I am contemplating a three night stay at the Islandia Marriott, using it as a base to visit other areas of Long Island.
I've started to look at the Long Island wineries and we are considering a tour of the Oheka Castle.
Any other must sees or suggestions on what to do on Long Island? Would a ride out to Montauk or Shelter Island be worth it in mid-March? Are there other quaint Long Island towns worth visiting?
Thanks in advance for the suggestions!
Could you send a "Direct message" to zukracer!
He knows that area very well, and may be able to help!
I live at the east end of the island, definitely let me know what your trip timelines and desires are and I can point you in the right direction. The property you mention is a nice one but perhaps not the ideal depending on what you want to do. I see wineries, etc in your list but perhaps if you can detail your timeline, what types of wines you like, what types of things you want to see.
For example the Courtyard (Hotels on Long Island, NY | Courtyard Long Island MacArthur Airport) at ISP has a shuttle to the train, which can run you out to Montauk, Hamptons, Greenport or even into the city. Not quite as nice as the Islandia but also has places to eat right there. The Residence Inn (Extended Stay Hotel | Residence Inn Long Island Holtsville by Marriott | an all-suites hotel on Long Island, New York minutes from Islip MacArthur airport (ISP) ) has a few dining options and shares the parking lot with a nice movie theater and is slightly farther east, in fact I think its the east most Marriott property. If you have a car, another option could be to hop the ferry over and see some of the sights in CT, RI.
As for Montauk and Shelter Island, yes March is a good time to visit. Its prior to the "silly season" and on a nice day offers all the same views, though some of the places might not be open for the season yet. Shelter Island is very nice, some great places out there and great architecture. If you are out that way, Greenport is worth a trip, Southold is a great option as well for dining. In fact, if you fancy a good meal with nice wine pairings, look up the North Fork Table, (nofoti.com) They use only locally sourced food and wine, have an amazing chef and I've never been disappointed with the food there. Its not cheap but IMHO its worth the money and time. Reservations are a must.
If you can let me know more about what you want to do I will certainly provide any info I can for you. There's 40+ wineries on the north fork alone, so you'll want to narrow your focus a little if you are stopping in but the drive around the area is beautiful.
Thanks for your reply. We will only be in Long Island for 3 nights / 4 days (Sat - Tues) so we likely won't venture over to CT / RI. Though a trip to Newport, RI is tempting!
Thanks for the information about properties. We will have our car and probably will want the ability to get around without using the LIR, but I will keep it in mind. I would prefer the FS Marriott. With a car do you think the location is OK?
I am thinking maybe a day trip up the North Fork (wineries and breweries) and then a day trip up the South Fork (Shelter Island, Montauk lighthouse, shopping). Does that seem reasonable? My wife enjoys sweet and semi-dry wines so any winery recommendations would be appreciated. We also enjoy wineries with a good atmosphere / nice tasting room.
Also, we would be interested in taking a house tour or two if they are open and not too far out of the way. It looks like Oheka Castle has good reviews and is open in March.
Thanks for the North Fork Table recommendation. Any other restaurants that you would recommend?
I'm working on a more composed reply for you, can you tell me where you are heading in from and out to when you come? By car or by air? Trying to help point out some options for you given the limited 4 days. There's some events on in the area wineries through 3/16 that might be fun for you just trying to sort out some suggestions based on how much of your arrival and departure days look
We will be heading in from central PA by car and hope to be on Long Island by 12 noon on Saturday. We will then have Sat - Tues, but will want to clear the NYC metro by 2 - 3 p.m. on Tuesday heading back to PA.
I did see the music events at the wineries and plan to compare those to any recommendations you may have.
Sorry for the delay in getting back to you the whole work life balance has been pegged on "work" entirely too much.
I was actually home this weekend and was able to get a few pics on the way out to the airport today so you can get an idea of what the wineries, at least the fields are looking like these days. They are towards the bottom of this post.
For your visit, I'm sure you've put some ideas together but here is my 2c worth.
Your full service property is at exit 58 from the LIE, its a good option if you want the full service property. You'll be driving anywhere and at least an 90mins most days to get out to "wine country" but its an easy drive and you really can't get but so lost
If you are coming in from PA, you'll want to either come across Staten Island(exit 13 from NJTP) or perhaps run up across the GW Bridge and into Long Island on the Cross Island Pkwy. The trick is timing. If you are around noon, I'd go SI vs GWB. If you are earlier then either can be good. I do tend to tune into the traffic channel on XM/Sirius radio to get an idea on which way to go. ALSO stop at the rest area on the NJTP that is around exit 10-11. This will be your last "easy" way to A) get gas and B) have a bio break. There are really no rest areas once you cross into NY and honestly its a pain to find a place along the way to your hotel. Your departure will be even more interesting for you. I'd recommend doing your tour of the Oheka Castle the morning you are heading out, if they are open. You'll want to be across the bridges by 2-230pm to avoid traffic. Unless you like driving in Manhattan, avoid the tunnels. Both take you right into mid town as part of the route. Can be fun at 5am, can suck the life out of you at noon
For the east end, you can slice it up a few different ways. If you are going all the way to Montauk, that's probably 3hrs from your hotel one way. Lots of cool things to see/do out there but its off season for sure. You'll want to scope it out if you were looking at a specific place to eat, many restaurants are not open yet full time. There's some great little towns on the way out (or back) you can stop off at. Sag Harbor is one, there's a few places right near the marina there to grab a bite and grab a quick "picnic" by the water. Of course the "Hamptons" are always a great draw for sightseeing, architecture and shopping. Southampton to East Hampton you'll find fun little areas and some houses that will just blow your mind. If you venture into the Sag Harbor area, you should seriously consider hopping over to Shelter Island via the ferry. Some pretty great places there to eat as well, though again check around much of Shelter Island is still operating on limited schedules. If you make it to the island there's some amazing sunsets to be had and some great places just across the north ferry in Greenport to enjoy dinner.
When looking at wineries, the bulk of them are on the north fork, and as I mentioned before, you have PLENTY of choices Definitely check out the activities for the weekend from the liwines.com site. Duck Walk, Pindar, Lenz, The Old Field, Mccall and Raphael are all very good. We like the Lenz, The Old Field and Duck Walk the best, all of them are different in their own ways and specialties. Bedell is also well known, including being the official red wine for the presidential inaugural luncheon. Most all of them are easy to find, just head east from Riverhead on either Sound Ave (25) or Main Road (58). The bulk of your sight seeing will be from Main Road as you twist and turn past farm stands, wineries and small towns.
The area is pretty much still very "winterized" with very little green popping up. Here's a picture of the Pindar fields from this afternoon.
Here's one from the next winery up, I believe these are the Lenz fields
As you can see, there is still some snow around. This is the Harbes family fruit farm. They have a wonderful place for families to go play at various holidays, including corn mazes and haunted houses
For anyone that is into the HBO series Empire Boardwalk, you might recognize this next picture. They converted an old potato barn into a gas station. Actually a lot of movies and shows are filmed in the area, never know just who you might run into around here.
For meals, there's a ton of great places to eat on the east end. North Fork Table is absolutely fantastic but is not the most economic place in the world to go. We just ate there this weekend and it was north of $200 for the two of us, with 2 glasses of wine each. There's a bunch of places in Greenport to eat that are open year round. You really can't go wrong with seafood out on the east end, most of it is fresh from the local waters. If you fancy a good NY style pizza, the La Capricciosa Pizza is pretty great. Its right as you leave the the north ferry from Shelter Island or conversely just before you get to it from main street in Greenport. The Blue Canoe is good, there's actually an old school early 1900s carousel right by the marina in the center of Greenport. There's also a Starbucks right there too if you want a cup of coffee while you wonder the town.
You'll find all types of small town shops along main road on the north fork and south fork but keep in mind you will be driving on basically local roads. There's plenty of places to stop in for refreshment and breaks but you'll find spots with little to nothing for a while. If you come all the way out east on the north fork, there's a state park with several lighthouse views and a pretty excellent view of the bay, islands and south fork. You'll also be able to catch some views of CT, Plum Island (DHS site & of Nelson Demille Fame) and on a clear day perhaps a few other smaller islands. Here's one I found for the state park out by our house
And here's one from the back yard at our house. You can see CT in the distance and Plum Island off to the right
Hope you have a great trip, if you find you need any local info while you are here drop me a note here.
I can sympathize with the whole work life balance. The information you provided was great! Unfortunately, we just found out today that the LI trip is pushed back to sometime in April / May. Another trip has ended up creeping in that same weekend. However, the information will not go unused. I am looking forward to making the trip later in the year and surmise a few more places would be open as well.
Your assistance is what this site is all about. I will be in touch when the trip is rescheduled.
jerrycoin, thanks to you as well for making the connection to zukracer.