Northforker Neighborhoods: Orient, East Marion offer a welcome escape

Depending on your direction of travel, Orient typically serves as the beginning or the end.

The Cross Sound Ferry, located just west of the very tip of Orient Point, is the gateway to and from New England.

A “Welcome to New York” road sign greets you as you exit the boat and begin your journey along Route 25.

But for those traveling to the North Fork from the west, Orient is a welcome escape from other parts of New York and the last stop on the road.

Unlike Montauk, its counterpart to the south, which has ocean beaches and a downtown that attracts the masses, Orient is recognized for its tranquility. If it’s nightlife you seek, Greenport is just a few miles to the west.

Orient — like its neighbor East Marion — is built for slow days and quiet nights. There’s no excess in these sibling neighborhoods.

You have your choice of places to visit here, but not an abundance of them.

For many, mornings in Orient start at the Country Store, with hot coffee and fresh baked goods. The popular Brooklyn pie shop Four & Twenty Blackbirds also has an outpost a few storefronts away. East Marion’s Fork & Anchor, which uses lettuce, tomato and basil mayo to create the best egg sandwich on the North Fork, is a perfect bookend to these other spots.

Drive slowly through Orient and you’ll enjoy some of the most peaceful rides you’re likely to ever experience on Long Island. Narrow River Road, named for the body of water that lines most of one side of the street, is a natural wonder that ends at Long Beach Bay, where you’re treated to views of boats passing.

Even Orient Beach State Park includes a scenic drive, so packed with sighting opportunities, you’re almost disappointed to reach the beach at the end.

Trumans Beach in East Marion is a popular spot for swimming in summer and for casting a fishing pole in the fall. If you’re searching for a more remote escape into nature, you’ll find it at the nearby Ruth Oliva Preserve at Dam Pond.

If Orient and East Marion have an overabundance of anything, it’s preserved history — with farm stands for produce and flowers running a close second.

Village Lane is home to the Oysterponds Historical Society, which boasts several historic buildings on its property located between historic Poquatuck Hall and the Orient  Yacht Club.

As for the aforementioned farm stands, Sep’s and Latham’s are among the best on the North Fork and a trip to East Marion and Orient would not be complete without a stop at either Garden Fusion, Lavender by the Bay or North Fork Flower Farm.

A handful of bed-and-breakfasts offer quiet places to rest your head — we’ll recommend Quintessentials Bed & Breakfast and Spa — to complement the rest of your low-key weekend away.

If it’s action you seek, Orient and East Marion might not be for you. The thrills here are found in the sounds of birds chirping and the fresh air that fills your lungs.

Names & Numbers

Original Name: Oysterponds

Orient was known as Lower Neck, while East Marion was called Upper Neck. The communities separated in 1836 and East Marion was named for Revolutionary War General Francis Marion. The name Orient was chosen to reflect that area’s easternmost position on the North Fork.

Combined area: 8.3 square miles

Combined population: 1,669