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Children enjoy a farm-fresh snack during Sylvester Manor’s immersive farm experience (Photo Credit: Sylvester Manor Educational Farm)

Backyard losing its allure, but still want to avoid the crowds? These seven new North Fork experiences will connect you and your family to the North Fork’s farm culture while keeping everyone safely distanced. 

Tour, forage, and snack at Shelter Island’s Sylvester Manor

This summer Sylvester Manor Educational Farm on Shelter Island is offering private, immersive farm tours for groups and families to enjoy curated farm experiences led by farm educators. During the hour and a half farm tour and experience, families will enjoy a foraging field walk, interaction with pigs and chickens, a farm craft or task, a chance to climb inside the farm’s historic windmill, as well as a fresh farm-to-table snack. Sessions are offered on Saturday afternoons at 1 and 3 p.m. and cost $200 per family or group of six. Call 631-749-0626 to make your immersive farm tour reservation.

Sylvester Manor Educational Farm | 80 North Ferry Rd., Shelter Island, 631-749-0626

Brush and decorate a pony 

Spend some family time on the farm at The Little Red Barn in Riverhead. During the farm’s private family hours which includes a farm tour, families are invited to brush a pony and decorate its mane with bows and ribbons, meet with baby bunnies, kid goats, and the farm’s pig, and children can also enjoy a pony ride. The farm has plenty of space and picnic tables for families to picnic after their private farm experience. Private family hours begin at $100 per hour and appointments must be made in advance.  

The Little Red Barn | 353 Manor Ln., Riverhead, 631-566-1690

(Photo Credit: Sara Austin)

Hear a drive-in Bluegrass concert

If you’ve been missing live music there’s a great way to get your fill while also safely distancing. On Thursday, July 23 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., Riverhead’s Hallockville Museum Farm will be hosting a drive-in music night with bluegrass music by East Bound Freight. The cost is $40 per car and space is limited. Call 631-298-5292 or email [email protected] to make your reservation.

Hallockville Museum Farm | 6038 Sound Ave., Riverhead, 631-298-5292

Go to family camp

Peconic Dunes 4-H Camp isn’t just for kids. This summer the Southold camp has created three different programs that the whole family can enjoy together. Family Outdoor Adventure, offered Monday-Friday, lets families participate in either boating or archery activities. Family Nature Study, offered on Mondays and Tuesdays, includes garden science, pond and sound investigations, and more. And on Thursdays, Leather Craft camp teaches families how to stamp and design leather while making several hands-on projects. Each program costs $150 per family of four and each additional family member costs $15 per person. Visit the Peconic Dunes 4-H Camp webpage for more details and to enroll. 

Peconic Dunes 4-H Camp | 6375 Soundview Ave., Southold, 631-852-8629

Take a drive-thru animal tour

On Saturday, July 25 from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. head to Spirit’s Farm Equine Rescue in Riverhead for a contactless-farm tour where you will see and hear about the rescue’s farm animals from the safety of your car. Upon registration, you’ll receive a link to the drive-thru virtual map, as well as a list of the names of the farm animals and fun facts and information about each of the farm’s rescues. The tickets cost $32 per car and can be purchased here

Spirit’s Promise Equine Rescue | 2746 Sound Ave., Riverhead, 631-875-0433

(Photo Credit: Sylvester Manor Educational Farm)

Feed baby calves and chicks

Head over to Santa’s Christmas Tree Farm in Cutchogue for a hands-on farm animal experience the whole family will love. Enjoy an hour and a half feeding baby calves and visiting with baby farm animals including chicks, bunnies, and even a reindeer named Dearie. The cost is $20 per milk-bottle and the experience is open daily with 1:30 and 7 p.m. private timeslots. Message the farm on Facebook or call 631-735-9242 for availability and to make a reservation.

Santa’s Christmas Tree Farm | 30105 Main Rd., Cutchogue, 631-735-9242

Make pickles, jam, or fruit pies

Every Thursday throughout July and August Garden of Eve Organic Farm & Market in Riverhead is offering a Tots Cooking Class from 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Each class begins with a harvest tour of the farm where participants will gather their ingredients while learning how they are grown and harvested. Then, the young cooks will head into the farm market and create a delicious, vegetarian snack to take home. Upcoming classes include making pickles and fermented foods, jam, and fruit pies. Classes are limited in size to maintain social distancing. Class cost is $20 per child (ages 2-10), $10 for additional children, or $60 for a series for any four classes. Accompanying adults are $7.95 per person. For additional details and to book a class, visit the farm’s website here. 

Garden of Eve Organic Farm & Market | 4558 Sound Ave., Riverhead, 631-722-8777