferson, on the
North Shore, or from
New London, CT to Orient Point.
Travel between the North and South Forks takes longer than the mileage
indicates, even without traffic, so allow extra time. The most scenic route is
to take the ferry from Greenport on the North Fork across to Shelter Island,
drive across the island, then take another little ferry onto the South Fork,
following the road to Sag Harbor and points south (or vice versa).
When to Go
As always, off-season, midweek visits offer the best rates, the least traffic,
and the most welcoming atmosphere. Weekends from Memorial Day at the end of
May, to Labor Day at the beginning of September can involve serious traffic
on Friday nights and Sunday afternoons, crowded restaurants, and high prices
plus minimum weekend stays at most B&Bs. Spring and fall are ideal, and
September is probably best of all, since the crowds have diminished, but the
warm water temperatures continue throughout the month.
Sights & Activities
Beaches: Beautiful South Shore beaches have fine white sand and crashing
waves. Parking and/or non-resident entrance fees are required at most beaches
in the Hamptons from Memorial Day to Labor Day weekends. Many B&Bs are
within easy walking/biking distance of a beach, so ask your innkeeper for
details. North Fork beaches are generally narrower and calmer, since they are
on Long Island Sound. More
Wines & more: Most of
Long Island's wineries are clustered on the North Fork, on Routes 25
(the Main Road) and Route 48 (Sound Avenue). In less than 30 years, the Long
Island wine industry has grown from one small vineyard to nearly 3,000 acres of
vines, and over two dozen wineries. In addition to the North Fork's wineries,
farmstands offer beautiful fruits and vegetables throughout the season;
"pick-your-own" stands are especially fun for families.
Maritime heritage Eastern Long Island has a rich seafaring heritage.
Stroll the handsome, historic streets of Sag Harbor, then visit the
Sag Harbor Whaling Museum, recalling the days when this now-sleepy
village was an international port. The 100-foot high
Montauk Point Lighthouse was authorized in 1792 by the Second Congress.
Less dramatic, but equally interesting is the
Horton Point Lighthouse in Southold, with views of Long Island Sound,
and a Nautical Museum. The East
End Seaport Museum & Marine Foundation in Greenport comprises the
maritime museum, a blacksmith shop, and the Long Beach Bar (Bug) Light.
More lighthouse info.
Birding & hiking: Seven areas comprise The
Long Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex. On a neck jutting into
Peconic Bay (not far from Sag Harbor) is the 187-acre
Morton National Wildlife Refuge , of particular interest during the
spring and fall migrations. Another option is the
Quoque Wildlife Refuge, not far from Westhampton, while scenic Shelter
Island offers the 2,100-acre
Mashomack Preserve. (Be sure to bring bug & tick repellent)
Art galleries & museums: Head to the Hamptons for most area
galleries, as well as the
Parrish Art Museum , displaying work by local and other American
More Long lsland info.
B&Bs and Inns
Mill House Inn, East Hampton, NY
South Fork (listed from west to east)
Southampton An undiscovered gem, the
Seatuck Cove House is a gracious new home with amazing water views in
every direction. Spacious, well-equipped guest rooms are enhanced by generous
common areas, plus a swimming pool and private beach. It's located in Eastport,
in Southampton Township.
More Southampton B&Bs
Westhampton Beach Heirloom quilts and antiques give the
1880 Seafield House old-fashioned B&B charm. The creatively
renovated carriage house is a guest favorite. There's a tennis court and
swimming pool on the grounds, and the village and beach are an easy walk or
bike ride. Friendly owners, historic charm, and comfy décor make
South Winds B&B an excellent choice. You can relax by the heated
pool, walk to shops, the theater, and restaurants, or take a quick bike ride to
More Westhampton Beach B&Bs
East Hampton Centrally located in the beautiful village of East Hampton
is the Mill House Inn,
steps from shops. galleries, restaurants, theaters, and walking distance of an
ocean beach. A frou-frou-free zone, the guest rooms combine comfort and
elegance, many with an arts & crafts-style touch. Wonderful breakfasts
include an extravagance of choices. A destination unto itself.
More East Hampton B&Bs
North Fork (listed from west to east)
Southold Filled with wonderful antiques,
Shorecrest is an American four-square Prairie box- style house circa
1897, overlooking the Long Island Sound. A little bit of France in Long
Island's wine country, Coeur
des Vignes is a handsome white colonial building with imposing columns.
The restaurant is on the ground floor; upstairs are four attractive guest
rooms, some with queen-size sleigh beds.
East Marion Two inviting B&Bs are right across from one another:
Arbor View House and
Quintessentials These Victorian captain's homes are owned by two
sisters, Sylvia Daley and Veda Daley Joseph; Veda's husband Wilfred Joseph did
a fine job of renovating both homes. All three are gracious and welcoming
Orient Although an off-season visit precluded an inside tour, we peeked
through the windows of the
Orient Inn, a handsome 1906 gambrel-roofed shingle-style inn, recently
restored to its original Arts & Crafts décor.
More Long Island B&Bs