Journi Guide: Hamptons this Summer? Try the North Fork of Long Island Instead

A guide to help you spend a relaxing weekend on the quieter fork

When travelling to a famous international destination, we tend to have high expectations. Breathtaking views! Great food! Cultural exchanges with friendly locals! But too many times, our lofty aspirations are met with the harsh reality of dirty, overcrowded streets and pricey hotels. Local flavor? It's nearly impossible to find in many of the world's most touristy destinations. That's why we've created Journi Guides.

Journi Guides tell you where to beat the crowds, experience something authentic, and get the best 'gram of your life.

Check out this week's Journi Guide below to get our top recommendation of places you might not have heard of, but definitely should get to know.

It's that time of year again when the heat is so unbearable in NYC you need a beach escape. Instead of heading to Long Island's south fork where you'll find burgeoning crowds bringing the city's noise and non stop parties with them to the Hamptons, try the quieter and more laid-back North Fork instead. You'll be greeted by picturesque farms, wineries that rival Napa Valley, quiet beaches, and some of the best farm to table restaurants on the coast.

The North Fork of Long Island has been attracting visitors for years, and for good reason. It's calmer and more affordable than Montauk or the Hamptons. And if you do want to get the South Fork, it's just a ferry ride away. Here's a guide to help you spend an idyllic long weekend while it's still known as the quieter fork.


north fork travel guide greenport long island the soundview hotel Beachside room at the Sound ViewThe Sound View

Greenport is the unofficial capital of the North Fork of Long Island. It's a 19th century whaling village that's now full of charming local shops, family run vineyards, and fresh seafood restaurants. You can also catch the North Ferry ride from Greenport to get to Shelter Island in under 10 minutes.

Stay at The Sound View in Greenpoint. This newly renovated hotel has classic, modernist style guest rooms with incredible beachside views. You can lounge at the outdoor pool, sign up for a pick-your-own farm outing, take a painting class on the beach, enjoy the sunset while dining at The Haylard restaurant, and listen to live music at the piano bar. This beachside retreat has so much to offer you might not want to venture too far out.

lavender by the bay farm north fork long island Lavender fields in bloom at Lavender by the Bay FarmGetty Images

For some of the best coffee in Greenport stop at Aldos and then rent a bike from Dan's bike shop, he'll even deliver your rented bike right to your door. Bike to the lavender fields at Lavender by the Bay Farm and spend the day exploring. This family owned lavender farm is one of the top 6 most beautiful lavender farms to visit in America. It's stunning in the summertime when the fields are in full bloom.

Orient Point

Orient Beach State Park North Fork Long Island Orient Beach State ParkGetty Images

Next bike up Route 25 from Greenport through East Marion, stopping at Sep's Farm Stand to pick up a farm fresh sandwich or salad. Continue on to Orient beach state park, where you'll find beautiful beaches colliding with maritime forests. Spend the rest of the day lounging on the beach or hiking one of the beautiful nature trails.

four & twenty blackbirds bakery orient point long island Four & Twenty Blackbirds BakeryFour & Twenty Blackbirds

When in Orient Point make sure to stop at Four & Twenty Blackbirds. This pie bakery earned the Elsen sisters the title of "Artisans of the Year" in 2011 by Time Out Magazine. Grab a slice of their savory pie for dinner and a sweet piece for later before biking back to Greenport.

Shelter Island

Shelter Island BeachThe New York Times

Nestled between the North and South Forks is a historical island community with miles of beautiful beaches. Before leaving the North Fork make sure you check out Shelter Island, home to both sprawling waterfront mansions and cozy beach shacks. It's just a quick 8 minute ferry ride from Greenport.

red maple restaurant shelter island north fork long island Red Maple Restaurant at The Chequit HotelEast End Taste

For a charming and affordable room on Shelter Island stay at The Azeala House Bed and Breakfast. Grab your coffee and a gourmet lunch at Marie Eiffel Market where you can bask in the seaside views while eating on the dock. Stroll through Shelter Island Heights to see some of the most beautiful streets on the island and then hit Wades Beach. For dinner and live music head to The Red Maple restaurant at The Chequit Hotel.

No need to join the crowds in the Hamptons this summer. The North Fork of Long Island has all the beachside beauty, farm to table restaurants, wineries and outdoor activities you need. Head to Greenpoint, Orient, and Shelter Island for a rejuvenating beach retreat.

Looking for more travel guides? Skip Santa Barbara and Heat to San Luis Obispo.

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There are several things about wine that can confuse the average person. If you haven't spent the last few years of your life learning everything there is to know about wine, you can be forgiven for picking up a box of the good stuff every now and then. However, if you want to know a little bit more about how to choose a good bottle, we can help you out. We've created a beginner's guide to picking a bottle of wine so you can enjoy yourself a little more.

Know What Type of Wine To Choose

First things first, you're going to need to decide the type of wine that you're looking for in order to narrow your search. Are you looking for a red, white, sparkling, or rosé? The choices may seem overwhelming, but try to focus on what foods you'll be pairing the wine with. Reds go great with heavier meals like red meat, while whites tend to lend themselves towards lighter dishes like fish and cheeses. If you'll be drinking the wine on its own, consider what you've tried in the past and what type you tend to gravitate toward.

Know How Much You're Willing To Spend

It's no secret that a penchant for wine can become an expensive hobby. If you're just getting into the idea, don't waste your time or money with the extremely pricey bottles. A good place to start looking for decent bottles of wine is somewhere between the $10 and $30 price range. This will keep you from buying something too low quality without breaking your bank in the process.

Read the Labels Closely

A good bottle of wine will often give tasting notes right on the bottle. Because everyone's palette is different, you may not get the same notes when you try the wine, but it's a good place to start. Choose something with tasting notes that you already enjoy like berries or cocoa and try to see if you get any hints of that as you drink. The labels may also tell you about the wine's acidity, or how tart it is, and the wine's body, or the way it feels in your mouth.

A beginner's guide to picking a bottle of wine can only go so far without being overwhelming. The next part of your wine journey will need to be undertaken on your own. Try various types of wine and see what tastes best to you—that's what wine is really all about.

Distillery tours went on hiatus in 2020, but there are high hopes for 2021. While bourbon leaps immediately to mind when thoughts turn to distillery tours, interest in other spirits and how they're made is increasing. Here are a few of the best tours to thrill tequila lovers.

Tequila Herradura

Ride in style on the Herradura Express, a distillery sponsored train ride that runs from Guadalajara to the town of Amatitán for a distillery tour and tastings, followed by lunch featuring live entertainment. The train then takes visitors back to Guadalajara by evening. Herradura is housed in the last tequila-producing Hacienda in the world, Hacienda San Jose del Refugio. Casa Herradura will be closed for visits and tours until Mexican health officials declare the coronavirus emergency over.

La Rojeña

Producer of Jose Cuervo, La Rojeña has a train of its own called the Jose Cuervo Express (currently on hiatus due to COVID-19) to bring visitors to the oldest distillery in the town of Tequila. Jose Cuervo offers distillery tours, tastings, and tours of the agave fields. Mundo Cuervo (Cuervo world) also has its own hotel, Solar de las Animas. Check for COVID-19 hours and restrictions before booking.

Casa Sauza

Founded in 1873, Casa Sauza offers four levels of tours including a visit to the La Perseverancia distillery, a visit to the Quinta Sauza estate, and for those willing to spend more, barrel tastings and a barbeque or a three-course meal. Casa Sauza is on hiatus until COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, but should go on the distillery tour bucket list.

La Cofradia

The only tequila distillery with a hotel inside, La Cofradia offers many experiences in addition to distillery tours. Choose a hike through natural trails, biking, or horseback riding through the agave fields. Rooms made of giant tequila barrels sit among the agave plants for a unique stay. Visiting La Cofradia is sure to be a tour that thrills tequila lovers. Contact the hotel directly for information about lockdown closures.

A distillery tour offers education about tequila's history and manufacture. Bone up on your tequila terms and tips for choosing quality tequila before you go, so you'll understand what you're tasting.

We don't know how to feel about winter this year. Sure, nobody likes the cold and dreary months, but there's something special about the Holiday season that just seems to be missing. Maybe the thought of staying inside and cozying up to a nice book isn't very enticing given the last few months. The joyful winter wonderland that we usually associate with winter seems to be missing.

That's why our editors decided to take it upon themselves and spread some delight with seasonal meals, courtesy of HelloFresh. For those who don't know what HelloFresh is, it's a meal-kit delivery service with dozens of easy-to-prepare recipes to choose from. Simply select which meals you want as well as how many servings and a neatly organized cardboard box will arrive at your doorstep within the week. Nobody wants to go out in the Winter anyway, and with HelloFresh, you don't have to!

To celebrate the arrival of the coldest season, we decided to highlight some of our favorite (and heartiest) recipes from HelloFresh that are perfect for the Holiday season. Here are five wholesome and balanced meals that will warm you up in no time.

Veggie Loaded Kale & Risoni Soup

A hearty and warm soup is a Winter staple and this veggie loaded kale and risoni soup from HelloFresh absolutely hits it out of the park. All anybody wants during the colder months is to feel cozy and nurtured--just like the flavorful bowl of nutrients. Warm and creamy risoni compliments the seasonal veggies perfectly and the side of garlic bread is a sure-fire cure for any winter blues. With 22 meals to pick from each week, this one is sure to be a household favorite.

Cheesy Red Pesto Chicken Melts

Everyone is familiar with classic green pesto, but have you ever tried red pesto? Red pesto offers way more complexity and oomph than its green counterpart. It is incredibly bright with rich notes of umami, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh basil and garlic. This rendition also features hits of chargrilled capsicum for a little extra zest. You get the exact amount of each ingredient and seasoning, as well as super detailed recipe cards, that make meal prep a breeze. Spread it over a glistening chicken bread and sprinkle with cheese for delectable chicken melts.

Winter Risotto

Risotto is a great winter warmer. It's packed full of veggies so your body will light up like fire, but it's also silky, sumptuous and a real crowd pleaser. HelloFresh's Winter Risotto features a heart helping of kale that pairs perfectly with nutty Parmesan and crunchy walnuts for a robust taste. Did we mention that it also comes with fennel seeds sprinkled throughout? This unique seasoning adds a distinctive, yet delicious flavor to this classic winter staple. We know these meals are pretty hardy, which is why we love having the option to pause our subscription or cancel a week when need be.

Cheat's Italian Pork & Veggie Bolognese

A bolognese that only takes 30 minutes to make? Sign us up! This one is chock full of all the rich flavors of a classic Italian sauce. In fact, we're getting some serious Italian grandmother vibes with this recipe. Silky baby Spanish and grated carrots melt into a hearty meat sauce, offering a mouth-watering meal for anyone looking for a little zest. It's delivery quality, but much more affordable, plus you get to cook it yourself!

Smokey Mild Chorizo & Bean Chilli

Yet another clever twist on a weekday favorite! The paprika and garlic flavored cured sausage is a staple in our chopping baskets since it goes well with practically anything. Not only is Chorizo loved for its taste, but also for its ability to infuse sauces with its tantalizing flavor. This time around, HelloFresh has decided to spice up a classic bowl of bean chili with Spanish styling of a smokey mild chorizo. The end result? A mix of chorizo, red kidney beans, corn and avocado, and an irresistible flavor that everyone will love. This is just one of dozens of unique HelloFresh recipes you won't find anywhere else!

Gone are the days of trekking through the frigid cold just for a few groceries. Sign-up for HelloFresh today and get your ingredients delivered right to your doorstep. Time to start cozying up the right way, with a delicious meal and a nice cup of hot cocoa.

Update: Our friends at HelloFresh are extending a special Black Friday offer to our readers. Follow this link to get $90 off across 4 boxes including free shipping!