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Relaxing Wine-Tasting Weekend on Long Island's North Fork
After years of playing second fiddle to Long Island's glitzier South Fork (home to the Gatsby-esque mansions and celebrity haunts of the Hamptons), the pastoral, vineyard-studded North Fork is making headlines not only for its Chardonnays and Merlots but also for its innovative farm-to-table cuisine and inviting inns. By turning north rather than south at the end of the Long Island Expressway, you'll be forced to mentally and physically slow down as you stop at roadside farm stands selling just-picked fruits and vegetables, breathe in the irresistibly salty sea air, linger over innovative menus designed by rising star chefs and — of course — sip the increasingly impressive wines. Strung along Rt. 25, the North Fork's 11 picturesque towns (including Southold, Cutchoque, Mattituck, and Greenport) harbor more than three-dozen wineries and at least as many historic white churches. There are also lovely beaches (for sunning) and bays (for kayaking), making a weekend here the perfect antidote for big city (or even suburban) stress. Here's how to enjoy this farmland's natural beauty and bounty. – By Donna Heiderstadt
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