Ten things to do on the North Fork this January

Winter is still a beautiful time on the North Fork. (Credit: Michael Versandi)

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The summer beach season is but a distant memory. The harvest of late summer and early fall, well that’s all over with too.

Even the holiday season will have passed come Monday and the countdown to the 2018 re-opening of your favorite North Fork seasonal destinations will be officially underway.

That doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do on the North Fork in these cold winter months. To prove it, we are continuing our monthly “things to do” column, though we’ve scaled it back to 10 items that can add some flare to your visit to the North Fork or prove a good night out for the locals.

Here’s 10 ways to survive January on the North Fork:

Take a cooking class at The Halyard

The Halyard, the recently renovated restaurant at the Soundview Inn, is offering cooking demonstrations with its James Beard Award-winning chef Galen Zammara. For $35, guests at “Chef’s Table” are taught how to prepare a specific local ingredient.

The Jan. 11 class will feature striped bass. A smoked bluefish salad will headline the Jan. 25 class. Both events are set for 5 p.m.

Tickets must be purchased 24 hours in advance by emailing info@thehalyardgreenport.com or by phone at 631-477-0666.

Check back later in the week for a write-up of this Thursday’s caviar demonstration.

Go ice skating in Mitchell Park

The ice skating rink at Mitchell Park in Greenport is open for the season and if the weather stays this cold they won’t have trouble keeping it frozen.

The makeshift rink, located between the carousel and Aldo’s, is open seven days per week so long as temperatures remain low enough for skating.

Weekday hours are from 3 to 5 p.m., and it expands to 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The cost is $5 for adults and $3 for kids (rising to $10/$7 on weekends.) Rentals and skate sharpenings are available for $5.

Check the village website for more information.

Taste the wine, eat that cheese

If you love wine and cheese (and who doesn’t, really), Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead is teaming up with the Village Cheese Shop in Mattituck  for a delicious event at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 20.

Cheese shop owner Michael Affatato and Martha Clara winemaker Juan Micieli-Martinez will pair European cheeses with Martha Clara Vineyards wines.

Tickets are $45 per person or $35 for Martha Clara wine club members. Click here for tickets.

Attend the Food as Medicine Nourishing Circle at Sang Lee Farms

Sang Lee Farms has recently partnered on some wintertime events with culinary nutritionist Stefanie Sacks of Reboot Food. On Tuesday, Jan. 23 she’ll “lead the way through thought-provoking activities and conversation that will transform the way you think about nourishment.”

Ms. Sacks has previously led cooking classes at the organic farm in Peconic, including one we recently attended, but this intimate event will give foodies and health enthusiasts more of an opportunity to ask questions about nutrition and the food they eat.

The 90-minute event is $25 and it starts at 6 p.m. Guests are asked to “bring your appetite and questions to the table.” If you can’t make the class that night a second session is scheduled for Feb. 27.

Tickets can be purchased online.

Visit the Long Island Aquarium

Maybe it’s the water, but we tend to think of visiting an aquarium as a summertime activity, but the Long Island Aquarium on East Main Street in Riverhead is actually one of the best cold-weather family destinations on the East End.

Escape the cold by visiting the shark tank, letting a butterfly fly on your head or watching your kid try to spot “Nemo” and “Dory” in the aquarium’s tanks.

General admission ranges from $22 for kids to $29 for adults. Seniors can visit for $25. Tickets are available online.

Prove you have all the answers

Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. has a weekly trivia night every Thursday at its tasting room on Main Road in Peconic. It’s free to play and your team — with a limit of six people — can compete to win a $50 gift card.

The brewery also offers $10 food and beer specials on those nights.

Trivia night is every Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

Keep a farmers market going

The popularity of the indoor Riverhead Farmers Market may have decreased a bit the past couple years, but we sure are glad to have it.

The market, which is located at 117 East Main Street,has a wide variety of vendors and it’s a great way to shop local in the winter months when these businesses really do need your support.

Alice’s Fish Market, Goodale Farms and North Fork Smoked Fish are just a few of our favorite local vendors participating each week. The market is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Saturday.

Experience PawPaw 

There are still some January reservations available for this very popular and unique North Fork pop-up dining experience.

On Saturdays Jan. 6, 13 and 27 PawPaw will host a pair of seatings at Bruce & Son in Greenport.  The $60 dinners, prepared by chef Taylor Knapp, feature seasonal ingredients farmed, fished, and foraged on the North Fork.

The seatings are at 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. Two of the six seatings are already sold out, so be sure to book now.

Oysterponds Historical Society Holiday House Tour

Shop to support local history 

Did you know about the Beach Plum Shop?

The Oysterponds Historical Society has a gift shop at the Old Point Schoolhouse on Village Lane in Orient. It’s open from 2 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday and has expanded hours from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

All proceeds from the shop go toward the historical society’s mission of “celebrating and sharing North Fork culture and heritage through education, exhibitions, and scholarship and of collecting, preserving, and interpreting the history of Orient and East Marion and their place in national history.”

The schoolhouse is at 1555 Village Lane. Click here for more info.

Start your weekend with fried chicken

We recognize some of you aren’t exactly sold on leaving the house until you know the groundhog saw his shadow and the only thing you’ll be cooking up is a binge session on Netflix. So for you, maybe a takeout bucket of fried chicken is in the cards this winter instead of a shopping or event recommendation.

From 4 to 9 p.m. every Friday, Grace & Grit in Southold is hosting Fried Chicken Fridays. Call ahead, pick up and warm up on the couch.

We recommend you order some mac and cheese, too. As for Netflix, we recently binged hard on Mindhunter.