Long Island: Closer than You Think

When I was a high school student in New York, Memorial Day weekend was a long awaited weekend, because it was the kickoff to summer.  For many of my friends that meant it was time to kick off shoes, trade cars for mopeds and take the ferry to Block Island.  It has been a long time since I was in high school, and somehow after moving to Boston, the ferry was something I completely forgot about.  Aside from the occasional friend who took the ferry to visit family in New York, I forgot about The Cross Sound Ferry as a way to get away without adding hours of travel time.  The crazy thing is, The Cross Sound Ferry is closer to me now than ever before.

welcome cross sound ferry

I recently took a trip with some fellow bloggers to visit Long Island’s North Fork Region. Our primary host for the trip was Cross Sound Ferry.  I was an invited guest on this trip, but as always, all opinions are my own.

I love a slow ferry ride.  I always take the slow ferry to Nantucket.  The advantage of traveling on the slow ferry is that you can go outside and enjoy the ride.  It also gives you the option of bringing your car along.  The ferry ride is always part of my vacation.  It is where I slow down, take in the ocean air, and enjoy the anticipation of the holiday ahead. With kids, we play games, we reconnect, we read, we tell jokes and we start making plans for the weekend or week ahead.

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The Cross Sound Ferry is located in New London, CT which is about a two hour drive from Boston.  You can also take the train right to the ferry if you want to skip driving altogether.  The ferry takes 80 minutes to get from New London, Ct to Orient Point, Long Island, NY.  If you are short on time and don’t appreciate the ride as much as I do then you can take the fast ferry which is a 40 minute ride.

There are many ways to enjoy the North Fork region of Long Island.  The part of Long Island closest to Orient Point was once primarily potato farms but is now home to many beautiful and tasty wineries such as Bedell Cellars and Kontokosta Winery.

For a girls’ weekend you might consider the unique and eclectic Ruby’s Cove B&B with energetic host Donna at the helm.  If you have a family trip planned, then consider staying in town.  The town of Greenport has a gorgeous family friendly hotel, The Harborfront Inn at Greenport.  Parents can leave the kids with the grandparents (bring them along too) and head to Noah’s of Greenport for a great meal in town.  Before dinner, take the whole family out for a stroll and make a stop at Mitchell Park next to the Inn where there is an old wooden carousel from the 1920’s.

Carousel in Greenport Long IslandIf you are traveling with the kids, then you will definitely want to save a day for Harbes Family Farm. Take some time at the beach of course or schedule in some swims in the pool.  For boat lovers there is the Wooden Boat Works at Hanff Boatyard to explore as well.

Wooden Boat Works

Once you arrive on Long Island you have the choice of taking local taxis to get from point to point.  There are also ferries that will take you to other parts of Long Island.  To tour the wineries for a day with friends or your loved one, I recommend Vintage Tours.  The tours will show you around the region and bring you from vineyard to vineyard.  Wine tastings fees are not included, so please plan accordingly when you set up your tour.

For the gourmet in the family, pick up wonderful fresh vegetables and fruit during the growing season at the many roadside farm stands.  We were lucky enough to bring home fresh rhubarb and asparagus to cook up in our Cambridge kitchen.  Briermere Farm was kind enough to also include a jar of raspberry jam in our care package.  I make my own jam and am pretty picky about jam.  I think this is the first jam that I have had in years that I am obsessing about, rationing it out to the family and plotting how to order or go back to Long Island to pick up more.

North Fork, Long Island is a perfect getaway that feels like a world away yet is just three hours from home. For the maritime lover in you, the wine lover, or those of you looking for a little escape with the family, it makes the perfect weekend mini vacation.  To stay up to date on what is going on in the area and for the latest deals and special rates, check out LIweekends.com.

I think next Mother’s Day will include a trip to Long Island’s North Fork with the family, and grandparents so we can do a little of everything.  Perhaps we’ll sneak a trip in this summer or early fall too!

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The Cross Sound Ferry
41270 Main Rd, Orient, NY 11957
(631) 323-2525

http://liweekends.com/

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