Fall in New York State can be such a magical time. From the punishing summer heat, temperatures simmer down to just the right level where the air is pleasantly fresh and crisp, and you can run around all day with a wisp of a sweater and never break a sweat. On one such gorgeous weekend, we escaped to the North Fork to enjoy New York in all its autumn glory.
We stayed over the weekend but if you only have a day, I recommend starting with a lovely brunch at the dollhouse-like Jedediah Hawkins Inn. Built in 1863 and painstakingly restored to its present charming state, the property includes a boutique hotel, a top-notch restaurant, and even a speakeasy. It would have been nice to have brunch in their pretty garden but there was an event when we arrived so we had to be content with dining inside, which was not a terrible compromise. We agreed that the dining area was reminiscent of the second floor of Ladurée on Champs-Élysées—elegant, a shade old-fashioned but somehow cozy at the same time. I couldn't resist indulging in the amaretto french toast, served with fresh whipped cream and baked in-season apples. So delightful!
The North Fork is known for its many wineries (see my extensive rundown over at Discoverue), but since I had a European on driving duty, we decided to limit our boozing to just one spot. We chose Shinn Estate Vineyards and had a nice time sitting outdoors and trying their different reds. My favorite was the reasonably priced and playfully named Wild Boar Doe (get it??). I've been to the North Fork at other times of the year but I have to say, it's at its most gorgeous in the fall when the vines are lush and grapes ripe for the picking.
For all my planning, the most memorable part of our weekend ended up being at a farm that we just happened to pass on the road: Bay View Farm Market. They have a large open air market with stacks of colorful produce and the scent of freshly grilled corn emanating from the back. I've stopped here before to walk through strawberry fields. This time, it was the stunning fields of blooming sunflowers that drew us. That sight alone was worth the trip.
Autumn in New York is a beautiful but all-too-fleeting time. If you haven't done so yet, get out there and enjoy New York at its loveliest!