Friday, September 22, 2017

Crushin on Long Island's North Fork

Long Island's North Fork - the northern coast and portion where Long Island splits - is rural wine country with small towns and farm stands aplenty. If you love wine tasting, plant shopping or eating seafood in a bucolic setting, then this is the place for you. A little bit of Napa just outside of New York City! Man, I love this place!

We visited in the spring making the 3 hour-ish drive from the city by rental car. My goal was to spend the day wine tasting and enjoying the scenery with the possibility of getting some farm fresh produce or maybe even homemade pie. I only accomplished the former but it was still a fantastic day.

Mr. UR made up our highly efficient wine tasting route map - he's always in charge of logistics and there's no backtracking allowed - after me and my daughter picked some of the ones we wanted to visit. I was hoping for the pie-in-the-sky number of eight wineries while my daughter said we'd be lucky to make five and quite possibly only three. We ended up at five - all different and all with good wine.

Our first stop was at Kontokosta Winery in Greenport. Kontokosta has water views of the Long Island sound (but not water or beach access) and a modern, barnlike tasting room. You can taste and tour in the tasting room or take your wine out to the picnic tables overlooking the water . We chose to do the latter and thoroughly enjoyed sitting with a glass of wine at a picnic table staring out at the sound. The winery was hosting a wedding that day and they would be closing at 3pm so I was glad we chose Kontokosta to visit first.

It was time for lunch so we drove towards the town of Greenport and saw a sign for Billy's by the Bay Seafood Restaurant. A "fresh seafood and lobster" restaurant located in the Brewers Yacht yard, Billy's has a tiki bar and screened porch with brightly colored tables and chairs for a festive atmosphere. Mr. UR enjoyed lobster while my daughter and I went for a landlubber special. Feeling satisfied, we took a quick drive through Greenport and headed to the next winery.

Next on our route was One Woman Wines and Vineyard which was started by - as you can tell by the title - one woman. Claudia Purita grew up on her family's farm in Italy and after moving to Long Island she decided to start her own vineyard hand planting much of the vines. One Woman has a small tasting shed with a walk-up window and views of her vineyard. If you enjoy a smaller, intimate setting for a vineyard then this is the winery for you.  We each enjoyed a glass of wine here rather than a tasting. And we were off to our next stop.

Our next stop was the winner of the day and quite possibly a lifetime. Croteaux Vineyards makes rose and only rose. They are the only vineyard in the United States to do so.  Located in the town of Southold, Croteaux has a tasting barn and outdoor seating where they bring the tastings to you. We arrived to a long line standing outside what we thought was the tasting room. After asking we found out that was the line to the restroom, so we made our way through the building and entered into the most magical courtyard with various types of seating. We ordered our flights of rose and sparkling rose and took gajillions of photos while we waited. It's just that special. I enjoyed my flight - and so did my daughter. (Mr. UR sat this one out - rose isn't his thing )Then we walked around the grounds before deciding we should leave - even though we didn't want to. I'm definitely going back someday and I might visit Croteaux only - though that will be difficult as there are so many others to visit!

We  headed down the road to Bedell Cellars - another beautiful winery on Long Island. A delightful place for a wedding, Bedell has a tasting barn with outdoor seating overlooking the vineyard. Beautiful view and beautiful sunset. Known for it's musee, we decided not to do a tasting here as time was running short so we enjoyed a glass of wine. 

Last but not least was Lieb Cellars. Lieb has more of a hip, urban vibe than the other farmhouse style vineyards that are family run. Sustainably farmed and run by a creative group of young people, Lieb specializes in small production, reserve wines. By now, I was getting a bit "wined" out so I ordered a glass of their dessert wine -created in the ice wine style( ice wine is especially sweet as the grapes are left on the vine for two or three frosts) - to sip on. It was just right. 

We had visited five North Fork wineries - and my stomach was thinking that it was time for dinner. We decided to head towards our hotel and grab dinner on the way instead of backtracking to Greenport. What a fun day! 

What are your favorite wineries to visit? Have you had wine on the North Fork?

This post is part of a link-up with: Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox, The Weekend Wanderlust Travel Blog PartyThe Weekly Postcard at Travel Notes and Beyond and Weekend Travel Inspiration at Reflections Enroute!


Hurricane updates: Thanks to everyone for your kind words and thoughts about my family. My mom and brother are a few of the lucky ones. They are safe, with no damage to their residence and were without power for a week. The schools in Naples reopened two days ago with some businesses still not open but power was supposed to be totally restored to the area by today. The Keys will be a much longer recovery and rebuilding process and you can still donate to help those affected from Hurricane Irma.

Please pray for all the good people of Puerto Rico and consider donating if you can. Their island has been catastrophically wiped out from Hurricane Maria and is 100% without power with most streets turned into rivers. If you would like to donate, you can google Hurricane Maria and be taken to websites for donating.

Also please pray for those in Mexico City and consider donating if you can. At least 275 people have died and the recovery effort is ongoing. If you would like to donate, you can google Mexico earthquake and google will take you to websites for donating.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Honky Tonkin in Nashville

New Orleans has Bourbon Street, Barcelona has La Rambla and Paris has the Champs de Elysee. And Nashville has Broadway. When you visit one of these cities, you want to experience one of it's most famous .....well, experiences. Touristy or not, most of the time it's reputation has preceeded it and you want to experience it - at least one time, right?

Nashville has been known for country music since the Grand Ole Opry started at the Mother Church - the Ryman. And thousands of country music star hopeful's head to Nashville each year to be discovered. There are probably hundreds of honky tonks all over Music City but the most well known are along Broadway in downtown Nashville. Any given night you can crowd into one of the small -or large- bars along Broadway and hear some fantastic music - some country and some not. 

I've been fortunate enough to visit Nashville dozens of times but I had never gone honky tonkin on Broadway. Until my last visit. We started at Acme Feed & Seed at the lower end of Broadway  - which was packed to the gills - and enjoyed a beverage at the 2nd floor bar. (There is a popular rooftop bar here but there was absolutely no room) We worked our way down Broadway ending the night at Tootsie's rooftop bar. Along the way we heard some awesome music, talked to some fun fellow honky tonkers and did some of the best people watching I've ever done.

Would I go even if I'm not a country music fan? Yes - there are all types of music happening though the obvious majority is country. And most importantly, would I do it again? You betcha!

Where to go honky tonkin on Broadway:
Acme Feed & Seed - Four floors including a farm store, restaurant, sushi bar and rooftop bar, they bill themselves as an "experience"
Wildhorse Saloon - Technically a block off Broadway, the Wildhorse is 3 floors of bars, food and entertainment with line dancing lessons daily. And they have horses on the ceiling!
Rock Bottom Brewpub- I'm not sure this officially qualifies as a honky tonk as it's part of a national chain of brewpubs. But along with it's restaurant there is live music on it's rooftop bar.
Tin Roof - Also part of a chain, the Tin Roof is a casual eatery with live music
Honky Tonk Central - Three floors of bar food and live music
Roberts Western World - Boot shop by day and honky tonk by night - I think that says it all!
Paradise Park Trailer Resort - A diner with live music
The Stage on Broadway - One of the most famous honky tonks on Broadway it has live country music, cold beer and dancing
Rippy's Bar and Grill - Known for it's BBQ and bar food, Rippy's also has a rooftop bar with live music
Tootsie's - A teeny tiny purple bar that has expanded to 3 levels, Tootsie's is another of the most famous honky tonks in Nashville
Legends Corner - A most classic of the honky tonks, legend has it that Loretta Lynn's kids used to sit on the bar while their mother sang at the Opry behind it.
(This route starts at lower Broadway and works it way to the Bridgestone Arena.)
There are always new places popping up - there is a Margaritaville and AJ's (as in Alan Jackson)Good Times Bar. You can also visit George Jones and Johnny Cash's museums - each just a block off Broadway. So you can make an afternoon of it - a day of it - or a week of it. You choose.

How about you? Have you honky tonked on Broadway in Nashville?

Thanks to everyone for your prayers for those affected by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. My mom and brother live in Naples, Florida about 45 miles from Marco Island where Irma made landfall as a Category 3. We heard from them immediately after the storm and they are ok with no damage to their residence. Since then we haven't heard from them as power is still out and cell service is out. Power is expected to be back by September 22nd and school open by September 20 - currently 54 of the 60 schools have no power. It will be a long rebuild - as it will in all of those places affected by Harvey and Irma. Please don't forget and continue to send prayers and if you can, donations. Thank you!

This post is part of a link-up with: Weekend Travel Inspiration at Reflections Enroute, The Weekly Postcard at Travel Notes and Beyond, The Weekend Wanderlust Travel Blog Party and Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox!