Greenport has come a long way in the past two decades. The former whaling and shipbuilding village, marking its 175th anniversary this year, has gone from a rundown crime-ridden seaport to a family-friendly tourism hot spot.
There are village streets to wander, boutique shops to browse and any number of restaurants to patronize. Bring the kids to this summer destination and make a day of it.
1. Begin with a 9 a.m. cruise aboard the Peconic Star in Greenport with lighthouse keeper descendant Bob Allen, on a six-hour journey to see seven Long Island lighthouses. Information on Plum Island, Little Gull and Race Rock lighthouses is narrated by Allen; when you get to Long Beach Bar, aka "Bug Light," guests get to explore it. Cruises depart from the East End Seaport Maritime Museum dock at Third Street. A boxed lunch is served ($95 adults, $60 younger than 18 with cruises tomorrow and 4 p.m. Aug. 3, reservations required, 631-477-2100, eastendseaport.org).
2. When you come off the tour, head to the old Greenport Railroad Station (Third Street) which now houses the East End Seaport Maritime Museum, where you can learn about the village's nautical history through artifacts. See the 30-foot Fresnel lenses from the old lighthouses displayed along with an 800-gallon tank filled with fish from local waters. There are also mock-ups of the Wm. J. Mills & Co. sail-making shop as well as Claudio's seafood restaurant nearby. ($5 suggested donation, 631-477-2100, eastendseaport.org).
3. Venture into the village blacksmith shop on Front Street. Jon Folk, a 30-year blacksmith veteran, uses an anvil, hammer and tongs to shows visitors how to forge hot metal into items such as nails, spice hooks and horseshoes. More than 30 people can fit into his shop to watch him perform the old-fashioned trade on Saturdays and Sundays in the summer from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. ($5 suggested donation, 631-477-2100, eastendseaport.org)
4. After all your historical adventures, it's time to take a ride on the carousel in Mitchell Park overlooking Peconic Bay. Get on a vintage painted horse on the outer rim, and try to capture the coveted brass ring as you swirl by. Nab it, and you score a free ride ($2, 631-477-2200, greenportvillage.com).
5. At the end of the day, everyone could use a treat. Hit up Sweet Indulgences at 200 Main St., where there's an entire wall of candy. Take a little red bucket, and make your own goody bag with nostalgic candies such as fireballs, Squirrel Nut Zippers, root beer barrels and Sugar Daddys. There's more than 30 flavors of jelly beans, chocolate and a variety of gummy candies, too (631-477-8250, sweet-indulgences.com).