Southold on the North Fork of Long Island is the perfect weekend getaway

Southold on the North Fork of Long Island is the perfect weekend getaway

Southold on the North Fork of Long Island is the perfect weekend getaway

It’s not immediately clear why there is a mural of Albert Einstein in shorts on the wall of Einstein Square of the same name, in fact the outdoor area of ​​Southold General’s cafe and gourmet market in the town of that name on Long Island’s North Fork . But it seems the place has history, as does Southold itself, the hamlet listed as the oldest English settlement in New York State, dating back to 1640. Einstein discovered its quiet beauty, bordering both Long Island Sound to the north and Peconic Bay in the south and spent summers here in the late 1930s, sometimes playing the violin at the city’s music nights. He also shopped at Rothman’s Department Store, the building that is now Southold General, in the center of what has become a sophisticated, gastronomically elevated city as well as a breezy summer getaway.

A major contributor to its culinary stature is the presence of James Beard award-winning French pastry chef and chef Francois Payard, who previously operated Payard Patisserie in New York after staying with La Tour d’Argent and Lucas Carton in Paris and Le Bernardin and Restaurant Daniel in New York. Locals line up for their pastries at Southold General—almond and chocolate croissants, artisan muffins, peach and pear tarts—along with sandwiches like Black Angus steak and porchetta with broccoli rabe and fontina, and salads like a classic Niçoise, the most prepared from local ingredients. on June 10ehe opened a Southold Social restaurant on Main Road just past the cluster of shops geared towards locals with a menu to suit all tastes, including steamed mussels in a spicy marinara, black squid linguine with shrimp, parsley and lobster bisque, crispy half Marrakech chicken with raisins, olives, salted lemon and harissa and a lobster roll that gets its taste from pure lobster, not mayonnaise.

Guests staying at the casual 20-suite hotel The Shoals, which opened in May in an active marina on Peconic Bay, also have access to Payard’s creations. Breakfast served in the lounge overlooking the bay features prominently with a tray of croissants and muffins, and the hotel’s parked food truck offers a selection of local wines, Payard’s lobster roll and Niçoise salad. The hotel also has an agreement with Little Ram Oyster Company, located in an adjacent building and owned by Elizabeth Peeples and Stefanie Bassett, former New York City professionals who started oyster farming here four years ago. They do a tasting at The Shoals on Wednesday evenings and offer tours and peeling lessons. They’re worth checking out – it’s hard to imagine oysters being fresher and more vibrant than theirs.

Self-described as a “bootel,” The Shoals also has 20 slips that can be rented, giving guests the option of getting out into the bay by boat, and a 30 foot Chris-Craft speedboat that can be chartered to get around the bay or are dropped on nearby Shelter Island, several beaches, even Montauk, a 40 minute boat ride. The hotel also offers car and bike/walkable beach passes to the beaches in and around Southold Town (from Cutchogue to Greenport), including Goose Creek Beach, Founders Landing (best for kids), Kenney’s Road Beach, Horton Point Beach and City Beach .

When you’re not on or near the water, you can also explore the area’s farm stalls and wineries, along with other culinary stops. The hotel’s owners also own North Fork Table & Inn, where Chef John Fraser creates delicious dishes such as 8 Hands Farm grilled pork loin with flageolet bean stew and roasted Long Island duck with creamy polenta, roasted pearl onions and rhubarb compote. It also has its own food truck in the restaurant’s parking lot with choices such as a Smoke Heritage pork burger with bourbon mustard BBQ and sauerkraut, baked chicken with horseradish ranch coleslaw, and a choice of hot or cold lobster rolls with candied fennel, celery, salt, and chives .

Three miles away, just over the line in Greenport West, The Halyard overlooking Long Island Sound combines perfect sunset views from its outdoor patio with an absolutely delicious menu – I thought it was an excellent place to dine when I was there visited two years ago ; maybe it’s even better now. On the current menu: fluke, miso, yuzu and cucumber combine for a lively crudo as do the Hamachi sashimi, preserved radish and radish gastrique as starters. Equally tasty is the Atlantic yellowfin tuna with bok choy, marinated mushrooms and miso.

Back in Southold, guests can head to Southold Fish Market for lunch for dishes such as crispy BBQ salmon tacos or grilled striped sea bass with pickled red onion in a cumin-lime sauce and then the array of fish caught that morning to take home before dinner view . A stop at the About Food store to peruse and stock up on owner Gerard Lane’s offerings of spices and amenities will improve anyone’s cooking, he claims. There are oils, vinegars, chutneys, preserves, sauces, etc – some local, some international, some he makes himself, such as mustard with deli brown beer honey, French tarragon or Dijon. And then anyone returning home has to make another stop at Southold General across the street to pick up one of Francois Payard’s pastries as a reminder of breakfast for the next day.