Long Island is driving country, and there are few better ways to spend an otherwise lazy day than in a convertible with the top down, exploring the North Shore without a plan.
Why? Because when there’s no plan, there’s not a care in the world. And that’s when the Universe somehow magically knows to put the best stuff in your path.
Long Island’s North Shore is famed for the scenic beauty of winding roads canopied by tree colonies that meander near the sandy shoreline. While 25A is the road most traveled, a few random turns off and back on 25A makes for an afternoon of pleasant surprises.
With more than 40 vineyards on Long Island, you’ll stumble upon two of them between St. James and Stony Brook
Farm stands of all sizes dot the roadway. The small and charming version consists mainly makeshift tables and handmade signs, while established farm stands may consist of elaborate rows of fruits, vegetables, flowers and homemade pies and jams.
Many are cash only and are often in need of small bills in order to make change, so keep that in mind before you hit the road.
Bump in the Road: Peach Shortage
Sweet corn and tomatoes are plentiful now, but in light of the 2016 peach shortage happening the northeast, finding that fruit is now a major score. Grab some if you can, along with a few happy sunflowers — you’ll find many varieties of those, and unlike the peaches, they’re plentiful right now.
Heading toward Stony Brook along the northern-most streets makes for a leisurely drive along some private beaches. It’s here where ‘people watching’ focuses on boaters, kayakers and water lovers of all ages.
Pull Over & Relax
You’ll find enough small parks along the way to make it easy to pull over and spend some time just taking in the scenery.
With more than 40 vineyards on Long Island, you’ll stumble upon two of them between St. James and Stony Brook. Whisper Vineyards on 25A offers a wine boutique, featuring tastings and tapas along with live music.
While the boutique is small, it’s attractively outfitted, and there’s plenty of outdoor seating to accommodate peak periods. What’s cool about the set up here is it’s adjacent to a nursery with a farm stand inside — so it’s the best of all worlds in one stop.
For something more elaborate, find Harmony Vineyards, just outside of Stony Brook Village. It’s a picturesque setting with the vineyard overlooking the water — and that makes it a fabulous place to enjoy Sunday brunch.
Boutiques for Baby & More
Head inside Stony Brook Village, and there are plenty of boutiques to keep you busy, from clothing and housewares to specialty shops designed for those who seek to overindulge grand babies, as well as nieces and nephews.
There’s a multitude of places to get coffee here — try Crazy Beans (where the Golden Pear Cafe used to be), a rapidly expanding coffee shop with a retro diner feel, for an iced drink — and sit on a park bench. Or, get your English on at Robinson’s Tea House and enjoy a British High Tea.