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Bob McMillanAn Opinion

By Bob McMillan
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Relax on the North Fork

Now that the Fall is just about with us, let me outline a great place to visit with your family – the North Fork of Long Island. To get there is not a long trip. For the readers of this column it is around one hour by car. Any day of the week will work, but more is happening on Saturdays and Sundays. Count on spending the entire day, including dinner.

Get an early start, taking the LIE to the last exit — #73. Go East through the shopping area of Riverhead – Tanger Mall and other shops along the roadway heading East.

As you come to Route 105, a divided four lane highway, you have a choice. You can make a left and go up to the North Road to travel East or keep going on the Main Road through small downtowns such as Aquebogue, Cutchogue, Mattituck and Southold.

It does not matter which road you take, unless you want to explore antique shops or shop in the local stores. Then stay on the Main Road. Both paths to the East End have miles of vineyards and farms growing corn, potatoes, tomatoes, and even pumpkins.

In the Fall, there are special opportunities, all along both roads, for hayrides, and the exploring of fun corn mazes — something children or grandchildren will never forget. Make sure you bring a camera!

Before I forget it, there is another unique opportunity in Riverhead before heading East – Atlantis Marine World Long Island Aquarium. It is a worthwhile stop or even worth taking part of a day to explore – www.atlantismarineworld.com.

Now, back to trailing further East. If you are looking for lunch, stick to the Main Road as there are restaurants every mile or so.

Next, you may want to stop at one of the vineyards on the North Fork. At my last count, there were some 32 vineyards, most with wine tasting and some providing very informative tours. To check out the vineyards, go to www.northfork.org/wineries html.

As you go further East on the North Road, you will come to a sign telling you that Greenport is to the right. If it is late in the day make the right and I will explain Greenport later. Otherwise, continue East to Orient Point. As you approach the site for the New London Ferry, you will see a State Park on your right. It is worth taking the time to walk the beaches at the Park, and there are playgrounds, as well.

Now, head back to that Greenport sign. Turn right or left depending when you take in Greenport. In about ¾ of a mile you will come to downtown Greenport which is located right on Peconic Bay. With art galleries, boutique shops and great restaurants, take the time to stroll around the Village. On the Bay, you will find a Merry-Go-Round, a park to relax in as you observe Shelter Island and all kinds of pleasure boats. To get a better view of this outstanding North Fork Village, including wonderful, bed and breakfasts, go to www.greenportvillage.com.

Finally, to find out even more about the North Fork, go to the website www.northfork.org. I can assure you that a day or weekend on the North Fork will be long remembered as a fun time for all.

Robert McMillan Website: www.bobmcmillan.net