What does the North Fork mean to YOU?
In a weekly series, our team from The North Fork Box will gather thoughts from lovers of the North Fork on this special place.
“Amidst all the beauty that the North Fork has to offer, with all of the farms,vineyards and charming hamlets, to me, it first and foremost means water. Of all the spots, Greenport is my home and those various bodies of water that surround it; Stirling basin, Greenport Harbor and the Long Island Sound at 67 Steps. I am at one with a village on the water whose heritage is based on the sea. From Tall Ships, to baymen, steamers and pleasure craft, the working waterfront reminds us of the importance of our estuaries. I never tire of the reflection of sun on water, the mineral scent in my nostrils and the cool breeze on the hottest of days.” - Peter, Clark's Garden & Home
North Fork’s beauty, to me, is eclipsed only by its PEOPLE. There really is a culture here, unique, proud and independent of other parts of Long Island. North Forkers embrace their history, defend their individuality and support one another invariably. - Michael E. Affatato, The Village Cheese Shop
The North Fork is a place that my family has called home for many generations. I even grew up on a street named after my great grandfather. It is a place unlike any other because the people are as beautiful and warm as the vineyards, farms, and beaches that pepper the landscape. The North Fork means belly laughs with friends over wine at my favorite winery, cheers with craft beers at the local breweries, fondue at the Village Cheese Shop, strolls with my family along the beach, and countless trips to Harbes Family Farm to spend the day with baby goats and pigs that snort almost as much as my toddler. The North Fork is a place with strong community values, which makes it the only place I can ever imagine raising my family. The North Fork is “home sweet home”. - Meg Howard (nofomomma.com)
“After living in Mexico for six years I moved to Istanbul for nine years. While I was away I missed the sounds and smells associated with the North Fork. Now that I’m back in my hometown, just driving across the causeway makes me giddy. The calm community and friendly faces is the highlight of the area. Home is where you always want to be and home to me is East Marion where I grew up.”
“My first time in the North Fork was in the 1970’s. My Godfather had a house in Peconic where we would always visit to go fishing. Our family would gather with many Greek friends in Greenport and it became our Greek home away from home. These memories stayed with me throughout the years. The North Fork is my favorite place in New York because of the sense of community. People here are kinder and operate at a slower pace. My hope is that it’s preserved to stay as quaint and quiet as possible.”
(Marianna, Lenz Winery)
“I was reading the paper at a Manhattan diner where I would go for breakfast when I came across a real estate listing for a cottage in Aebogue. That same day, instead of going to visit a friend upstate, went to see the cottage and put a down payment with whatever I had on me - $25. The closing of the cottage was in the Spring of 1970. That’s when I started spending weekends and Summers in Aquebogue. My mother retired three years later and moved out here full time. She was living in an apartment above the offices of Colony Realty and heard the old telephone building was for sale. The building was what they called a “switching station”. We bought the building and opened the Jamesport Country Store that same year. She ran the store until she passed away in 1983. We had someone else manage the store until 1989 when I retired from my job in the city and have been out here ever since. I couldn’t be happier.” (Howard Waldman, owner of Jamesport Country Store)
“The North Fork was initially a weekend getaway for my husband and I, a place to drop our bags, take off our shoes and walk on the beaches, meet up with friends, sip local wine and relax. Once we determined to make it our permanent residence, it’s now a place we know has sealed a happy childhood for our son - choc-full of memories we build on each year — exploring farm stands, swimming at a variety of local beaches, eating out at the many incredible restaurants, having a blast at summer & fall festivals, meeting friends and family for some quality catch-up time at the wineries, backyard barbecues, ice skating, school functions. It’s all about his experience now. We see it as an ideal place to raise a family while still providing that same enjoyment we felt many years ago. We’re blessed to live where we once only dreamed of living.” (Marissa, Main Road Biscuit Company)
“Back in the early 1970s, Dad loaded my two older sisters and I in the back of the family car. The drive from the Bronx felt like an eternity, but he had a surprise. He had bought a cottage down a dirt road. We repeated this trip every summer as soon as school let out. I was too young to understand the significance Peconic would come to have in my life. I wasn't too young to understand how Peconic made me and my sisters feel — at peace and connected to nature. We made friends fast. We felt free, silly, curious, and courageous. We felt lucky and couldn't wait to tell our city friends that we went fishing for porgies, dove off the dock, and went to the Southhold fire dept summer fair. Then back to the beach we went. Goldsmith’s inlet was the place to be! We built forts, had frog races, and walked back to town to Bertha’s for candy. I can still hear that screen door slamming shut behind us. The summer days were magical and we wanted them to last forever. My love for the North Fork runs deep. Many decades later, although much has changed, it is still magical and we feel blessed to continue making memories here.” (Maria, Owner of The North Fork Box)
12/15/2017 - “I have been living on the North Fork for the past 5 years. I was first introduced to the “east end” in 2005 when I was still dating my husband. That’s when I fell in love with this charming community and began dreaming of living here one day. Now I get to enjoy all the North Fork has to offer! I love spending summer afternoons at the beach or sometimes, just riding my bike around the neighborhood.
One of my favorite thigs to do is to shop for local produce. We have so many great resources available to us in our community. It is always fun to visit all the different farm stands as well as the local shops and restaurants.
What I treasure the most about the North Fork is the amazing people I have met. I feel blessed to live in this beautiful community and to have made so many new friends.” (Owner of North Fork Naturals)
“I enjoy being surrounded by so much nature – whether by beaches with crystal clear water, fields as far as the eye can see, or driving past the animal farms, the North Fork has it all! I learned a lot about the North Fork at the East End Seaport Museum in Greenport. The historical photographs show how much the area has changed but managed to preserve a peaceful and kindhearted spirit. Love Lane is memorable to me for the delicious food options and products. Speaking of food, nothing says relaxing like good wine and cheese. It’s simply a great place to reflect and unwind.”
“The North Fork to me is home. My husband Keith and I visited the North Fork quite often as a young couple. We dreamed of starting a business, maybe a bed and breakfast back then. Just the drive out from our home in Western Suffolk, with farmland, vineyards just starting to pop up, and the quiet, calm on the horizon always made us smile. We brought our first daughter at 1 month old to sit on the pumpkins at Krupski’s Farm and returned for many years with all our children. The North Fork was our family tradition. We wanted to be on the North Fork for as long as I can remember. Surprisingly enough, in 2008, we opened the Blue Duck Bakery in Southold. We were still making the trip out from Patchogue every. Seeing those breathtaking sunsets, let us appreciate and enjoy that long journey after a tiring day. Finally, with all the children off on their own, we made the move and now call the North Fork our home. With two more bakeries - in Riverhead and Greenport - we are now ”locals”. We might be transplanted locals but our lives are finally where are hearts are.”
"The North Fork has a strong literary community. Many people who work in the publishing world have homes out here or are frequent visitors. They are very supportive of independent bookstores and great to discuss what's going to be the next hit book. In true North Fork spirit, there are a lot of DIY writers who self-publish their books. Whether as a hobby, passion, or career, the local community has produced books on poetry, cooking, history, photography, memoir, fiction, and even some coloring books. I try to support them as well by carrying their books and hosting an occasional event. An important part of owning a bookstore is getting to know the customers. I want to be a part of their experience by making them feel welcome and letting them know how much I value their patronage. I love when I recommend a book to someone and they stop by to let me know they loved it. It is endlessly rewarding and motivating. Developing friendships with many of the wonderful people out here has absolutely been one of my favorite facets of owning a business and just being a part of the North Fork community.
“I have the fondest memories with friends & family in the North Fork. Sitting around the fire with many of my favorite people in the world made me feel lucky and loved. Between giggles and talks, we made s’mores, enjoyed wine, and gazed at the stars. There’s something so amazing about feeling like you’re in the right place, at the right time, with the right people. The North Fork will always make me smile and hold a special place in my heart”
Reginald Peterson - a Greenport native - served in the Army between 1943 and 1946. He recounts the horrific events of WWII in a personal essay titled “The True Life Army Experience of PFC Reginald W. Peterson.” Among stories from the frontlines, he shares his immediate thought upon finding 4 dead civilians - one of them a child: “You just wonder if it was worth fighting for. You could not see the sense in it.”Once the war was over, he was brought safely back to American soil on the US Santa Maria. The first thing he remembers seeing were his parents. In an effort to rebuild his life here in the North Fork, he began working at a farm. Throughout the years, he worked at an oyster boat, a shipyard, carpentry companies and on his own before retiring. He loves the North Fork for all the surrounding water and fishing opportunities. Reginald is an avid collector - including bottles, golf balls, and baseball cards. Speaking of baseball, in his earlier years, he played baseball, basketball, ran track, was a little league coach and paints. He lives with his wonderful wife of 67 years in East Marion.
"The North Fork is where we go to unwind and relax - from sailing on the Peconic Bay to enjoying a glass of wine at one of our favorite wineries. My children always talk about camping in Greenport at the KOA (Kampgrounds of America), and the great beaches we found while exploring the area. Their favorite place was the Horton Lighthouse. Another must-stop along the way is the Candyman in Orient, to get the best marzipan. We have so many favorite places! There is a new adventure everywhere you turn: Pumpkin picking, farm stands, festivals, breweries and beautiful destinations like the Jedediah Hawkins Inn"
“We all have a special place in our hearts for the North Fork. Growing up, Summers on the North Fork meant blueberry picking and searching for a perfectly white, perfectly round rock for my Mother. Us kids would walk down the dirt road to watch frogs leap from potholes filled with water after heavy rainfall. Everything seemed so easy back then – no phones, no problems. Today, it seems like life has come full circle as I get to experience pieces of my childhood through my grandson Joseph's eyes. Watching his excitement to catch minnows and pick up hermit crabs at Goldsmith's Inlet absolutely warms my heart.”
Our first #mynorthfork!
"As a city girl, I am so appreciative of the summers I spent in bare feet, running out of our modest cottage to start another day of simple adventure with my sisters and friends. From playing make-believe on the jetty and catching minnows in the inlet, the magic of the North Fork has remained in my veins. I recently returned from a reunion with friends I haven’t seen in 40 years. Today, like yesterday, the driftwood and white rocks remind me that the North Fork is one of the greatest regions on earth."