Why You Should Skip the Hamptons and Head to Greenport, New York Instead
The North Fork town has all the charm of the Hamptons without any of the pretension.
Just two hours from Manhattan and accessible by MTA Long Island Rail Road, the North Fork offers a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of New York City.
Greenport — with its award-winning vineyards, buzzy restaurants, hip hotels, and vintage shopping — has all the charm of the neighboring Hamptons without any of the pretension. Here, where to stay, eat, and play in the idyllic North Fork town.
The Sound View is a former roadside motel on a quarter-mile of private beach facing the Long Island Sound. The interiors nod to the property’s midcentury roots while also honoring the region’s seafaring past; in the airy blonde-wood lobby, for example, captain chairs and maritime oil paintings feature alongside rattan loveseats and 20th-century Holophane fixtures. Meanwhile, the 55 guestrooms feel like veritable ship cabins, with thick cedar-lined walls and panoramic water views, which can best be seen from the expansive private decks.
The property is two miles from the center of town, but there are plenty of diversions to keep you busy, from yoga classes and treatments in the on-site Himalayan salt cave to poolside cocktails and nightly performances in the Piano Bar. Don’t miss a meal at The Halyard restaurant, where chef Stephen Bogardus partners with local foragers and fisherman to create fresh, regionally inspired plates like grilled Montauk monkfish with braised summer squash.
Once you’ve had your fill of sun and sand, hit Greenport’s main drag for some of the best shopping in the North Fork. Start at The Times Vintage, where you can browse fashion, accessories, and home decor from decades past, as well as an extensive vinyl collection. Then pop across the street to antiques shop Beall & Bell, a favorite haunt of style setters like Jenna Lyons and Jonathan Adler, set inside a stately building that once served as Greenport’s Masonic temple. For a statement-making souvenir, wander into The Shop at the American Beech hotel. Co-owners Brent Pelton and Argentina-born fashion designer Aex Vinash have curated a mix of resort-wear (vibrant cover-ups, breezy tops) that are elevated enough to be worn beyond the beach.
In July, the lavender fields at Lavender by the Bay are in full bloom – and ripe for your viewing (and sniffing) pleasure. After breathing it all in, drive to the Kontokosta Winery to enjoy a different kind of harvest. Spread over 62 waterfront acres, the vineyard is a sustainable wind-powered operation that grows seven grape varieties, including a killer viognier. Tastings are held in the barnlike tasting room, which is perched atop a bluff overlooking the Long Island Sound. If you’re more of a spirits-drinker, get the concierge at the Soundview Hotel to organize a tour of Matchbook Distilling Company, a “bespoke distillery and incubator” where guests can come up with their own flavor combinations using hundreds of botanical distillates.
Long Island’s East End is studded with wineries and vegetable and fruit farms — so when it comes to dining in Greenport, visitors are truly spoiled for choice. Begin your day with a coffee at Aldo’s Coffee Company, a Front Street stalwart for almost 30 years, where the only thing better than the espresso drinks are the hazelnut biscottis. For a heartier breakfast, bring your appetite to Bruce & Son, an all-day brunch spot whose flourless matcha pancakes and pork belly quiche are worth making extra room for. Make dinner reservations at Green Hill Kitchen, the popular eatery from Wolfgang Ban, an Austrian chef whose Manhattan restaurant Seasonal earned a Michelin star. There, guests dine on housemade smoked sausages and smoked fish around rustic wood tables in a dining room styled after a German beer hall.