Sign up for our Newsletter

We’re calling it the Game of Hamlets. 

The concept is simple. Similar to the NCAA tournament and countless other March Madness brackets, we’re hosting a month-long tournament to decide once and for all which hamlet in Riverhead, Southold and Shelter Island towns is the most admired by the people who live on and visit the North Fork.

The staff at has seeded out 16 hamlets and once the last vote is counted April 8, only one will be left standing.

So what makes a great hamlet? Well, that’s for you to decide. We’ll make our case for all 16 hamlets in our interactive brackets, which will be posted when voting begins this Thursday, March 13. Then you choose which is your favorite in each matchup.

Will the seaport feel of Greenport help that hamlet conquer? How about the size and diversity of Riverhead? Or the feeling of escape you get when visiting Shelter Island? Can a tiny hamlet like East Marion or Baiting Hollow knock off a Goliath? We’ll find out over the next four weeks.

Some of the questions you’ll decide with your vote are: Do great restaurants and wineries make some hamlets better? Do parks, open spaces and beaches give some communities an edge? Does year-round comfort trump summer tourist appeal?

To kick off the contest, we narrowed our scope to 16 hamlets by folding communities like Northville, Reeves Park and Flanders/Riverside into Riverhead and Shelter Island Heights into Shelter Island. Of course several of the hamlets aren’t physically on the North Fork, but were included because they’re in the very towns that make up the North Fork and our coverage area. Will that hurt them in the voting?

We took all 16 hamlets and divided them into four regions, seeding each community one through four. The No. 1 seeds are our projected favorites based on size, uniqueness and our feeling as to the likeliness for them to receive votes from outside the community. The No. 4 seeds are the hamlets which, using the same criteria, we view as long shots.  Of course, your votes can prove our seeding methodology wrong.

Ultimately, what it will probably take for your favorite hamlet to advance each round is engagement from the folks who live there and a prideful core of voters. Each reader will be allowed one vote per day. Voting will begin on Thursdays and end on Tuesdays. Half the hamlets will be eliminated, and the vote count wiped clean each week.

Stay in touch with for more updates about the contest, including the announcement of a sponsor. For now, we’ll give you a sneak peek at all eight first round matchups.

Start thinking now about who you want to vote for.

Horton Region
No. 1 Greenport
No. 4 East Marion

No. 3 New Suffolk
No. 2 Southold

Hallock Region
No. 2 Jamesport
No. 3 Aquebogue

No. 4 Laurel
No. 1 Mattituck

And the other side of the bracket …

Sylvester Region
No. 1 Shelter Island
No. 4 Peconic

No. 3 Cutchogue
No. 2 Orient

Reeves Region
No. 2 Wading River
No. 3 Baiting Hollow

No. 4 Calverton
No. 1 Riverhead