Picturesque sunsets, laid back beaches, endless vineyards, farm-to-table dinners, chic shops, iconic views, and rich history. Long Island’s North Fork is just 90 miles from New York City, but it feels like a different world.
Now that the country is opening up, vaccines are available, and there’s light at the end of the tunnel, many of us are contemplating how we feel easing back into social lives. Not just any social life. The ~gay~ social life. While you’re redoing your Tinder profile and scrolling through GOMag.com’s calendar for upcoming gay events, you might find yourself craving a more luxurious, slow entrance back into the world. A gentle debutante ball, if you will. Enter: wine country, AKA The North Fork of Long Island, AKA NOFO, AKA paradise.
The North Fork is a 30-mile long peninsula in the northeast part of Suffolk County, New York. Usually the “North Fork” refers collectively to the towns between Riverhead and Orient. Greenport, the North Fork’s largest and most popular town, is a year-round destination that never goes out of style, showing off her beaches in the summer, farms in the fall, romantic getaways in the winter, flowers in the spring, and wine, wine, wine all year long.
I have a degree in gay fabulous North Fork as I reside here in a chic little stark-white beach bungalow, and I feel like the luckiest person in the world to wake up each morning to the lull of the water, the leaves in the breeze, and the magic in the air. NOFO is laid back and welcoming, and is the perfect place to ease back into social settings post quarantine life. It’s is luxurious without pretension, quaint without being uncultured, chic without the hypebeasts, but it’s also QUEER. Like, not pseudo queer– there are lots of living, breathing, ~practicing~ gay people here. While you drive around this fabulous land, peep all the rainbow flags a-flyin’ on businesses, farms, restaurants, wineries, and homes. While not all businesses on this list are queer-owned by any means, they are all queer-friendly.
WHERE TO STAY
Sound View Greenport
58775 County Road 48, Greenport, NY 11944
Dreamy, picturesque, and beachy-chic, the newly renovated Sound View Inn is the place to stay if you love waking up to the beautiful Long Island Sound, dining at sunset, and falling asleep to the sounds of the waterfront. The property includes acres of beautiful beach, a piano bar, The Halyard Restaurant, Jack’s Shack Poolside Bar and Cafe, and Low Tide Beach Bar. It can be tempting to never leave the Sound View with all the swimming, cocktails, food, and live music– but don’t forget to explore Greenport!
Vibe: Romantic, serene, idyllic, casual luxury
300 Main Street, Greenport, NY 11944
American Beech, gay-owned by designer Alex Vinash, is what your Instagram aesthetic dreams are made of. A boutique hotel featuring 14 rooms with meticulously fabulous designs, this is the place to stay if you are always the coolest lez in the room. The sexiness doesn’t stop at the rooms. Walk outside your door and you’re in a courtyard featuring American Beech Restaurant, Black Llama Bar, and Alex Vinash boutique. Be ready to buy your girlfriend a new outfit and take a million pictures of her with an artisanal cocktail before heading back to your love nest of a room. You’ll never feel too disconnected, as the nightlife of Greenport is right outside your door. (Way different than NYC nightlife– here, we’re all in bed by midnight at the latest, FYI.) My little cousin, who works at the front desk, will most likely be checking you in so be sure to say “buon giorno!”
Vibe: Sexy, chic, lively, funky, cool
The Harborfront Inn at Greenport
209 Front Street, Greenport, NY 11944
The Harborfront Inn pays tribute to Greenport Village’s history of waterfront boarding houses. There’s plenty to explore in and around this quaint hotel surrounded by water and nature. Feel like a part of the Greenport community while enjoying access to the Inn’s private beach and pool, as well as the restaurant at their sister property Sound View Greenport. The heated pool overlooks the Peconic Bay so you can watch ferries and sailboats while soaking up the sun and salt air. Located on Front Street, The Harborfront Inn is a great place to stay if you want to be in the heart– and soul– of Greenport’s action, while secluded enough to not feel smack in the middle of it. “A stay with old soul on Greenport Harbor,” the inn is a respite from the chaos of everyday life.
Vibe: Beachy, quaint, charming, historic
326 Front Street, Greenport, NY 11944
The Greenporter Hotel is a boutique hotel designed in a retro 50’s style by acclaimed architect, Wendy Evans Joseph. All 30 rooms convey the feel of a comfortable beach house guestroom for the traveler seeking a casual but stylish setting. And, lesbians, you’ll love this — the Greenporter is a certified green hotel promoting sustainable comfort with modern amenities. It’s the perfect mix of old school motel charm with the cleanliness and convenience of a hotel. Grab breakfast in their on-site restaurant before putting on a high-waisted bikini and red lipstick and forcing your girlfriend to take Polaroids of you by the pool.
Vibe: Retro, fun, old school
Silver Sands Motel
1400 Silvermere Rd, Greenport, NY 11944
If you love editorial fashion, Americana, neon signs, pink bedspreads and pink bathtubs, the Silver Sands will be like walking into a sepia-toned dream. Since 1957, the Silver Sands has been a beachfront destination for generations of visitors. Nestled at the end of a wooded road, the property is built on 1100 feet of private beach on Peconic Bay. There is also a pool for the days you don’t want sand in your bikini. The Silver Sands has been the location of a number of top fashion shoots, including covers and editorials for Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan, Vogue, Glamour, Harpers Bazaar, W Magazine, Vanity Fair, Grazia, Yo Dona, Hong Kong Tatler, and many more.
Vibe: Vintage, kitschy, ironic/iconic, fashion, beachy
207 Front Street, Greenport, NY 11944
Inspired by Greenport’s roots as a fishing village, The Menhaden is named after the bunker fish prevalent in waters surrounding the North Fork. The Menhaden is located on the site that was once home to The Peconic House, one of Long Island’s first hotels. Now, The Menhaden features 16 chic rooms, built using the latest sustainable building materials, energy-efficient appliances and technology available. The Menhaden features the North Fork’s only roof-deck as well as Demarchelier Restaurant, where you can find exquisite French cuisine. Historic bricks, bottles and horseshoes—even the mast from one of Greenport’s storied whaling ships– were recovered during The Menhaden’s excavation and are displayed throughout the hotel. But don’t let the historical ties mislead you– this hotel is one of the chicest, most modern around.
Vibe: Modern, lush, clean
The Gallery Hotel
441 Main Street, Greenport, NY 11944
Situated right in the beating heart of Greenport, The Gallery Hotel made its debut in May 2014 and has been one of North Fork’s swankiest destinations ever since. The Gallery features modern design touches and quirky decorations, and — my favorite part — a curated art gallery space featuring local artists. You are going to have a hard time leaving the premises if you are an art nerd like me, but before you leave, don’t forget to grab a bite and a cocktail at The Gallery’s Asian restaurant, Kontiki. Rumor on the street is this is where ~celebs~ stay when they visit the North Fork.
Vibe: Artsy, eclectic, high-end
The Lin Beach House
455 NY-25, Greenport, NY 11944
If you are looking for a getaway free of children, The Lin Beach House is a sexy respite open to guests 21+. The Lin Beach House is a traditional vineyard and beach resort reimagined into a guest house, “where creativity, relaxation and indulgence can all be found in equal measure.” Choose from the 6 oversized guest rooms to curate your perfect romantic weekend. Bathe in a clawfoot bathtub, sip wine on your balcony, and shop in the R+R general store, open 24/7 to guests, featuring snacks, bottled cocktails, wine/beer, and spirits from Matchbook Distilling Co.
Vibe: Beachy, mysterious, sexy
Jedediah Hawkins Inn
400 South Jamesport Avenue, Riverhead, NY 11901
Captain Jedediah Hawkins built his home in 1863 in the popular Italianate style, complete with ornate architectural features and a belvedere. It was one of the finest residences on the North Fork. After having fallen into disrepair and becoming “haunted”, the house was saved from the wrecker’s ball and meticulously restored. Today, 152 years later, Jedediah Hawkins Inn is a historic boutique hotel boasting luxurious rooms, an authentic speakeasy, and a fabulous restaurant. You’ll never be bored onsite as you stroll through the lush gardens, sip a chilled glass of North Fork wine in the gazebo, and feast to your heart’s delight in the dining room. If you believe in ghosts like I do, you might feel their presence in the basement speakeasy. If you are superstitious like my fiance, you might walk out of the door backwards to avoid spirits following you outside. If you are a foodie like both of us, you are in for one delicious brunch.
Vibe: Historic, charming, romantic, (friendly) ghostly
WHERE TO EAT
53345 Main Rd, Southold, NY 11971
Wednesday’s Table is a tribute to family. As a new Vietnamese immigrant to the United States in the late 1970’s, the father of owners Linh and Lena worked multiple jobs to give his family the best of the “American Dream.” Wednesday was his only day off, which he spent making special meals for his wife and six daughters. Wednesday’s Table is inspired by the memories of the tastes, smells, and antics of weekly family meals. Linh and Lena “hope to create some new memories for your taste buds.”
GO’s pick for best drink: Vietnamese Iced Coffee
GO’s pick for best starter: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Salad
GO’s pick for best entree: Pork Shoulder Banh Mi
1556 Main Road, Jamesport, NY 11947
I can’t even think about Grana without drooling. The charming Italian trattoria features organically-made wood-fired pizza, daily fresh-made organic pastas, Italian beef, organic salads, homemade tomato sauce, and fresh fish. Grana “offers recipes and techniques you find not just from one region of Italy, but regions from the North Dolomites to the south of Sicily.”
GO’s pick for best drink: Ask Brett to make you a martini.
GO’s pick for best starter: Faggotini (no pun intended)
GO’s pick for best appetizer: Uovo Di Ravioli
GO’s pick for best entree: Cacio E Pepe Belle Parte
GO’s pick for best dessert: Chocolate Cake
GO’s pick for favorite server: Brett, not just because he makes the best martini, but also because he sings upon request.
477 Main St, Greenport, New York 11944
“Where Far East Meets East End,” Stirling Sake boasts a delicious menu of sushi, sashimi and ramen noodles, plus sake flights. Enjoy an array of sakes and the North Fork’s best sashimi in the minimal, modern restaurant, or sit outside and take in the sights of downtown Greenport.
GO’s pick for best drink: Order a sake flight and decide for yourself!
GO’s pick for best starter: Crispy Gyoza
GO pick for best appetizer: Sashimi Deluxe
GO’s pick for best entree: Spicy Kimchi Ramen
Touch of Venice
28350 Main Rd, Cutchogue, NY 11935
Opened by the Pennacchia family, Touch of Venice is committed to “welcoming diners with beautifully prepared, flavorful Italian dishes in their stylish, Venetian-inspired bar, dining room, and summer patio.” Chef Etar makes an otherworldly stuffed artichoke, the only one my mother will order out at a restaurant, as she is usually partial to the ones she makes. In fact, the artichokes are so iconic on the North Fork, guests call in advance to reserve them as they tend to sell out quickly on weekends. Touch of Venice boasts an extensive wine list with both local and Italian wines and a food menu featuring fresh, local ingredients with high quality goods from Italy. Make sure you are wearing stretchy pants.
GO’s pick for best drink: Ask Denise to recommend a wine for you after you describe what you like.
GO’s pick for best starter: Veal Ricotta Meatballs, Stuffed Artichokes
GO pick for best appetizer: Lasagna
GO’s pick for best entree: Grilled Shrimp
GO’s pick for best dessert: Tartufo
GO’s pick for favorite server: Denise
North Fork Table and Inn
57225 Main Rd, Southold, NY 11971
North Fork Table and Inn is an East End institution featuring the best of Long Island’s farms, vineyards, and waterways. Located in a carefully preserved, historic countryside home in Southold, North Fork Table and Inn’s ambience is as chic as their food is delicious. Restaurateur and Michelin-starred chef John Fraser and his team are here to give you the dining experience of your dreams.
I am getting gay married at North Fork Table and Inn so it’s safe to say they are gay-friendly. It’s also safe to say, as my future wife and I are a couple that has eaten our way around the Michelin list, that North Fork Table is simply the best of the best of the best. Not only are they gay-friendly, they feature some of the best queer staff the hospitality industry has to offer. You’ll immediately know you are among family and allies when you sit in their fabulous custom shearling chairs and order everything on the menu, because it’s that damn good.
ON BEING QUEER-FRIENDLY: “North Fork Table and Inn under John Fraser Restaurants fosters an inclusive environment of all backgrounds and ethnicities and all forms of sexual expression. Our perspective of hospitality is creating an environment where not only guests, but employees feel fully accepted for who they are and whom they love,” Nathaniel Savage, JF Restaurants creative director, tells GO.
GO’s pick for best drink: Literally anything the iconic bartender, Melody, makes. Tell her your favorite flavors and liquors and let her handle the rest.
GO’s pick for best starter: Duck Tot and Caviar
GO’s pick for best appetizer: Two Mile Salad
GO’s pick for best entree: Peppered Filet Mignon
GO’s pick for best dessert: Broken Chocolate Cake
GO’s pick for favorite server: Nathaniel Savage
471 Main Street, Greenport, NY 11944
Demarchelier opened in 1978 in New York City to bring a little piece of France to the city streets. Last year, Demarchelier relocated to the North Fork, with locations in The Menhaden Hotel and on Main Street. Both locations serve exquisite French cuisine. Like their website states, “every meal that leaves our kitchen expresses the soul of an authentic French bistro.” The family- owned and operated restaurant is a comfortable and warm spot to grab a quick bite, laze with a glass of wine and escargot, have a sexy date night, or enjoy a meal with your family.
GO’s pick for best starter: Fondue
GO’s pick for best appetizer: Avocado Crab Salad
GO’s pick for best entree: Lamb Shank
GO’s pick for best dessert: Crème Brûlée
437 Main Street, Greenport, NY 11944
Known as one of the North Fork’s “most intriguing restaurants,” Kontiki certainly lives up to its quirky intrigue. Chef Cheo will blow you away with the approach to Asian fusion tapas. The fun environment is like a lit tiki bar that you might find in Brooklyn, but the food is way better.
ON BEING QUEER-FRIENDLY: “Kontiki is a space for diversity and to be who you are. From the start, our staff has been from all walks of life and we celebrate such. This mindset has become a part of the Kontiki culture, and that reflects on the food, music, and overall environment that we strive to put out there. We are not queer-owned, nor have any employees who identify at the moment, but as always, we look to have employees who are themselves and happy to be at work to share Kontiki with others. Come bring your friends, parents, loved ones, and enjoy the special moments of life.” Amanda and Cheo, the Kontiki team, tell GO Mag.
GO’s pick for best cocktail: Spicy Mezcal Margarita
GO’s pick for best starter: Crispy Brussels Sprouts
GO’s pick for best appetizer: Dragon Salad
GO’s pick for best entree: Kimchi Fried Rice
GO’s pick for best dessert: Rice Pudding
58775 Route 48, Greenport, New York 11944
The Halyard brings the spirit of the North Fork directly to your plate with their locally-sourced ingredients. Guests enjoy fresh seafood and innovative American dishes in a light-filled dining room and sprawling deck above the Long Island Sound. There is no sunset like a Halyard sunset. There is no cocktail like a Halyard cocktail. And there are no fish and chips the like The Halyard fish and chips! It’s hard to pick a favorite with all the amazing restaurants NOFO has to offer, but The Halyard is one of my top picks, a place where my fiancé and I always bring our family and friends. Tell the managers, Derrick and Caroline, that Dayna sent you!
GO’s pick for best cocktail: Paid Time Off
GO’s pick for best starter: Summer Truffle Tartine
GO’s pick for best appetizer: Wild Maine Mussels
GO’s pick for best entree: Beer Battered Fish and Chips
GO’s pick for best dessert: Chocolate Chip Cookies
North Fork Roasting Co
55795 Main Road, Southold, NY 11971
North Fork Roasting is an adorable little coffee house perfect for working, catching up with a friend, or just taking in the serenity of the North Fork. Sit inside on the funky furniture and enjoy homemade pastries, or head outside to catch some rays and, on some days, live music.
GO’s pick for best coffee: Iced Bee Sting
GO’s pick for best pastry: Cinnamon Bun
GO’s pick for best meal: Grain Bowl
American Beech and Black Llama Bar
300 Main Street, Greenport, NY 11944
Perhaps the most Instagram-able place on the North Fork, American Beech Restaurant and Black Llama Bar is the beachy-Beverly Hills hotel-neon-disco-sexy-longue fantasy of my queer dreams. Not only is the decor impossibly funky and chic, the drinks themselves deserve their own photo, served in unexpected glassware (you’ll see what I mean), and in gorgeous, striking colors. The food is as delicious as the ambiance, and you’ll want to order everything on the menu, as you should.
ON BEING QUEER-FRIENDLY: “I’m gay and my partner and I are very welcoming. American Beech is a friendly, happy place and everyone is welcome.”- Alex Vinash, Owner
GO’s pick for best cocktail: Oh Snap
GO’s pick for best starter: Burrata
GO’s pick for best appetizer: Watermelon Salad
GO’s pick for best entree: Striped Bass
GO’s pick for best dessert: The Night Cap (2 desserts, a bottle of prosecco, and a hotel room for two in American Beech boutique hotel)
The Frisky Oyster
27 Front St, Greenport, NY 11944
The Frisky Oyster is the sexiest restaurant on the North Fork, in my dyke princess opinion. You and your bae can tuck away in the moody lighting and red wallpaper as you browse the imaginative menu and enjoy the consistently fire playlist. Local wines, artisanal cocktails, and decadent food abound. The only stress you might feel in this sleek paradise is deciding what to order.
ON BEING QUEER-FRIENDLY: “We are in support of listening, learning and ‘getting frisky’ with whomever you love,” say owners Shannon and Robby.
GO’s pick for best cocktail: w.a.r.d.
GO’s pick for best starter: Little Ram Oysters On The Shell
GO pick for best appetizer: Tuna Spring Rolls
GO’s pick for best entree: Lobster Gigli Pasta
GO’s pick for best dessert: Frisky Key Lime Pie
GO pick for best waiter: Diogo
WHERE TO DRINK
6025 Sound Avenue, Riverhead, NY 11901
RGNY is owned by a family of winemakers with a deep regard for their Mexican heritage. Carrying on their family’s tradition of wine-making, RGNY fosters the Rivero Gonzalez legacy. I have easily drunk my way around the North Fork a world record-number of times, and I can say confidently that RGNY has the best wine in the area. Whether you are into light and crisp or a full-bodied and sophisticated vibe, RGNY hits the mark every time. And you’ll totally want to take a picture under their lit “Scielo Means Heaven” neon sign.
GO’s pick for best Red: RGNY 2019 Pinot Noir
GO’s pick for best White: RGNY 2018 Viognier
GO’s pick for best Rosé: Scielo Rosé In A Can
Rose Hill Vineyards
2000 Oregon Rd, Mattituck, NY 11952
Rose Hill Vineyards is tucked away in a gorgeous 125-year-old barn on a secluded road, a respite from the crowded wine trail. Whether you sit out on the lawn, in the barn, library, or courtyard, you have the best seat in the house as you sip their wines and peruse one of the only vineyard menus with actual food besides cheese and crackers (but don’t worry, they have those, too!). Rose Hill is hands down my favorite place to take a big group of queer friends to gossip and drink in the sun.
GO’s pick for best Red: 2020 Mojo
GO’s pick for best White: 2020 Concrete Blonde
GO’s pick for best Rosé: 2020 Rose Hill Rosé
GO’s pick for best snack: Lobster Sliders
13050 Oregon Road, Cutchogue, NY 11935
Founded by Mark Lieb in 1992, Lieb Cellars has grown from a modest 12-acre vineyard to three vineyard sites, two tasting rooms and a full-service custom crush winery. One of my all-time favorite things to do is watch the sunset at Lieb with a glass of sparkling rosé in my hand. Combine some of the most delicious wines with the most spectacular views of unobstructed farmland, and you have the perfect Lieb experience. Don’t forget to grab some canned wine for the beach!
ON BEING QUEER-FRIENDLY: “At our Lieb Cellars and Bridge Lane tasting rooms, our high standards of hospitality include fostering an environment that is warm, welcoming, and inclusive. Our employees and guests come from a wide variety of backgrounds, perspectives and orientations, and we respect and celebrate them. Drinking wine is about connecting with friends and loved ones. There’s no room for judgement or exclusivity in that,” Alicia Ekeler, Director of Tasting Rooms, tells GO.
GO’s pick for best Red: 2019 Estate Cabernet Franc
GO’s pick for best White: 2020 Estate Pinot Blanc
GO’s pick for best Rosé: 2017 Estate Sparkling Rosé
GO’s pick for best snack: Truffle Cheese
Terra Vite Vineyard
250 Manor Lane, Jamesport, NY 11947
(631) 722- 3416
Terra Vite is a 3-acre vineyard located on one of the most idyllic roads on the North Fork, Manor Lane. Planted, hand-tended, and nourished by Salvatore Diliberto for over 20 years, the vineyard is composed of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot varieties.
I discovered Terra Vite Vineyard through their Gay Pride event — the first ever to take place on a Long Island winery! Seeing a drag queen traipse through the grass in seven-inch heels, hosting trivia with families and kids is enough to make any icy queer heart melt. When I met Jessy Fusco, Director of Operations, she told me the first thing she asked herself when she started at Terra Vite was, “What are we doing for Pride?!” After a chat about the Dinah Shore and wine, I knew I was amongst family. The rosé was superb and we housed three cheese plates, so it’s safe to say they were delicious.
ON BEING QUEER-FRIENDLY: “As a family-run winery and vineyard we pride ourselves on being not only welcoming but inclusive to all humans,” Jessy Fusco tells GO. “As the Director of Operations and acting General Manager, I have been out in the workplace since 2007. Being out is not without its daily struggles, but I find myself incredibly lucky to be employed by a company that prides itself on diversity and inclusivity. I think it’s extremely important for strong female professionals to be pillars for those who struggle with visibility in their workplace. I hope that by sharing my creativity and passion for hospitality that it may help others shine through and come out as out and proud talented professionals.”
GO’s pick for best Red: 2017 “Mercato” Red Blend
GO’s pick for best White: 2020 Estate Sauvignon Blanc
GO’s pick for best Rosé: 2020 “Marea” Rosé
GO’s pick for best snack: Dip Platter
825 North Rd, Greenport, NY 11944
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Situated atop the sweeping bluffs overlooking the Long Island Sound, Kontokosta Winery is the most aesthetically pleasing winery, offering guests the opportunity to taste their award-winning wines. The Kontokosta family owns and manages the vineyard and farm operations on a day-to-day basis. My fiancé proposed to be at the bluffs, and I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect moment in a more picturesque place. Combine the beauty of the beach with the sophistication of a winery at Kontokosta.
GO’s pick for best Red: 2016 Cabernet Franc
GO’s pick for best White: 2019 Semi Sweet Riesling
GO’s pick for best Rosé: 2019 Rosé
GO’s pick for best snack: Local Cheddar
Low Tide Beach Bar
58775 Route 48, Greenport, New York 11944
Sip chilled wine, take your shoes off, and kick back and relax at this impossibly chic-yet-friendly beach bar. Gather around a fire with friends while listening to the live music and taking in the stunning sight of the Long Island Sound at dusk.
Brix & Rye
308A Main St, Greenport, NY 11944
Brix & Rye is Greenport’s chicest neighborhood bar that specializes in Classic Cocktails. The friendly and knowledgeable bartenders serve top-notch spirits, wines and beers in a low-key, casual setting. “The drinks are fancy but the vibe is relaxed and welcoming.” They also serve delicious pizza. What more could you want?
150 Bergen Ave, Mattituck, NY 11952
Macari Vineyards is a beautiful family-owned vineyard that not only boasts a beautiful tasting room, but offers a private tasting experience year-round, and a private Bergen Bungalow experience in the fall.
GO’s pick for best Red: Sette
GO’s pick for best White: 2020 Early Wine
GO’s pick for best Rosé: 2020 Rosé
GO’s pick for best snack: Chef Lombardi’s menu for private bungalow tastings
WHERE TO SHOP LOCAL
Little Ram Oysters
12710 Soundview Avenue, Southold, NY 11971
Couple Elizabeth Peeples and Stefanie Bassett established Little Ram Oyster Company, selling oysters and themed meal kits, in 2018. After 17-year-long careers in NYC, the couple decided to plant a seed on the North Fork where they are surrounded by wineries, local farmers, fresh seafood, pristine beaches and “some of the friendliest people you will meet.” When the ladies aren’t shucking, shlepping or slurping, they are taking care of their new baby boy, Finn!
GO’s pick for Must-Have: Little Ram Picnic Kit
Popsicle & Finn
15 Front Street, #1, Greenport, New York 11944
Popsicle & Finn practically begs you to walk in with its gorgeous flower-adorned store-front and ridiculously cute logo with two adorable cats. Once you step inside, you’ll feel like you have stepped into the idyllic North Fork life of your dreams. As an online shopping addict, a store really needs to capture my attention for me to shop there. Popsicle & Finn is a top-to-bottom perfect experience, from the comforting yet invigorating vibe to the ethically sourced clothing, accessories, makeup, homegoods, and fragrant burning candles. Plus, it features the kindest staff ever. Stephanie will greet you with a genuine smile and warmth that is only matched by her passion for curating the perfect retail experience. Their giant Pride flag and adorable Pride shirts makes me love them even more.
ON BEING QUEER-FRIENDLY: “We live by being a positive example. We have full, rich lives, in the most beautiful place on the East Coast. We have been fortunate to meet so many amazing people through our shop Popsicle & Finn. Incidentally, many of our friends are LGBTQ. We subscribe to the same philosophy that Laverne Cox so eloquently described, ‘When you put love out in the world, it travels, and can touch and reach people in ways that we never expected,’” Stephanie Sack, co-owner, tells GO.
GO’s pick for Must-Have: Kenney’s Beach Candle
Kate’s Cheese Co
19 Front Street, Greenport, New York 11944
I can’t write a sentence about Kate’s Cheese Co without drooling. This is your one-stop shop for gourmet cheese, sandwiches, charcuterie boards, beer, wine, kombucha and more. You can take your goodies to go or stay and hang on the vintage couches, chat with the friendly staff, and admire the local art. Kate’s Cheese Co is truly a gem of the North Fork and your vacation won’t be complete without paying them a visit!
ON BEING QUEER-FRIENDLY: “Kate’s Cheese Co opened three years ago on Mothers Day. We are a diverse family-owned business,” owner Kate tells GO. “I am gay and my oldest “sun” Devin and his wife Louisa are both business partners. I have been an entrepreneur my whole life, always juggling multiple business projects and recreating myself. I came out late in my 30’s as a single mom with two boys. Devin was in high school and Zak was in middle school and they both supported my choices unconditionally. Life and love have no gender. As a gay-owned and operated family business we embrace diversity and welcome all. Kindness is everything! Come to Kate’s Cheese Co and feel the LOVE!”
GO’s pick for Must-Have: Ewephoria Gouda
North Fork Bridal Shoppe
5720 NY-25A, Wading River, NY 11792
North Fork Bridal Shoppe is a full-service bridal boutique offering an extensive collection of bridal attire and accessories. Try on luxurious and unique gowns in their spacious fitting rooms with oversized mirrors, flattering mirrors, and most importantly, wine! You’ll feel instantly comfortable with the incredibly kind, fun, and helpful Bridal Specialists. I got not one, but two dream wedding gowns here and I can say first hand that NFB is the most inclusive bridal boutique in the game.
ON BEING QUEER-FRIENDLY: “Brides come in all shapes, sizes, colors, that’s what makes what we do so fun! It doesn’t matter to us who a bride may be marrying, we just want them to look and feel their best when they say I do!” NFB owner Lindsay tells GO. “Having queer brides in the shop is also a fun and unique experience if they both shop with us, because we don’t often meet a bride’s fiancé. It’s always interesting to see both of their styles and help them find styles that coordinate without revealing their looks to one another!”
GO’s pick for Must-Have: VIB Bridal Experience
Common Ground Jewelry
29 Front St, Greenport, NY 11944
Common Ground is a fine jewelry studio that seeks to represent everyone and makes one-of-a-kind pieces that are versatile, comfortable, and stunning. They specialize in non-traditional wedding and ceremonial jewelry for all people regardless of gender identity or expression. They also offer an extensive collection of healing crystals and minerals.
ON BEING QUEER-FRIENDLY: “Being a part of the LGBTQA+ community is being a part of an ongoing revolution. It’s understanding that we’ve come so far but have so far to go. It’s fighting for those in our community who are not being served. And it’s taking those principles of equality and representation and applying them to everything – even jewelry. Our jewelry reflects our desires, our relationships, and our rituals. It’s inherently a part of us,” Alexa Suess, co-founder, tells GO.
GO’s pick for Must-Have: Crown Amethyst Formation
Blue Duck Bakery Cafe Southold
56275 New York 25, Southold, NY 11971
The lovely Kouris family owns and operates two bakery/cafés that have some of the most delicious breads and most delectable pastries the North Fork can offer. Pop into the Southold and Greenport locations for sweets served with a smile.
GO’s pick for Must-Have: Sourdough Loaf
Lavender by the Bay
7540 Main Road, East Marion, NY 11939
Lavender by the Bay has been owned and operated by the Rozenbaum family since 2002. Lavender by the Bay began as a small family hobby before growing into a 17-acre farm with over 80,000 plants. Traipse through lush fields of lavender, and get your Instagram on while taking in the vibrant sight and intoxicating aroma. In addition to the farm, there is also a store with a variety of lavender products and the artfully designed sachets from Susan Rozenbaum and her team of lavender bees.
GO’s pick for Must-Have: Lavender Pillow Mist
Sang Lee Farms
25180 County Road 48, Peconic, NY 11958
Sang Lee Farms, Inc. was established in the mid 1940’s by John (Kim Poy Lee), Hugh K. Lee and father, George Kim Lee. Following George’s return from his Navy tour of duty during World War II, the farm began supplying New York’s Chinatown with quality Asian produce grown in Long Island. Now, Sang Lee farms is a local favorite, providing customers with the highest quality produce and more.
GO’s pick for Must-Have: Ginger-Scallion Dip
The Times Vintage
429 Main St, Greenport, NY 11944
Aptly located in the old Suffolk Times Newspaper Office, The Times Vintage is all about honoring the past. The shop is filled with unique art, fashion, furnishings, and vinyl records that have been carefully curated to tell a story. You will totally be the coolest tourist on the North Fork sporting a one-of-a-kind vintage outfit.
GO’s pick for Must-Have: We would recommend checking out the vintage vibrator but I just bought it!
15 Front St, Greenport, NY 11944
Located in the Village of Greenport, Ray design shop features vintage deco and original prints. You’ll definitely want to grab an original Greenport poster or a vintage band flyer for your apartment.
GO’s pick for Must-Have: Retro North Fork Music Festival Poster
WHERE TO BEAUTIFY
Satori Beauty Bar
56475 NY-25, Southold, NY 11971
If you’re like me and can’t travel to a place without the comfort of knowing a good salon is nearby, fear not. The North Fork is home to Satori Beauty Bar, founded by Jenn Rohm, and it is your one-stop shop for waxing, lashes, tanning, cosmetic tattooing and more.
Special Effects Salon and Tea
455 Main St, Greenport, NY 11944
Where else can you get your nails done in a tranquil garden while sipping on artisan teas and munching on mini sandwiches? Certainly not Manhattan. Offering a full tea house menu and an array of beauty services including hair, skin, nails, lashes, and makeup, Special Effects Salon and Tea is the ultimate North Fork destination for primping, pampering and relaxing.
CULTURE / THINGS TO DO
William Ris Gallery
1291 Main Rd, Jamesport, NY 11947
Mary Cantone recently opened William Ris East in Jamesport. Pop in to see a myriad of artwork and have a chat with Mary! Then head next door to Sherwood House Vineyards for a glass of wine. Then head back to William Ris once you’re buzzed enough to take the plunge and buy a piece.
Drive-in Movie at Peconic Bay Vineyards
Held on the first Thursday of every summer month, Peconic Bay Vineyards presents a family-friendly drive-in movie series. Drive on in for some nostalgic fun and recreate the scene from Grease with your girlfriend minus the creepiness.
Yoga In The Vines/ Yoga By The Pool/ Yoga At The Beach
56215 Main Road, Southold NY 11971
Check out local yoga studio The Giving Room’s website for a list of special outdoor yoga events.
Classes at North Fork Table
57225 Main Rd, Southold, NY 11971
North Fork Table occasionally hosts wine and cheese classes so keep an eye out on their website for the next opportunity to take a journey through our wine region. You will have a chance to hone your tasting technique by focusing on both blind and deductive tasting. The ticket price includes all six glasses of wine along with some local treats that come from neighboring farms and local businesses.
Karaoke Sound View
58775 Route 48, Greenport, New York 11944
Not only is the Sound View home to The Halyard restaurant and The Low Tide Bar, they also have a gorgeous piano bar. Bask in the echoes of a bygone era at the 16-foot-long bar lined with captain stools set beside the baby grand piano. Guest musicians play the piano karaoke so pick a song and get in there, babe. Wednesdays and Fridays.
Paint Your Own Mandala Workshop
58775 Route 48, Greenport, New York 11944
Create a personal mandala and enjoy a creative evening by the sound. This painting process intends to help the artist let go of fear, be free to play, and set positive intentions. Join the fun at the Sound View’s waterfront Gathering Room Thursday evening and take in the peace, love, and harmony. Sign up with Venmo $65 to @Julie-ODaly.
230 Corwin St, Greenport, NY 11944
Matchbook Distilling Company hosts intimate workshops on Saturdays by appointment only. Learn how to properly nose and taste spirits, as well as dive into the science of distilling. Guests get to create and take home their own 750ml bottle.
Sang Lee Flower Workshop
25180 County Rd 48, Peconic, NY 11958
What is more quintessentially North Fork than a flower workshop? Join Aisa, Sang Lee’s florist, while she leads guests in garland-making and cutting garden arrangements using organically- grown, unique seasonal blooms and sustainable floristry practices. This is a perfect activity to fully embrace nature and your creativity!
Disset Chocolate Painting Workshop
28080 Main Road 25, Cutchogue, NY 11935
If “Paint and Sip” isn’t really your thing, maybe we can convince you if your canvas is made out of delicious chocolate. Disset’s Chef Chocolatier will teach you the masterwork of chocolate painting while you enjoy refreshments. When you’re done, take your chocolate art home and enjoy.
Common Ground Silversmith Workshop
29 Front St, Greenport, NY 11944
Perhaps the most lesbian activity on the list, Common Ground Jewelry offers a silversmithing workshop. For private events, the team will tailor a project to you and your guests based on experience. Your girlfriend did mention she wants an unconventional engagement ring… .
The Shoppes At East Wind
5768 NY-25A, Wading River, NY 11792
The Shoppes at East Wind are a super cute collection of small businesses. Stroll along their courtyard and visit specialty shops featuring art, wine, fashion, jewelry, cheese, and more. And don’t forget to let out your inner child and take a ride on the carousel!
1115 Main Bayview Rd, Southold, NY 11971
If you are blown away by the clarity of the stars at night here, imagine seeing them up close! The Custer Institute and Observatory is Long Island’s oldest public observatory (est.1927) and is open every Saturday from dusk until midnight. The staff of knowledgeable and friendly volunteers give you a tour of the night sky through powerful telescopes. Check out the website for upcoming lectures, classes, concerts, art exhibits and other special events.
Harbes Family Farm Mattituck
715 Sound Ave, Mattituck, NY 11952
I used to work at Harbes for four years before I got my dream job here at GO, so Harbes holds an extremely special place in my heart. If you are obsessed with baby goats like I am (who wouldn’t be? They are so damn cute!), Harbes Barnyard Adventure is where it’s at. The best part? You can bring Harbes’ award-winning wine, which they sell in their adorably rustic wine barn, into the Barnyard Adventure. Who says it’s just for kids? Be sure to grab some of their famous apple cider donuts and roasted corn for the way home.
Bug Light House Tour
Third Street at the Ferry Dock, Greenport, NY 11944
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Long Beach Bar “Bug” Lighthouse helps mariners navigate around the hazardous sandbar located between Orient Harbor and Gardiner’s Bay, its bright beacon welcoming them to the protected waters of Peconic Bay. The Bug Lighthouse has an incredibly rich and interesting history that you will learn about on this fascinating tour. If you have a flair for the macabre like me, I suggest taking this tour in October and asking your tour guide about Bug’s alleged ghost activity.
Drosso’s Snack Bar and Mini Golf
69125 Main Rd Greenport, NY 11944
Let’s be honest, no small-town vacation is complete without mini golf. Similar to the kitschy vibes of the Silver Sands, Drosso’s Snack Bar and Mini Golf will make you feel like you just stepped into the set of a Grease reboot. If you are competitive, like my fiancé, maybe sit this one out and have an ice cream cone at the snack bar instead.
38030 Rte 25, Peconic, NY 11958
In the fall, Krupski’s farm is one of the most fun places you can be in NOFO. Have your pants scared off on their haunted hayride, try your luck in the twists and turns of the corn maze, pick pumpkins off the vine, and stock up on delicious produce and snacks. Tell Kim that Dayna sent you!
Orient Beach State Park
40000 Main Rd, Orient, NY 11957
Orient Beach State Park, located on the eastern tip of the north fork of Long Island, feels like the beautiful end of the world. At the end of NOFO, this natural wonderland of waterfront boasts 45,000 feet of frontage on Gardiner’s Bay and a rare maritime forest with red cedar, black-jack oak trees and prickly-pear cactus. Come relax, picnic, bird watch, swim, fish, kayak, hike, bike, paddle-board, and more! Or if you are like me, come take selfies and then leave to go to a vineyard.
I wish you the time of your life out here in queer North Fork, and if you have any questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy!