Natty Adventures on the North Fork, LI

Written for HERE by AWAY TRAVEL. See published version here, unabridged version below.

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Sometimes it’s hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that Brooklyn and the Hamptons both exist on Long Island. So close, and yet practically worlds apart. Keep driving up, up, north and west and you’ll find what is arguably the true treasure of Long Island. A tiny seaside town where nautical stripes, beards and somaliers are all welcome. Where if you’re a local, everybody knows your name. But if you’re not, you can remain deliciously anonymous.

A seaside motel may not be the obvious choice for Thanksgiving weekend, and yet that’s exactly where my boyfriend and I spent ours. The 4 day weekend allowed us a rare chance for a road trip but it was the promise of a holiday feast cooked by James Beard Award Winning chef, Galen Zamarra that really got us drooling. I’ve long been a fan of chef Zamarra’s farm to table cooking at some of Manhattan’s finest restaurants like Mas (Farmhouse). So when I heard that he was spearheading The Haylard, a new hyper local restaurant at the “brand new” Soundview Inn in Greenport, Long Island, I couldn’t wait until summer to get up there and give it a try.  


To be factual, the Soundview isn’t technically brand new. The waterfront property was built in 1953, and underwent a complete renovation last winter creating 45 luxury suites. Besides comfort, the Soundview was committed to improving the sustainability of the hotel and also protecting the wildlife during the renovations. They updated the existing structure with improved insulation in the walls, recycled flooring, more efficient water heaters and even installed solar panels to fuel their electricity. And to think, all I noticed was the large format bath and body products by eco-friendly Malin and Goetz.

Driving through small towns and miles of farmland, we reached the discreet building perched upon a rocky beach just as the sun sunk on the horizon. We felt as though we’d arrived at the ends of the earth or at least the coast of Normandy, rather than the end of Long Island. Bundled up in slouchy sweaters we quickly changed into slightly less slouchy sweaters and walked over to the Haylard in time for the big feast. Given the November chill, the nautically themed room full of giant windows felt confusing at first and I was tempted to order oysters and rose. In fact we did get oysters … Rockefeller, plus a bluefish salad because we couldn’t resist the local seafood that The Haylard is known for. But then... a pumpkin soup so velvety I found it hard to share, a mountain of (free-range) turkey juicy enough to put anyone’s bird to shame AND the flakiest, tastiest short ribs I’ve ever had in my life. Because; Thanksgiving. And in the spirit of supporting local goods, we obviously had to sample plenty of the North Fork’s wonderful wines.

The next days were spent tasting more of that local wine at the stunning Kontokosta winery, shopping in Greenport’s nearby village and brunching at Bruce and Son’s. In the evening, we watched the sun’s descent over the ocean from our private porch. We ate yet another dose of those mouth-watering short ribs while listening to jazz in the Piano Bar. Eventually, we snuggled under a fluffy down duvet to let the waves lull us to sleep. With so much to be grateful for, I could not imagine a better way to spend Thanksgiving…or any fall weekend for that matter.

You'll like it here if

…you like tranquility.

You'll know you're on Long Island because

…the ocean is all around.

The crowd is

… hip and relaxed.

Pro tip

Pack your leggings, there’s an ocean facing gym and yoga on the property!