With the arrival of sweater weather come the fire pits, where bars, restaurants and stops along the North Fork beverage trail serve drinks and comfort snacks outdoors.
“When the weather is crisp, we’ll have the fire going on the weekends,” says Bob Gammon of Woodside Orchards in Aquebogue.
Get toasty before a crackling fire under a starry sky, with soul-soothing wood smoke for aromatherapy.
“A warm glowy fire pit in front of you, a glass of red wine in your hand and a sweeping view of the sun setting behind the farm field across the street” is how Ami Opisso, general manager of Lieb Cellars in Cutchogue, describes the scene at the North Fork winery.
Here are five spots where you can chill — and ward off the chill — in the great outdoors.
Woodside Orchards (729 Main Rd., Aquebogue): Woodside Orchards, one of the newer stops on the Long Island craft beverage trail, lets guests quaff their cider in a picnic area between the tasting room and the barn where apples are turned into the sweet elixir. SETTING: A three-quarter-acre picnic area with picnic tables and Adirondack chairs, bordering the apple orchard. At the end of November, Christmas trees are sold in the picnic area, creating “a pine grove with the fire pit nestled in between,” Gammon says. CENTERPIECE: A 4-foot-diameter stone fire pit fed with oak and locust logs from trees around the perimeter of Woodside’s orchards in Aquebogue and Jamesport. SNACKS/SIPS: Hot cider doughnuts, chocolate chip cookies, apple pie, apple breads and more from the on-site kitchen. Salute the season with pumpkin apple hard cider or traditional nonalcoholic sweet apple cider. MORE INFO: 631-722-5770, woodsideorchards.com
Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa
Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa (290 Old Montauk Hwy., Montauk): Hotel guests, bar and restaurant patrons can enjoy a drink by the outdoor hearth, which is open until midnight in the offseason (weather permitting). SETTING: A deck overlooking the resort’s stretch of Atlantic beach. CENTERPIECE: A large fire pit, with a propane-fueled fire, surrounded by cushioned couches. SNACKS/SIPS: Close your eyes and dream of summer with a Gurney’s Punch (Bacardi rum, pineapple, orange juice and coconut cream). MORE INFO: 631-668-2345, gurneysresorts.com
Prime (117 N. New York Ave., Huntington): One of Huntington’s destination restaurants offers cocktail sipping by the fire pit on its waterfront-view deck. SETTING: The deck overlooks a panorama of Huntington Harbor and its moored sailboats. CENTERPIECE: A circular gas fire pit is surrounded by cushioned Adirondack-style lounge chairs. SNACKS/SIPS: A glass of Port. Other choices from the bar: Cognac, Scotch, Prime’s Irish coffee (Jameson, salted caramel syrup, whipped cream), cocktails, wine or beer. MORE INFO: 631-385-1515, restaurantprime.com
Lieb Cellars (13050 Oregon Rd., Cutchogue): The rural North Fork vineyard serves estate wines and other treats around a fire pit with a view of the sunset over surrounding farm fields. SETTING: A tasting barn patio is furnished with outdoor furniture, under a striped awning strung with antique light bulbs. Borrow a red fleece blanket to keep cozy. CENTERPIECE: Five 4-foot-long, rectangular, gas-fired fire pits. SNACKS/SIPS: Cabernet Franc, paired with truffle pecorino cheese. Also available: Lieb Cellars and Bridge Lane wines by the bottle, glass or wine “flight,” cheese boards, cured meats, olives and chocolates. MORE INFO: 631-734-1100, liebcellars.com
Off Key Tikki
Off Key Tikki (31 Baker Place, Patchogue): At this tropical island-themed hot spot, guests can circle Adirondack chairs around the fire pit, warm up with a spicy cocktail and even enjoy a little privacy. “When you get into the fall, there’s not a huge crowd,” says owner Michael Bruemmer. SETTING: A man-made sandy beach on the Patchogue River waterfront. CENTERPIECE: A 4-foot diameter brick fire pit, stoked with wood from local sources. SNACKS/SIPS: Hot toddy, Irish coffee. MORE INFO: 631-475-1723, offkeytikki.com