For a taste of the good life, look no farther than Cutchogue.
From farm-fresh country foods to sumptuous locally-harvested wines, from peaceful coastal vistas to a neighborly village green, this gentle hamlet has truly mastered la dolce vita. Move over Italy, This is easy living, North Fork style.
That easy living was on full display during the first-ever Cutchogue Holiday House Tour this past Saturday. Spearheaded by Joyce Barry of The Farmhouse Bed & Breakfast, this one-day event was created to promote Cutchogue businesses, particularly in the long winter months of the off-season. Each stop on the tour showcased a different bed and breakfast, warmly inviting and festively decorated for the holidays. And each of those homes also featured a special treat: wine from a local vineyard and appetizers from a local restaurant or farm.
Cozy homes, delicious wines, unforgettable foods? Yes, please!
Stop #1 on the self-guided tour: The Farmhouse Bed and Breakfast on Depot Lane. Built in 1865 and fully renovated about four years ago, this 3 bedroom home is also a working farm: owners Joyce and Bob Barry make their own honey from the beehive on the property and serve eggs straight from the “girls” – the frantic clique of chickens swirling around behind the house. A stay at The Farmhouse includes a garden-to-table breakfast and homemade treats in the afternoon. Ms. Barry also hopes to include her beach cottage in New Suffolk as part of 2014’s Holiday House Tour.
After wandering through each of the rooms, I followed my nose downstairs to the kitchen. Jackpot. Other tour guests were already crowded around the center island, sampling an array of foods and Macari Vineyards wines. My personal favorite: the pineapple mango fruit spread from Cutchogue-based Really Good Foods. I waved goodbye and continued on my way.
Map and ticket in hand, I drove north to stop #2 on the tour: spacious Sannino Vineyard Bed & Breakfast on Alvah’s Lane. A companion to the Sannino Winery in nearby Peconic, this two-room bed and breakfast offers romantic Tuscan-style accommodations and expansive views of the vineyard. Owner Lisa Sannino personally delivers breakfast directly to her guests each morning – although with a wraparound porch and blue skies beckoning, eating al fresco seems like a no-brainer.
Sannino Vineyard’s very own wines were available for tasting, as were several dishes from Touch of Venice. Blooms by Design, a local florist and gift shop, offered a variety of perfect holiday gifts from their table outside. Favorite here? The spiced Sannino wine, served hot and mulled with cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. It just might be enough to get you through the winter.
Another beautiful home, another adorable pet. Here’s Maggie, the Sannino’s family dog, acting every bit the gracious hostess.
On to stop #3: the private home of local designer Connie Cross. Specializing in both landscape and interior design, Ms. Cross has lived in the geo-thermal house for 33 years, lovingly decorating, filling and sculpting every inch of it. Although the house itself is not a bed and breakfast, Ms. Cross does rent out a small cottage on her property and frequently gives tours of the unique and secluded gem she calls home.
On this day, fifth grader Jessie was my personal tour guide. He matter-of-factly led me through the multi-level shabby chic interior, the upstairs greenhouse (featuring two doves), and the stunning grounds outside. Back inside, four different wines were available from Waters Crest Winery, accompanied by delicious cupcakes from Flourgirls. Waters Crest new “5” red blend was fantastic – even more so when paired with a tiny Red Devil cupcake. And, of course, more cute animals.
The fourth stop on the tour was Andrew’s Legacy Bed & Breakfast, a proud Victorian built in 1920 by Andrew MacNish after patenting the electric hedge clippers. Four generations later, his great-grandson Mark MacNish has restored the house to its original glory and now operates a bed and breakfast that is at once sophisticated and down-to-earth. A stay at Andrew’s Legacy includes a full Victorian breakfast, complete with eggs from the resident chickens. Another selling point is the inn’s proximity to local vineyards. By Mr. MacNish’s calculations, guests are within walking distance to six wineries.
Stop #5 was at Santa’s Christmas Tree Farm, And finally, at stop #6, Santa himself arrived at the Cutchogue Village Green, where he was greeted by exuberant children, festive caroling, and the official lighting of the Christmas tree.
Approximately 140 tickets were sold for this event, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Cutchogue-New Suffolk Historical Council.