I will confess, I have never been to the Hamptons. Not once in all my life long years as a New Yorker. When we think of Long Island beaches, we usually head to Robert Moses or Jones Beach as it’s a quick drive from my parents’ house, but when we want to spend a day tootling around the island for some peace and quiet, we head to the North Fork. It’s kind of like the anti-Hamptons and it might just be one of our favorite places to go. Things are quiet out here. Yes, you might hit some traffic as there really is only one main road going all the way to the end until there is no more land, but by and large there are less people on the North Fork as there is on the south. There are a ton of farms and farm stands, wineries, and places to picnic. The one challenging thing is to find a public access beach as many of the parking lots are by permit only for residents and house-renters, but it’s not impossible. And when you do, it’s not unusual to have the entire beach to yourself.
We haven’t been back to the beach by the house we rented since we stayed on the North Fork 4 years ago in 2009. This was before we were going to Seattle every August, so it does stand out as the year we spent August a little differently. Claudine doesn’t remember the house at all, nor anything else from that summer, but it did make a strong impression on Mia and she talks about it now and again. We did a lot of fruit picking and farm visiting and when I think back to that summer, I think of the lavender fields; I can almost smell them again.
One of my favorite memories was stumbling on a boat race on our last evening there and meeting some of the town people who live there year round. While in town this last weekend, we visited the fish market where we would often buy fresh seafood for our dinners. Mark picked up some oysters and bay scallops and we recreated one of our favorite dishes from that trip for dinner that night.