Here’s the dilemma: You have only one day to spend on the North Fork. Some family members want to drive across miles of scenic farmland and vineyards. Others can’t wait to hop on a hayride, watch a pig race and take a ride on an antique carousel. And you want to pick berries and try an old-style farm sport.
It isn't easy to please everyone, but the North Fork just might. We found a way to squeeze the area's highlights into a one-day trip. What will you do and see?
FOR THE FARM FESTIVITY TYPE
If a barnyard bonanza is your style, you’re a match with Harbes Family Farm. As you enter this working farm, take a musical hayride, visit with more than 40 farm animals, even hoist up goat feed to goats. Visit rabbits in Bunnyville — a tiny village for rabbits with a mini bunny movie theatre, barbershop and schoolhouse. For a less furry experience, watch an animatronic musical chicken show or milk a make-believefb cow.
Teens love to get lost in the hedge maze or congregate in the farm sports zone that includes a jumbo jumper and human foosball game. Kids, teens and adults can play the new Apple Blaster Game, where apples are shot out of a cannon and hit a target.
Though you can easily spend a day at Harbes, Tim Mulrain, barnyard manager, says it’s possible to have a full farm experience in two or three hours. Before moving on, you might want to pick up some of Harbes’ wine or pack your car with apple cider doughnuts. Fresh doughnuts are made on the premises daily. Add apple cider ice cream and slushies to that and you’ll be in Harbes heaven.
DAY TRIP DETAILS: 715 Sound Ave., Mattituck; 631-482-7641; harbesfamilyfarm.com; open daily 10 a.m. — 6 p.m., and until 7 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through August. Admission: weekdays $14.95 per person, weekends, holidays and Fun Fridays $23.95 per person (includes pig races and musical hayride tours). Kids 2 and under are free.
FOR THE “PICKY” TYPE
If picking vegetables, fruits and flowers is your passion, The Garden of Eve is your match. Depending on what’s in season, grab a container when the farm is open and pick your own berries, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, pumpkins, lavender, tulips and sunflowers. “Teens like picking the sunflowers and taking selfies,” says co-owner Eve Kaplan-Walbrecht. “That’s a big thing.”
Take a break from picking and climb up a twenty-foot hay tower, go on a hayride, or drive a pedal cart along a loop track and under a brand-new tunnel covered with cucumbers and gourds. There are also baby animals to greet and a play castle to explore.
Before you leave, meander around 70 types of organic produce in the market. You’ll notice vegetables you might not find in a supermarket, such as very sweet Japanese red kuri squash. There are also bouquets of herbs, flowers and lavender.
If you haven’t had your fill of lavender, drive to two lavender farms known as Lavender By The Bay. There, you can carry out bunches of approximately 20 different types of lavender as well as lavender products sold in the farm shop.
DAY TRIP DETAILS: GARDEN OF EVE ORGANIC FARM & MARKET: 4558 Sound Ave., Riverhead; 631-722-8777; gardenofevefarm.com; open daily 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; admission: weekdays $8.95 per person, weekends $10.95 per person, kids under 2 are free.
LAVENDER BY THE BAY: 7540 Main Rd., East Marion and 47 Manor Rd., Calverton; 631-477-1019; lavenderbythebay.com; daily 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
FOR THE TIME TRAVEL TYPE
If you like old-time fun, you’re a match with Greenport’s 100-year-old carousel. Take a ride on antique horses that circle around water views in the village of Greenport. It’s also a short trek to a blacksmith shop and skateboard park. On the main street, enjoy the vintage shops, or take a drive to Drossos where North Forkers congregate for mini golf, ice cream and burgers. There’s a beach in Greenport, too. If you need a sun hat or flip-flops, stop in a fun Greenport shop known as Not Just Bows. There, you’ll find over 200 types of hats (including sun hats), beach shoes galore and everything for the seashore.
DAY TRIP DETAILS:
ANTIQUE CAROUSEL: 115 Front St., Greenport; 631-477-1133; hours: daily 9- 8 p.m., admission $2.50 per ride.
DROSSOS MINI GOLF COURSE: 69125 Main Rd., Greenport; 631-477-1339
GREENPORT’S NOT JUST BOWS: 122 Front St., Greenport; 631-477-2808; greenportnotjustbows.com; open Monday — Friday 11 a.m.-6 p.m., weekends 10 a.m. — 8 p.m.
FOR THE SCENIC ROUTE TYPE
If staring out the car window gazing at amazing scenery feels magical, you’re a match with Route 48. The route begins in the Mattituck area. If you take it to the end, you’ll drive for about a half-hour and arrive in Orient Point. Along the way, you’ll pass farmland, farmstands, vineyards, beaches and charming homes.
Catapano Dairy Farm is a peaceful place to make a stop. You’ll be greeted by baby goats and staff will offer brushes to comb the goats’ fur. There’s even an official baby goat cuddling time. You can also watch the way cheese is made and goats are milked.
There aren’t many eateries along Route 48. Before leaving the goat farm, you might want to stop in the dairy shop and pick up exotic goat cheeses and crackers to munch on your drive. In the shop, there are also moisturizers and creams made with goat’s milk. At the end of your journey, you’ll come to Orient State Park. Check out the beach, playground, and grills for barbecues.
DAY TRIP DETAILS: CATAPANO DAIRY FARM: 33705 County Rd. 48, Peconic; 631-765-8042; catapanodairyfarm.com; open Friday through Sunday 10 a.m. — 5 p.m., closed Monday through Thursday. Baby Goat Cuddling Time: Saturday 10 a.m. admission: $15 per person for 30 minutes.
THE SOUVENIR TYPE
If souvenir shop hopping is something you love to do, you’re a match with plenty of unique stores on the North Fork. Here are highlights from four, creative shops:
Gifts Unlimited: This is an innovative jewelry shop. Instead of blowing graying dandelion puffballs as you make a wish, in this shop you can buy the gray puffballs encased in bracelets, necklaces and earrings. In addition to dandelion jewelry, bring your own sea-glass to co-owner Sunny Park. She’ll turn it into a necklace.
Atelier Disset: One-of-a-kind, handmade chocolates are created by chocolatier Ursula XVll. Stop by and taste a spiked lemonade truffle from her Ode to the North Fork Collection. Other truffle flavors include Black Duck Porter and Herbal Experience.
Kate’s Cheese Co.: Store co-owner Kate McDowell sells nearly 75 international and domestic cheeses. To name a few, there are sheep Brie, and cheeses from Utah made with wildflowers, honey and porcini mushrooms. In the cafe section, order unique cheeses in sandwiches.
In the Attic Too: Store owner Heather Ganguzzi explains, “There are probably well over 1,200 individual items in the shop. You have to walk around the store three times to see everything.” She’s referring to everything from vintage, custom finished and unfinished furniture to antique glassware, old wooden signs, classic washboards and more.
DAY TRIP DETAILS: GIFTS UNLIMITED: 1116 Main Rd., Mattituck; 631-298-1700; sunvdesigns.com; open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 10:30 a.m. — 5:30 p.m.; closed Sunday, Monday, Thursday.
KATE’S CHEESE CO.: 19 Front St., Greenport; 631-333-2722; open Wednesday-Sunday 11 a.m. — 6 p.m., closed Monday and Tuesday
ATELIER DISSET: 28080 Main Rd., Cutchogue; 631-734-8387; dissetchocolate.com; open Thursday 11 a.m. — 3 p.m., Friday-Sunday 11 a.m. — 5 p.m., closed Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
IN THE ATTIC TOO: 10200 Main Rd., Mattituck; 631-745-3848; intheattictoonofo.com; open Friday 11 a.m. — 4 p.m., Saturday/Sunday 10 a.m. — 4 p.m., closed Monday through Thursday