The Twin Forks
The North Fork of Long Island is quite different than its southern sibling, much narrower, not as long, and with a landscape and a culture that's very different. Situated between the Long Island Sound to the north and the Great Peconic Bay to the south, the North Fork of Long Island has a more rustic appearance, with farms and vineyards dotting the landscape in between charming and historic towns, more reminiscent of New England than New York.
Long Island's Wine Country
Probably the most famous thing the North Fork is known for is its wineries. Long Island's Wine Country is a hotbed of world-class wineries that feature all sorts of delicious wines, from grapes grown in this favorable landscape. The vineyards are picturesque and the wines are fabulous.
Raphael, my favorite!
Historic and Charming Towns
Beginning just east of Riverhead, the North Fork is a series of charming, small towns dotted along the vast grape fields and farmlands, which give the region its charm. There's the tiny village of Jamesport that you'll miss if you blink your eye, the bustling and charming Mattituck, beautiful Laurel and Peconic, historic Southold, and the quaint seaport of Greenport.
Farm Stands, Antique Shops and Nurseries
Another nice feature of this region, which goes hand in hand with the area's natural resources, is the wide array of charming farm stands, nurseries and antique shops that can be found from the western town of Aquebogue all the way to the eastern end at Orient. Fresh vegetables and garden items abound in many of the area's countrified farm stands and nurseries, and many antique shops on the North Fork harbor many a hidden treasure.
The People and the Culture
The one thing negative I could share about the North Fork is the people, or rather the region's culture. North Fork natives live a more traditional way of life than their South Fork, or even westward counterparts, and they make no bones about their desire to keep it that way. Rarely has any sort of chain store made an appearance in the area, let alone a fast food chain (Mattituck is home to the only McDonald's in the area.). They have a name for people from outside the area, "up-islanders," and it takes awhile for these natives to warm up to outsiders (I speak from experience!).
So there you have Long Island's North Fork. It's a great place for a day trip, or for a nice quiet vacation if you like that type of relaxation, and its local charm is a great way to take in the feel of old New England without leaving the island.