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Long Island’s North Fork Is Eating Into the Hamptons’ Tony Terrain

Home prices are climbing to comparable levels as well.

The pastry shop at Southold General. 

The pastry shop at Southold General. 

Photographer: Matthew Williams

Drive east from New York City, and just before you hit the Peconic River, you’ll face a choice: north or south? Option B takes you to the Hamptons, that enviable address where summer dreams of rosé and lawn parties are lived out weekend after weekend. But lately, the road toward the agricultural haven known literally as the North Fork is attracting more and more devoted travelers.

This string of 15 villages has long been considered a quiet alternative to the raucous Hamptons, if considered at all. Since the aughts, its laid-back vineyards and farm stands have drawn a smattering of Manhattanites via car or the Long Island Rail Road—including this writer—for affordable day trips. More indulgent weekends meant a night at the North Fork Table & Inn, where three-hour-long tasting menus were made by a husband and wife team that had earned accolades at power restaurants Gramercy Tavern and Aureole.