by Sue Giustino
Spring is here and many people have been immunized, but everyone is itching to get out and enjoy some well-deserved escape from ‘covid lockdown’. Although Montauk offers its own lovely choices for dining, memorable sunsets, MTK Brew, outdoor activities, and beaches, sometimes we just need to get away a bit.
Spring is the perfect time to be outdoors and both the North and South Forks of LI offer an array of shopping, dining, hiking, biking, beaching, small towns to explore, and food/beverage tasting opportunities. The seemingly never-ending list of wineries, breweries, and distilleries are all open and ready for business; many offering live music, tours, tastings, and a variety of food options.
One close get-away option is just a bit up island: Riverhead and the North Fork affords Long Islanders and other visitors numerous activities for the day or weekend.
Although there are many wonderful choices for micro-brew, Jamesport Brewery on Sound Avenue has become one of my favorite stops. They have a vast indoor or outdoor seating area with a food truck available for snacks. In addition to the large variety of brews, there are soft drinks, wine, cider, and cocktail choices for those non-beer drinkers.
Among the wonderful LI Wineries like Pindar and Wolfers, or our all-time favorite Borghese, we’ve recently visited a few that have made our list of favorites. Lieb Cellars and Shen Estate Vineyards are located a bit further north on Oregon. On the smaller side, they’re a quaint indoor/outdoor spot with delicious choices of wine and snacks. Another scenic spot is Clovis Point Winery also with lovely outdoor seating overlooking the vineyards. Finally, one of our more recent discoveries is Mattebella Vineyard; a bit further east on rt.25, but worth the trip. We enjoyed our visit there on a chilly February afternoon while sitting by a firepit, enjoying the view of the vines, and sipping on mulled wine.
While in Riverhead, the Hilton Garden Inn Riverhead and the Residence Inn by Marriott, located across from the Tanger Outlets, at the beginning of the North Fork- are perfect options for a quick or extended getaway. Surrounded by shops, restaurants, breweries, wineries, cooking classes, hiking trails and more, the two properties offer a variety of room types, indoor/outdoor pools, fitness center, restaurant and lounges, hot tubs and fire pits.
The Hilton Garden Inn…https://www.riverheadHGI.com has a restaurant- Long Island Fork– on premises and open daily from 5-10pm. In addition, there is a roomy bar, breakfast buffet and room service is available if you’d prefer not to leave your room.
The Residence Inn…https://www.Marriott.com/ISPRH next door has many amenities as well. Relax at the Loft Lounge and Bar for a craft beer, cocktail or a light bite, and enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast- now a grab and go bag with a variety of breakfast treats. With many Suite options to choose from, you can also enjoy a stay with your family or friends with all the comforts of home with none of the stress.
The suites at the Residence Inn are beautiful, extremely spacious- bigger than most NY studio apartments-and the layout is perfect; accommodating all of the amenities with lots of living space. There is a well equipped kitchen with a microwave, and efficiency sized stovetop, refrigerator and dishwasher. It’s perfect for a short visit or even for an extended stay.
Both properties are clean and welcoming. The lobby, hallways, and rooms have esthetically pleasing décor, and are also equipped with hand sanitizer and/or antiseptic wipes. The sitting lounges have been spaced with social distancing in mind; offering seating for small groups or individual quiet time.
The well landscaped outdoor areas with pools, hot tubs and fire pits offer space to gather at a safe distance. If you don’t want to head out to a restaurant, eating in your room is comfortable and convenient. Followed up by a relaxing venture out to the fire pit. On a cool evening, enjoying the night sky in big comfortable chairs, chatting with friends and sipping on a beverage, or enjoying uninterrupted family time, it doesn’t get much better.
Delightful experiences await for a relaxing weekend of your making; shopping, visiting wineries, a work-out in the gym, relaxing in the indoor or outdoor pool, sitting around hot tub or the fire pit, or even taking advantage of one of their packages.
Book a wine/ brewery tour [Ncastillo@browninghotels.com] with East End Wine Tour, or call for any current ‘shop and stay’ packages.
‘Rest Assured’, you will feel comfortable during your visit with the Elevated Cleaning Protocols at both properties: thoroughly disinfected surfaces, doors, elevators, rooms, public areas, and on their shuttle bus. Social distance seating is arranged in all public areas and fitness centers. Marriott Bonvoy or Hilton Honors members can use contactless and enhanced check-in/out. Of course, be sure to pack your mask to be used in all public areas of the hotels.
So get your loved one, family, or close covid-circle group and escape, relax, and enjoy a well-deserved change of scenery.