Summer may be in the rearview mirror, but don’t expect people to stop trucking down to the North Fork. Pumpkins, apples, harvest fests, farms and foliage make it easy to fall head over heels for autumn on the North Fork. When you head North at the Fork in search of simpler times, soon-to-be-award-winning wines and the Great Pumpkin, make a pitstop or three at these favorite places for North Fork fall fun.
Cooperage Inn, Baiting Hollow
Nestled in wine country, Cooperage Inn’s country-style dining room, complete with small candlelit tables and Victorian mirrors, epitomizes the quaint NoFo look. The grand country Sunday brunch buffet, where guests can pile pancakes as high as a pie in the sky, epitomizes delicious. On Saturdays and Sundays from Sept. 9-Oct. 29, Cooperage Inn will host its 19th annual fall festival. The outdoor concert series will bring bands like Rhythm Kings (Sept. 10 and Oct. 29) and Slingshot (Sept. 17 and Oct. 28) to the East End. Phone: 631-727-8994 | Address: 2218 Sound Ave. Click to taste
The Wine Trail
Rosé season will give way to bolder reds that pair perfectly with pizzas and tapas. Several North Fork wineries are serving food along with vinos. Towards the Eastern end of the trail, Sparkling Pointe, recently named co-winery of the year at the 2017 New York Wine and Food Classic competition, is Long Island’s only winery focused on sparkling wine. Toast to autumn bounty over a plate of cheese, Tate’s Bake Shop cookies or truffles (or all three) in the tasting room that blends white walls, dazzling chandeliers and colorful art to perfection. Raphael sets the stage for an Italian escape from the moment guests see the Tuscan-style building’s exterior. Warning: After a few of Anthony Nappa’s famed Cabernet Francs and Merlots, you may actually think you are in Tuscany. Both complement the pizzas made with a red sauce you’d expect from an Italian establishment on the Island. Speaking of pizza, Diliberto makes one that smells as good as it tastes. Savor while sipping a 2014 Cantina, a well-balanced blend of 50 percent Merlot and 50 percent Cabernet Franc, grapes co-owner Sal Diliberto says do well on Long Island.
This Front Street restaurant is known for starting all the right conversations with locally-focused small plates and tastings. The crab-stuffed deviled egg, a tasting menu mainstay, is everything people rave about, while the beer & bacon glazed almonds are sticky and spice and everything nice. The restaurant’s large windows allow guests to soak in every bit of sunlight even as days grow shorter and the light green walls are as refreshing as a trip to Greenport. Phone: 631-477-6720 | Address: 136 Front St. Click to taste
Woodside Orchards, Aquebogue
The North Fork is home to several places to pick apples—look out for an updated guide later this month on lipulse.com—Woodside Orchard has an adult twist. It offers pints and growlers of a rotating list of hard ciders inside its small, wooden-accented tasting room. Phone: 631-722-5770 | Address: 729 Main Rd. Click to taste
Riverhead Ciderhouse, Calverton
This North Fork newcomer opened in March and has been hopping ever since. The spacious tasting room has a cafe with everything from salads to pizzas and a bar with beer, wine and ciders on tap. On a warm fall day, take it outside to the outdoor patio, which boasts nooks of plush lounge chairs made for group toasting and tasting. Phone: 631-591-0217 | Address: 2711 Sound Ave. Click to taste
North Fork Table & Inn, Southold
The cobblestone path to North Fork Table & Inn feels more like one into a humble abode than towards a restaurant with a James Beard Award nominated chef. But the unassuming, restrained look has always been part of the charm at this Southold spot, once owned by farm-to-table pioneer Gerry Hayden, who died of ALS last year. His one-time mentee, Stephan Bogardus, now serves as the chef. It’s still a laid-back spot—go ahead and wear jeans and big sweaters—and local ingredients are still emphasized. But Borgardus has put his own stamp on the menu, most notably allowing diners to order à la carte from three or five course tasting menus. The thinly sliced house-smoked Scottish Salmon, which comes with corn blini, makes for a delicious early-fall dish. Phone: 631-765-0177 | Address: 57255 Main Rd. Click to taste
North Fork Shack, Southold
This no-fuss eatery delivers straightforward fast casual meals in a rustic space replete with nautical accents. Buoys and waterfront photographs hang from blue walls and tables look as if they are made of driftwood. But it’s the food that really has people buzzing. The lamb pita is braised with Moroccan spices and so tender, even touching a fork is an insult, and the fish taco comes dressed in chipotle aioli that even the faint of heart can enjoy. Phone: 631-876-5566 | Address: 41150 County Rd. 48 Click to taste
Briermere Farms, Riverhead
When you’re heading West around 4pm and notice a traffic jam, it’s probably courtesy of Brieremere Farms. One forkful of the flaky, sweet apple pie and you’ll understand why the line is halfway to Greenport. Phone: 631-722-3931 | Address: 4414 Sound Ave. Click to taste
Check back throughout the fall for guides to apple and pumpkin picking and harvest season.