Sound ViewA Tour of Greenport, New York
Jetties and harbours punctuate the Peconic River, its wide expanse separating the narrow band of North Fork from Shelter Island. Its waters lead out into Gardiner’s Bay, and on to the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean.
Greenport, a seaside village settled in 1682, with a history of whaling, fishing, oyster farming and rum running, is set on Long Island’s North Fork, a narrow 30-mile promontory of farmland, vineyards and beaches, branching away from the Hamptons and Montauk to its south. Along the north coast, on Long Island Sound, a renovated 1950s hotel of neat boardwalks and white clapboard sits on a private beach of coarse sand and black rocks. Upon entering Sound View, the hotel’s pale wooden floors, wicker sofas and panelled walls usher guests through the lounge, where they are welcomed by the waves, glistening through wide panes of glass.
Further inside, the Halyard restaurant opens beneath a light-filled ceiling. Chairs made of deep blue sail cloth, harnessed with rope, are dispersed among its tables and benches. A deck overlooks the water, where diners are accompanied by the audible washing of the waves below. White posts carved with faces line the edge of the deck, anonymous and enigmatic as ancient sculptures. In the kitchen, ingredients sourced from nearby North Fork farms are combined with seafood, caught from the Atlantic, and served alongside wine from local vineyards.
Elsewhere, oil paintings of stormy seas and wrinkled, weathered faces hang on dark wood walls and above burgundy leather banquettes. The Piano Bar, where both defining parts of the room are original to the 1953 building, offers cocktails, wine and craft beer to guests as they relax in the warm, intimate setting, reminiscent of the Prohibition-era speakeasies that once flourished in Greenport. Rooms and suites are clad in shiplap panels of raw cedar, and rope rugs adorn the floors, recalling the nautical heritage of the village. Each room opens either onto a wide boardwalk or private deck, where wooden steps lead to the beach; waves drag across the sand, beating rhythmically upon the black onyx of the rocks.
A walk east leads to the centre of Greenport. At the top of Main Road, the Lin Beach House is an imposing five-room guesthouse overlooking the grounds of neighbouring Kontokosta vineyard. As the sister hotel to Greenport’s Matchbook Distilling Company, the in-house bar, named Days Like These, is run by Matchbook, and serves their own beer, as well as a rotating menu of specialty cocktails and North Fork wine. At their distillery on the edge of town, Matchbook also guides visitors in creating their own unique liquors, from specialty botanicals made with the highest quality ingredients, to single-barrel batches of whiskey distilled to exacting standards.
Leaving Days Like These behind, Greenport’s Main Road runs south past Victorian clapboard homes, antique stores, and bustling restaurants. Brix and Rye, a neighbourhood cocktail bar, sits unassumingly on this main drag, and serves elegant, classic concoctions with house-made bitters. On the same side of the street and further south, Bruce & Son, a family business in its fourth generation, offers an all-day brunch menu of simple, fresh ingredients, in a suitably pared-back and calming interior.
The road continues south toward its terminus; the town’s jetties and harbours punctuate the Peconic River, its wide expanse separating the narrow band of North Fork from Shelter Island. Its waters lead out into Gardiner’s Bay, and on to the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean.