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I wish you could smell it, but for now, photos will have to do. Part of my Cross Sound Ferry trip to the North Fork of Long Island was a visit to the absolutely heavenly Lavender by the Bay. I have always dreamed of visiting a lavender farm, and this lived up to every expectation I had.

Lavender by the Bay grows both English and French lavender and allows visitors to wander along paths in their gorgeous fields. The farm is located near many great North Fork wineries, and across from Sep’s, a farm you also must visit.

Lavender by the Bay

Lavender by the Bay

Lavender by the Bay lavender North Fork of Long Island

lavender fields in Long Island lavender lavender fields lavender lavender drying lavender In addition to the outdoor beauty at Lavender by the Bay, an adorable farm store welcomes visitors and features all sorts of items including dried lavender, baking lavender, soaps, lavender honey (delicious in a gin and tonic), and more.

We were warmly welcomed by the farm’s owner and received our own lavender bunches, complete with instructions for drying, to bring home. Thanks to this excursion, I am typing this blog post surrounded by the beautiful smell of dried lavender, which reminds me completely of my nana. It’s such a good memory to have!

If you are visiting the North Fork of Long Island, definitely add a visit to Lavender by the Bay to your itinerary. Even if the lavender isn’t in bloom, all it leaves behind will still be worth visiting for.

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Tags: lavender, Long Island, Long Island wine country, North Fork, Travel, travel blog, travel blogger, Travel Tuesday

Tucked into the Greenport, NY waterfront down Bootleg Alley  is the cutest little oyster shack you’ve ever seen. Little Creek Oysters was part of the incredible itinerary on my North Fork press trip a couple of weeks ago, which started on the Cross Sound Ferry and with a trip to Sep’s Farmstand. Greenport is an adorable seaside town, perfect for  getaway, with tons of shopping and eating, in addition to plenty of lovely waterfront for wandering. You’ll want to make Little Creek Oysters part of your Greenport itinerary too.

Little Creek Oysters

The building itself has a fun history. It began as the wheelhouse of a whaling ship that was eventually cut off and brought ashore in 1880. After spending time as a gathering place for the men who worked the sea, it became a bait and tackle shop and is now home to Little Creek Oysters, who have kept the iconic bait and tackle sign.

Little Creek Oysters

The oyster shack features eclectic nautical decor in a bright, cozy little space with the influence of oysters on just about everything.

Little Creek Oysters

There’s plenty of gift shopping to be done; our group left with all sorts of new items, including oyster shucking platforms, shucking knives and gloves, and my favorite, branded little glasses, perfect for a cold beer on a hot summer day.

joy

Little Creek Oysters

Little Creek Oyster While we browsed and learned all about Little Creek Oysters from co-owner Rosalie Rung, oystermen dropped off fresh deliveries off local oysters. Josh Clauss hauled in bags of Harvest Moon oysters; it doesn’t get much fresher than that!        

Greenport oysters  

Long Island wine

Rosalie had set a beautiful table for us, complete with wine from local winery Bedell Cellars, perfectly iced on the very hot day.

oyster menu The table setting also including Holy Schmitt’s horseradish from Riverhead, NY and small batch A & B pepper sauce, which we learned, were both delicious for topping oysters.

oyster accompaniments

Cold glasses of wine were poured, and we tucked into steaming bowls of homemade clam chowder, one of the offerings on the simple menu at Little Creek Oysters.

Bedell Cellars wine  

Rich with plump local clams and in a creamy but light broth, the chowder hit the spot. Rosalie explained that, unlike the chowder we might be used to in New England, this was made without flour, so the broth is a little thinner. It was the perfect start to a sea-kissed afternoon of oyster shucking.

clam chowderConfession: I had never shucked an oyster before. My husband has done it for us a few times at home, but we mostly go out for oysters. I was a little nervous but also excited to have Rosalie’s expertise as we learned together, some of us novices and others seasoned shuckers.

oyster shucking These wooden platforms definitely helped to stabilize the oyster and to provide leverage for prying open the shell. We dug into buckets of iced oysters from Peconic Bay, donning our shucking gloves and knives for a delicious lesson.

oysters  

Little Creek Oysters Shucking oysters seems simpler than it is, at least for me. At first I had some trouble getting the knife into the hinge, but I got the hang of it and proudly opened about six oysters, which I slurped down with horseradish or hot sauce.

oysters I’m a lover of small, briny oysters, and these definitely fit the bill. They were delightfully salty, like kissing the sea, and the act of shucking made for a ton of laughs and camaraderie in the group.

oyster

shucking oysters

Empty bottles of wine and empty oyster shells soon graced the table, making for a fun contrast to the way it looked on our arrival; clearly we went to work on things!

Little Creek oyster is the perfect spot for getting together with a group of friends, a bucket of oysters, and some Long Island beer or wine for a tasty day by the sea. There’s no need to be intimidated; Rosalie and her husband Ian are happy to help you learn to shuck, a skill that is a gift that keeps on giving. Oyster and wine lovers definitely don’t want to miss out on this exceptional coastal living experience.

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Tags: coastal living, Long Island. food, North Fork, oysters, Travel, travel blog

The North Fork of Long Island is one of my favorite places. (Do I say that a lot? I might do, but there are a bunch of places that I really love and can visit over and over again. They include Galway, Sonoma, Provincetown, Puerto Rico, and most definitely the North Fork.)

The North Fork is not just beautiful, with farmland and vineyards rolling down to the sea, but it offers an abundance of local food from land and sea, great shopping, and warm and welcoming people. Last week, I once again had the opportunity to hop aboard a Cross Sound Ferry in New London for a press trip to this magical little spit of land. The trip reminded me that the North Fork is a pretty easy getaway from Boston, especially on a weekday. Whether you drive or take Amtrak, getting to the ferry is easy and takes about an hour and forty minutes. A car ferry option is available, but this time around we took the car-free fast ferry and were met by Jo-Ann Perry from Vintage Tours, which is a great option if you don’t feel like driving around while visiting wineries.  Jo-Ann was absolutely fabulous to spend the day with, and you can learn about personalized North Fork winery tours here.

The second you leave the ferry parking lot in Orient Point, you are blessed with the most beautiful scenery, including the sea and wide open spaces. Our first stop was Sep’s Farm for a tour and tasting.

strawberries

 

rhubarb

 

Sep's Farm, North Fork

Sep’s Farm and farm stands around Long Island are favorites of locals and visitors and a must-stop for all of your local fruit and vegetable needs while visiting. The farm goes back five generations and is family-owned and operated. The produce on the farm stand was absolutely gorgeous and made me want to fill baskets to bring home as sides for a buttery lobster dinner.

carrots

sunflowers

radshes

After some time for photo ops at the farm stand, Eric, the son of the farm’s owner, showed us around the farm, including taking time to stop in the tool shed to view some of the historic farm photos and tools. This place could seriously be a farming museum and provides a great peek into the Sep’s Farm of years past.

Sep's Farm history

farm tools

horseshoe

Sep's Farm tunnels  Sep’s Farm is as much a part of the past as it is moving into the future, applying for and receiving grants that make them able to do an even better job at growing delicious local food. They recently received a grant that allowed them to build eight foot tall fences to keep out white tailed deer, which are plentiful on the North Fork and who like to eat the produce as much as we do. They also have been granted funds for these high tunnels, which allow them to start the growing season earlier, and funding for underground water mains, which save water and fuel and are also better for irrigating the crops as water at the roots rather than the leaves helps plants to avoid disease.

farm spread Before we headed out to the fields, we were treated to a beautiful spread put out by Eric’s mother Katie, which featured some prepared foods made by friend Robert Seaman for the farm, using the produce they grow. We sampled some to-die-for treats like pickled asparagus and zucchini pickles, along with a yummy homemade mustard, tomatoes and mozzarella, and mulled beets, all in agreement that these items are sure to be popular at the farm stand.

pickled asparagus I could eat these zucchini pickles all day and was thrilled to find a jar in the very generous gift bag we received at the end of the day.

zucchini pickles

tractor

I love tractors. If it wasn’t a press trip, I would have made sure to get a photo on it.

cadillac weeds

After our picnic, we went out into the fields to see what was growing, soaking up the summer sun and getting a little dusty as we explored and checked on the progress of the vegetables. The above flowers are just weeds, but I thought they were so pretty. Bees loved them too!

Below is a type of broccoli next to some kale. All of the vegetables were way ahead of my garden, and it made me wish I had started everything indoors much earlier. Planning for next year already!

broccoli

Sep's Farm

Our group absolutely loved visiting Sep’s Farm, and I could have and would have been happy to stay all day to work on the farm. The city girl in me has definitely taken a back seat to the country girl, and I feel like as I get older I’ll be craving experiences like this farm visit even more often.

Thanks for having us, Sep’s Farm!

Other posts on my past visits to the North Fork of Long Island:

Kontokosta Winery

Cross Sound Ferry to the North Fork

Harbes Farm

Touring and tasting at Bedell Cellars

Greenport, New York

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Tags: farms, farmstand, Long Island, North Fork, summer, Travel, travel blog

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