As a native New Yorker, I have a love-hate relationship with Long Island. If you’re a local, you know what I’m talking about. It’s a friendly rivalry, so I am going to put aside my feelings and tell you about some of the perks of Long Island that people miss out on because they’re so focused on New York City. Long Island has amazing beaches, its own giant pumpkin blaze in the fall, amazing vineyards, and other fun activities to see and do. Long Island is where you want to go to relax without worrying about the fast pace of New York City. Especially if you love wine. Long Island has so many vineyards that this article only covers a small Eastern section near Mattituck, NY. Yoga is popular in the area as well which makes it the perfect combination of fun and wellness.
When to Visit
Summer is the region’s high season. Nothing wrong with visiting during this time, however, it will be extremely crowded and hotel prices will be sky-high. Spring and early Fall will bring more reasonable prices and fewer crowds while still enjoying many of the outdoor events that are going on in the area. When it comes to visiting wineries, definitely visit when the weather is warm. While most of them are open year-round, the experience will be much better when they open their outdoor patios and have outside events. Winter is the slow season with bottom pricing when it comes to accommodations. There also are a few fewer activities available, but it can still be a fun time depending on what you;re traveling for.
Where to Stay
There is an abundance of hotels in Long Island. If you like chain hotels, there are brands for every budget type. You know me though, I always recommend boutique hotels, and even better if they are independently owned. Boutique hotels are great because you just get that unique touch you can’t get at a chain hotel. Plus, if it’s a small business, you’re helping the local economy by staying there. Two lodging recommendations I have are Sannino Vineyard and Shinn Estate Vineyards and Farmhouse. Both were originally just vineyards. Sannino converted a piece of the property to a bed and breakfast and Shinn Estate converted one of their old farmhouses into a country chic dream. Plus, both fit into our wine and yoga theme if you really want to immerse yourself in the experience. If you’re looking to immerse yourself in yoga more than wine, I highly recommend doing a yoga retreat. Room accommodations and meals are included in the price and usually, you’re allowed to go off-site to enjoy other activities.
Things to Do
Yoga is a fun activity to help you become healthy in both physical and mental ways. If you are looking to do mostly drop-ins check out local events on Facebook. Many times people will list their outdoor yoga classes or events that are available. If you don’t feel like leaving the comfort of your hotel room many of the local studios are hosting zoom classes so you can still feel like part of the community even though it’s virtual. If you’re looking to have an in-person class, I highly recommend Free Spirit Warriors Yoga Studio, Solntse Hot Yoga and Bar, and Jala Hot Yoga. All three offer similar services and offer classes daily. You can pick your favorite and stick with them throughout your stay, or you can try a new studio each day. They all offer a mix of morning and evening classes as well if you have a preference. I do have to say that Free Spirit Warriors Yoga Studio takes wellness to the next level. Besides yoga classes, they also offer reiki, energy healing, acupuncture, sound healing, massages, past life regression, and more!
Long Island has many wineries along its stretch so I will be focused on the North-East near Marrituck. Some wineries that are definitely worth the visit are Pellegrini Vineyards, Macari Vineyards and Winery, Sannino Vineyard, and Shinn Estate Vineyards and Farmhouse. Pellegrini Vineyards has both red and white wines available for tasting. They also offer tours of the property if you’re interested in the wine-making process. They are very well-known for their Chardonnay and they sometimes have events such as live music or special pairings. Macari Vineyards and Winery is definitely a luxury experience. You can rent tented bungalows for a private tasting. It’s a ton of fun and very instagrammable if that’s something you look for when traveling. Reservations are a must if you want this private experience. Sannino Vineyard is one of the few that offers wine tasting packages. My favorite is their Ladies’ Outing Package. You have a choice of pairing your wine with cheese or chocolate and an adorable place setting. Great for pictures or just to feel special. If you’re looking for a unique drink after all this wine, they do have wine slushies. I always get excited when a winery has wine slushies on the menu. This vineyard also offers small plate options to soak up the wine if need be. Shinn Estate Vineyards and Farmhouse offers guided tours of their property and has small bites available along with wine flights and by the bottle. They have a wide range of reds, whites, and rose. Each vineyard has its own unique blends and perks that make it feel like you’re having a brand new experience each time.
For breakfast, Erik’s in Southold and Cutchogue Diner are the perfect places to fuel up for a long day of yoga and wine. Erik’s in Southold is a small family business that offers both indoor and outdoor seating. They are a low cost option that offers traditional breakfast platters, sandwiches and pancakes. Cutchogue Diner is another low cost restaurant that offers a variety of omelettes and pancake options. It has been family owned since 1987 and is a local hot spot. Both of these places are an absolute must.
For lunch, Love Lane Kitchen and Mattitaco are fun spots for you and your friends to kick back relax and just have good food. Love Lane Kitchen offers a variety of salads and sandwiches that are to die for. Be sure to try their red quinoa salad or goat cheese panini when you stop by. Mattitaco has a sit down restaurant as well as their own food truck. This restaurant has the best tacos in town. No joke. Mattitaco will not disappoint you. You can also build your own burrito bowl if that’s your thing. Also, if you need a break from wine, they have some fun margarita flavors to try. You can even get a pitcher for the table to share.
For dinner, three restaurants I recommend are East on Main, Windamere, and Mattituck. East on Main is an American cuisine restaurant that offers both indoor and outdoor seating. You can’t go wrong with their NY strip sliced sandwich or baby back ribs. Windamere is also an American cuisine restaurant that offers indoor and outdoor seating. They have a few seafood and vegetarian options if you need a break from red meat. Windamere also offers live music entertainment to end your day on a wonderful note. Mattituck is a traditional Italian restaurant that offers both pasta and wood fire pizza dishes. If you’re adventurous, their charred octopus antipasti are great to split among the table before enjoying your entrees.
Long Island has many wineries across the island. If there are other wineries you want to visit depending on their selections or outdoor facilities, have fun! I do recommend calling ahead and making reservations as even before covid reservations were a requirement due to high demand. Some wineries do allow walk-ins, however, you are not guaranteed a spot. This advice also applied to restaurants as well. To do this specific trip, I highly recommend coming in the fall or spring so that you don’t have to worry about crowds or becoming over heated. Enjoy your girls’ trip and happy planning!