From the Road: New York State of Mind

Books, film, music and TV have collectively been in a head-over-heels love affair with Long Island for more than a century.

It is no wonder, given her stark beauty, sunny personality and charismatic charm during the summer months — especially along the Gold Coast and North Fork regions and on Shelter Island, away from the high-season bustle of the Hamptons.

Ready to fall in love, too?

The Gold Coast

The well-heeled, waterfront cities of East and West Egg that F. Scott Fitzgerald brought to life page by page in “The Great Gatsby” were fictional.

Or were they?

It turns out that the Gold Coast inspired Fitzgerald’s epic backdrop for much of the novel, notably the scenes at waterfront mansions and parties.

Today, the Gold Coast offers something for Hollywood and history buffs alike: several mansion and garden tours open to the public. Among them are Sands Point Preserve and its three spectacular and storied properties on the grounds in Falaise, Hempstead House and Castle Gould; Oheka Castle, which recently appeared in Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” music video and “Succession”; and Old Westbury Gardens, a 200-acre manor that eagle-eyed HBO fans will recognize from “The Gilded Age” and “Sex and the City.”

Old Westbury Gardens

As adventurous as austere, the Gold Coast is also the perfect home base for those who love water sports. Gold Coast Water Sports offers dayboat and yacht charters for hours, days or even longer, as well as packages that pair guests with captained watercraft for wake surfing, tubing, water skiing and more. 

After a day exploring historic grounds or jetting along the Atlantic with friends, there is even a sneaky-fun watering hole beloved by visitors and locals alike in Six Harbors Brewing Company, a micro-brewery awash in nautical accents known for its Blueberry Wheat Ale, Doc’s Pear Cider, and Wölffer Estates Summer in the Bottle. Of course, fine dining is a specialty along the Gold Coast as well, with award-winning dining destinations, including Cipollini Trattoria and Bar, Matteo’s Ristorante, Limani, Waterzooi, and OHK Bar and Restaurant, which is inside the Oheka Castle.

Sands Point Preserve

The North Fork

A wine country in the heart of Long Island. Who knew?

The North Fork is home to more than 60 vineyards and wineries as well as farms and craft distilleries, many of which delight in opening their doors and entertaining during the summer months with live music, food pairings and small-town laid-back hospitality. Jason’s Vineyard has long been heralded for its live music, taking particular pride in showcasing local talent several days a week in the summer months. Paumanok Vineyards is a must for any foodie as it offers flights, glasses and bottles paired with fully composed plates, build-your-own charcuterie boards, and several sweets. And then, Harbes Family Farm & Vineyard welcomes wine tasting while exploring its eight-acre farm with the family. Now, through Labor Day, the farm also hosts a festival that honors everything from sweet corn and peaches to sunflowers and watermelon nearly every weekend. Other musts when it comes to wine tasting include Lieb Cellars, whose wines are served across New York’s finest eateries; modern-yet-rustic Macari Wines; and chic Sparkling Pointe, which dazzles with glowing chandeliers and all things sparkling wine.

Between sips, make time to visit Lavender by the Bay while on the North Fork. This farm boasts 20 varieties of English lavender in white, pale blue, pink, purple, light purple and dark purple, all starting to bloom by mid-May. It also has fields of mesmerizing stark purple French lavender, which reach their peak in July.

Finally, whether with kids or not, the Long Island Aquarium, which resides in Riverhead (also known as the gateway to the North and South Forks), is worth the visit for the sheer volume of behind-the-scenes and interactive experiences, including a full-scale shark dive, snorkeling adventures and a host of interactive encounters with penguins, sea lions and even bugs.

Shelter Island Ferry

Shelter Island

Nestled between the North and South Fork is this stunning 27-square-mile island, which is only accessible via the ferry or by boat. If coming from North Fork, the journey is a breeze as there is a constant ferry, but there are also transportation options from the busy South Fork, also known as the Hamptons. Ferries from both Forks accommodate walk-on travelers as well as cars.

Here, it is all about stark, natural beauty in all its splendor. Hiking and birdwatching are exceptional on the island, and the beaches offer a respite from the daily grind of the traditional day. There are four public beaches on the island from which to choose: Crescent Beach, which offers kayak and paddleboard rentals; Wades Beach, which has ample lifeguards and picnic areas; and Menhaden and Shell Beach, which are the quietest, most serene options for those looking to take a stroll, read a book or meditate in tranquility.

Shelter Island is also a foodie area on the rise thanks to the likes of Pridwin Bar & Restaurant, Sunset Beach Restaurant and Bar, 18 Bay, SALT Waterfront Bar & Grill, and Vine Street Cafe.

Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa

Choosing a comfortable home base with ample amenities is key when planning a trip to explore the diverse regions of Long Island. Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa — the sister resort to Sanctuary Camelback Mountain, to give an idea of what to expect — is a perfect option.

The sprawling resort boasts seaside rooms, suites, cottages, full-scale residences and a private club along 2,000 feet of private beach. During the summer months, bikes are available for complimentary guest use, and the outdoor firepits come alive at night with an al fresco dining option for the ages. Gurney’s Montauk is also home to North America’s only true thalassotherapy spa, using properties from the sea — minerals, seaweed, algae and even mud — for all major therapies, and it boasts casual, fine dining and private culinary options focused on showcasing the locality and seasonality of the summer’s bounty.

For more information, visit

About Alison Bailin Batz

Alison Bailin Batz, best-known as @abseesitall online, is a freelance travel, food, and wine writer as well as an award-winning public relations executive based in Phoenix. Her passion is to “see it all” and share it all with the world.
More in: Magazine, Travel

From Frontdoors Magazine

Back to Top