North Fork Fun

A Weekend In Paradise by the Truckload

Photography by TalismanPHOTO for GMC

For those of you who are like me, that is to say very happy when I’m already near the end of Long Island but always hate to get there, hopefully, this article will inspire you. I love the North Fork as well as the South Fork of Long Island because they offer such a large diversity of things to do whether it’s dining, clubbing, sunning, boating… the activities are endless. I’m constantly reminding myself that I should go more often while I’m there. It is so pleasant and I always feel rested, reinvigorated and inspired. I was recently given the chance to explore this hard to get to paradise from a slightly different platform than I was used to. We all know the different ways to get to the forks of “The Isle of Long” which explains why we dread the trek. There is the pedestrian Hamptons Jitney, which drops you off on the edge. There is a train, but I believe it’s just a myth. There is an amphibious plane or helicopter and several ferries. Or you drive and try to avoid rush hour traffic. I was not expecting to be so surprised by the outcome of this experience. We were loaned a 2020 GMC Sierra Denali pickup for the weekend jaunt to the North Fork and what a joy it was. This was a contractor’s dream with the newly designed double-hinged tailgate that offers many variations even fit for tailgating with built-in speakers and seat, but rides like a car.  Not to mention the wifi hot spot option which offers speeds of connectivity faster than my own home connection given that we were close to “The End” of LI for most of the trip. With all the amenities I can easily picture comfortably driving a trailer with my wife’s mythical precious phillies down from the Rockies while she orchestrates her business on the internet.

The GMC Sierra North Fork Getaway, featuring the MultiPro tailgate, Friday, September 27, 2019 in Greenport, New York. (Photo by TalismanPHOTO for GMC)

Our first stop on the trip was a favorite vineyard Matabella, named after the owner’s two children Matthew and Isabella. A family-run concern specializing in Chardonnay both oaked and steel cask. It was a luscious sunny fall day and what better way to start it off than in a lovely wine garden with a large selection of isolated places to sip in and enjoy some of the local cheeses. Owned by Christine and Mark Tobin, we were greeted by Christine in her ever-present muck boots as she explained the wide varieties of flowers and how they had been planted to draw in insects like the migrating Monarch butterflies.

The odyssey continued into Greenport the main town in the all-in compassing town of Southold, which has several boutique hotels like The Gallery Hotel which sports an eclectic inventory of mid-century modern design and a tiki bar.  Originally a whaling settlement the town during Prohibition was known for its many Speakeasies because the locals could outmaneuver the coast guard. Speakeasies appear to have been in most of the local establishments and Claudio’s our choice for a brief light chowder was no exception to the rule.

The GMC Sierra North Fork Getaway, featuring the MultiPro tailgate, Thursday, September 26, 2019 in Greenport, New York. (Photo by TalismanPHOTO for GMC)

After a nice stroll through the many shops in town, we headed to our digs at the Sound View Hotel a redesigned mid-century motel on route 25 on the water. Aptly named the sunset there is magnificent! After a nice afternoon on the porch overlooking the water we drove 15 minutes south to Jamesport’s Jedidah Hawkins, a spectacular farm to table restaurant and inn built in 1863 for a fabulous meal and quick tour of their own personal speakeasy in the basement. The grounds are filled with gazebos hung with wisteria and fountains and the food was outstanding with a broad variety of seafood, land fare and produce all locally sourced. It was explained to us that Jedidah was part of the Underground Railroad and that the inn served as a stop on the way North.

The GMC Sierra North Fork Getaway, featuring the MultiPro tailgate, Friday, September 27, 2019 in Greenport, New York. (Photo by TalismanPHOTO for GMC)

On the following day after a peaceful sleep with quite full bellies we were invited to surf cast off the back of our shiny new vehicle literally on Orient Point. I was a little apprehensive to take this beauty down a pothole-infested dirt road to “The End” but it was hardly a challenge as we backed into the rocky sand incline of the beach. The height of the truck bed enabled us to surf cast, and the composite liner, which could withstand a category three hurricane gave us a fine platform to fish from. Many fish were caught that day and the truck pulled us effortlessly away from the sand and mud. After a good fishing workout, we decided that another vineyard was a good idea and headed to Shinn Estates a small 22-acre concern that’s main objective is to produce less of a higher quality grape with a very small carbon footprint. This organic process is highly work-intensive in that they leave the grasses and weeds but trim them on a daily basis so that they do not overtake the vines while leaving the natural surroundings in place. All of the vines are thinned by hand leaving only the best grapes on the vine for the upcoming harvest. They produce an organic wine with no use of pesticides or unnatural fertilizer specializing in Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc. We enjoyed lunch with Shinn’s winemaker, Patrick in their barrel room It was harvest time, and we were taught the proper way to carefully snip grapes from the vines and eventually stomp the grapes in the “carbonfiber” bed of our truck. I was apprehensive at first but once your feet are in the bucket it’s just down and dirty fun and it was only made better by tasting the efforts of our labor. Absolutely delicious, their Cab Franc reserve and oaked chardonnay were impeccable. After we stomped, we were invited to view how easy it was to hitch a trailer. The driver while hitching the trailer is presented with several rearview cameras which help to guide the truck effortlessly. A check list is also provided as well. There is no forgetting what needs to be done making the frightening process of hooking a trailer nearly flawless.

The GMC Sierra North Fork Getaway, featuring the MultiPro tailgate, Friday, September 27, 2019 in Greenport, New York. (Photo by TalismanPHOTO for GMC)

 After the vinyard we meandered our way back to the hotel by the sea and planned to dine at The Halyard, the Sound View’s restaurant helmed by James Beard award-winning chef Galen Zamarra. A fabulous choice, we started with raw oysters, the locally sourced Shinnecock sea scallops served over wild rice with chanterelle mushrooms and corn with a hint of truffle were outstanding, as were the handcrafted cocktails. We even ordered dessert, which we rarely do. The evening continued by a bonfire on the beach where we kicked back on the bed of the pick-up on an a custom made air-mattress enjoying the star filled evening with some local wine and smores. We capped off our evening at the piano bar for a few songs and a lovely evening sleep.

The GMC Sierra North Fork Getaway, featuring the MultiPro tailgate, Friday, September 27, 2019 in Greenport, New York. (Photo by TalismanPHOTO for GMC)

Awaking to the sounds of the ocean, with a sad feeling that we were headed back to reality or home as we call it but, first a little more adventure. We decided that brunch at Bruce and Son in Greenport was the best course of action and after packing up our truck, we headed out. The menu offers a variety of items making it hard to choose but I settled on the avocado toast, which was more like an avocado toast benedict topped with Reggiano cheese. However, I was told later that the savory mushroom oatmeal was one of the most surprising things on the menu. I guess I’ll have to go back?

We said our goodbyes and made our way to the ferries, through Shelter Island, to Sag Harbor for a little more fun before we went home. Finding our way to the bustling Baron’s Cove Inn for a late afternoon glass of rosé, while listening to a local band play on their patio overlooking the water. The GMC Serra Denali made all the difference for time we spent on the forks. Although we could have fit so much more into our plan, I think it’s best to not overdo it and plan to go back. There is always room for more adventure! ¨

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