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24-Hour Getaway to North Fork, New York

By Holly Rosen Fink, GoGirlfriend contributor

A lover’s getaway to New York’s wine country

It’s incredibly rare for my husband and I to get away on our own without the kids. Like other couples with kids, our time together is consumed by conversations about the kids, their education, activities and how much screen time to let them have daily. It’s never-ending and sometimes it’s hard to see each other for we really are – and once were – as a couple. Sometimes escaping with each other is a necessity – not a luxury.

So we ran away together – for the weekend.

After dropping the kids off, we drove to New London, Connecticut and hopped aboard the Cross Sound Ferry to North Folk of Long Island. We ordered coffee and settled in for the 16-mile journey. You can take your car for just $51, plus $14.50 for additional adult passengers. Children ages 2-11 are $6.00 one-way, $10.00 round trip. Children under age 2 are free.

Next summer when you’re planning your trip to Long Island, ignore the LIE and take the ferry. It’s a completely unique, relaxing and a somewhat exhilarating experience.

Arriving in Orient Point

lovers getaway on North Fork Island, New YorkAs soon as we landed in Orient Point, we took a whiff of the ocean’s sea salt in the air and looked out at the vine-lined fields that fill the region. The region hosts 50 producers of world-class wines, 383 wineries over 3,000 acres of vines growing grapes. The region has been voted one of the “10 Best Wine Travel Destinations” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine in 2013. It’s truly a spectacular, special place that I don’t think many New Yorkers visit often enough.

Rather than bring our car across, we opted to have Vintage Tours meet us at the ferry to take us on a tour of some of the area’s vineyards. Wine experts run the company and Jo-Ann, our tour guide, provided information not only on the spots we were visiting but on the region itself. It was a pleasure to sit back and let someone else make the plans.

Wine, wine….and more wine

Waterscrest WineryOur first stop was Waters Crest Winery, with lunch and wine blending with owner Jim Waters. Waters told us how he was a fireman working in Ground Zero on 9/11 and decided life was too short not to follow his passion – so he opened a winery. The result, Waters Crest, produces boutique wines with grapes that are carefully hand-selected from local growers with fresh fruit.

Lunch was served in the tasting room, where we sampled red and whites from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Chardonnay grapes and Riesling. Lunch was from local Nofo Lunchbox – a gorgeous kale salad with berries and cheese. The combination of salad, wine and being in the North Fork was soothing and so very zen.

Waters Crest Winery is located at 22355 Route 48 in Cutchogue. The vineyard is open Monday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday from 11am-5pm and Saturday from 11am-6pm. Catch up with them on Facebook or TripAdvisor.

Kontokosta WineryThen we headed to Kontokosta Winery in Greenport, a 62-acre property with a 9,000 square feet winery owned by brothers Michael and Constantine Kontokosta. Overlooking the bluff of Long Island Sound, the winery is in a 19th century New England barn made of 90 percent recycled-content steel and boasts floor-to-ceiling windows and exposed steel beams. Breathtaking!

From merlot using grapes of Peconic to cabernet to merlot to cabernet sauvignon to chardonnay, the wines were flowing and the taste was magically flavorful and sublime.

Kontokosta Winery is located at 825 North Road (Route 25) in Greenport and is open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 631-477-6977. Catch up with them on Facebook or TripAdvisor.

Sannino Bella Vita WineryLastly, we journeyed to Sannino Bella Vita in Peconic, where we were greeted and hosted by owner Anthony Sannino. He and his wife, Lisa, lovingly trace the winery’s origins in part to the island of Ischia, near Naples, where his grandparents came from. The couple bought the vineyard in 2006, along with a bed and breakfast.

Their “Vine to Wine” process lets visitors join in the wine-making process, which Anthony clearly loves. We tasted fresh grapes and newly made wine placed in barrels outside and sipped chardonnay, made from fresh fruit, and merlot made with dashes of tobacco, macerated dark plums and black licorice. Anthony’s passion for his roots and wine-making was addictive.

Sannino Bella Vita is located at 1375 Peconic Lane in Peconic. It’s open every day until 6 and until 8 on Saturdays. Read reviews on TripAdvisor.

Lying our heads down to rest

Harborfront InnMichael of the Kontokosta Winery owns the Harborfront Inn at Greenport, our chosen accommodations for the night. Harborfront is a traditional three-story, grey and white inn offering simplicity and comfort. Most rooms boast harbor views and all rooms have all the amenities you’d expect. There’s a fitness room and complimentary continental breakfast from 7-10 am daily. Our room was cozy, complete with contemporary furniture, an armchair and comfy bed linens. The inn is located in the heart of historic Greenport, right by quaint shops and restaurants, and the lovely view of the harbor added to the tone of our romantic getaway.

Visit Harborfront Inn online and catch up with them on Facebook, Twitter and TripAdvisor.

Chow before saying “ciao”

Greenport Harbor Brewing Co.At the Greenport Harbor Brewing Co., a microbrewery in a converted firehouse, we drank a flight of delicious, unique tasting beers that included Harbor Pale, Black Duck Porter, Leaf Pile Ale and Weesh’d Scotch Ale. We also toured the brewery and saw the beer making facilities. A food truck was parked outside from Noah’s on the Road offering scrumptious mushroom risotto balls, lobster rolls, crab cakes, which we munched on while listening to live music.

Visit Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. online or catch up with them on Facebook.

Heading home

You’re probably wondering how we did all that in 24 hours? Well, you can get a lot done without kids in tow! Not only did we have time to reconnect with each other during our time in the North Fork, but we also let ourselves go. The combination of touring vineyards, drinking wine, having the freedom to do as we pleased, it was all very rejuvenating and in a way, spiritual. We both came home with a better perspective and as much as we loved our children before we left, we may love them even more now.

That’s what wine does to you.

Disclosure: Holly and her husband were hosted by Cross Sound Ferry but all opinions are her own.

Have you had the pleasure to visit North Fork, New York? What did you enjoy most? Drop a comment below and let us know or connect with GoGirlfriend on Facebook or Twitter.

About Holly Rosen Fink

Holly Rosen Fink ~ @HollyChroniclesHolly Rosen Fink ~ @HollyChronicles

Holly Rosen Fink is a Marketing, Communications, Public Relations, Branding and Social Media expert with over 15 years’ experience increasing brand awareness and sales at leading publishing houses and media companies. She is the founder of theculturemom.com and is a current contributor to This Girl Travels, Ciao Bambino, Family Vacation Critic, The Broad Side, BlogHer and Women & Hollywood.

Last year she edited Come Closer: How Tourism is Shaping the Future of Nations and associate produced the off-off-Broadway hit The Best of Everything and the NYC production of Listen to Your Mother


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