Tuesday -- it was a cool clear crisp day on The North Fork. My assignment was to try and get a photo of actor Henry Winkler, who has joined the cast of USA Network's show "Royal Pains."
I pulled into the parking field of Pellegrini Vineyards in Cutchogue and felt as if I had made a wrong turn and ended up in The Hamptons. Beautiful people filled the grounds.
I later found out that it was supposed to simulate East Hampton -- success!
I walked around to get a feel of things. Crew members scrambled around as if they were trying to catch a train. The peaceful vineyard was cluttered with equipment.
An extra pointed Winkler out to me. He was sitting at a table between takes taking in the sunshine. I didn't want to make my move to say hello and took pictures from a distance. I moved in closer and noted a smirk on his face. Time to move in.
I introduced myself, and he seemed pleased that I was there. I asked if it was fine to take his picture for the paper, and he said, "Of course!" The soft-spoken actor, who plays the father of Dr. Hank Lawson (played by series star Mark Feuerstein, seen here), asked questions about myself and my family and said how beautiful he thinks the area is.
He wanted to know if there are any great restaurants here. When I mentioned the North Fork Table & Inn in Southold, he stopped me, saying he knows the owner and pastry chef there and that he loved her Tapioca pudding so much he had her mail it to his wife in California.
When I returned the next day to the set, Winkler told me he dined the night before at the restaurant. For my recommendation, I received a kiss on the forehead. Aaaayhh ... he still is the Fonz!