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Fuji apples at Breeze Hill Farms.

September feels like two glorious seasons at once. You don’t have to give up on backyard hangs, socially distant takeout picnics and late afternoon dips in the Peconic Bay quite yet. But the new season beckons with its harvest bounty, cooler days and cozier nights. Here are 10 ways to say farewell to summer and welcome autumn this September.

 Chart your own apple cider donut crawl

While few official tours are happening in this pandemic year, that doesn’t mean you can’t create your own. Taste your way through the North Fork and decide which apple cider donut is your favorite. Spots to add to your list are Breeze Hill Farm in Peconic and Junda’s Pastry Shop in Jamesport. 

Cruise local waters

The North Star, a charter yacht run by Green Hill Charters (Photo Credit: Isobel Media).

A ride with Green Hill Charters comes with a special perk: Meals catered by the owner’s two popular Greenport restaurants, Green Hill Kitchen and Anker. The fully restored classic 1957 Matthews yacht takes full-day, half-day, sunset, and lighthouse cruises, all leaving from Greenport. If you’re looking for an intimate sailboat experience, Layla Sailing, also out of Greenport, is an obvious choice. Offering morning, half-day, full-day, and sunset sails, you’ll enjoy the wind in your hair while aboard a Fastnet 45 yacht chartered by a female-owned and operated team.

Sip fall beer

Jamesport Farm Brewery is serving up a pumpkin and yam beer. (Credit: David Benthal)

As the seasons change, so do the flavors of craft beer at North Fork local breweries. Pumpkin ales are everywhere, naturally — hello, Pumpkin Ale by Long Ireland Beer Co., Start to Fall by Moustache Brewing Co. and Leaf Pile Ale by Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. Or you can branch out into other autumn flavors, including yam, as in Jamesport Farm Brewery’s Sugar Skull, and butternut squash in North Fork Brewing Co.’s Butternut the Hut. 

Paddle the Peconic River under the moonlight

Test your balance along the Peconic River on a light-up paddleboard at night. On Friday, September 4 from 7-8 p.m. Long Island Canoe Kayak Rentals is hosting a Light Up The Night moonlight tour via paddleboard. Riders will watch the sunset and moonrise along the river with only the glow lights provided and the moonlight to guide them. The cost is $55 per person which includes paddleboard rental, and tickets can be purchased here

Attend the North Fork Foodie Tour, virtually

Peeko Oysters

Kicking off on Sunday, September 13, the North Fork Foodie Tour is back but will look a bit different this year. Instead of physically visiting North Fork farms, breweries, wineries, and more, there will be many diverse virtual offerings including virtual behind-the-scenes farm and restaurant tours such as Peeko Oysters in New Suffolk, Peconic Escargot in Cutchogue, The Halyard in Greenport, and more. In addition to the virtual tours, there will be seven different webinars to tune into foodie talks and demonstrations. While the virtual foodie tour is free donations are suggested. There are also VIP tickets available which include a $50 gift card good towards a wine and local bites pairing at Suhru Wines tasting room in Cutchogue, and more specialized offerings. 

Indulge in a PawPaw pop-up dinner

Let your tastebuds enjoy a journey through the flavors of the season at a PawPaw pop-up dinner this month. There are two dates scheduled for September each with two seatings: Saturday, September 5, and Saturday, September 12, with 6 and 8:30 p.m. seatings available. Chef Taylor Knapp will create a 5+ course experience using North Fork ingredients that are sure to wow you. The cost is $75 per person, not including drinks, and pre-paid reservations must be made in advance here. 

Check out Reflextions, Art In The Park

Reflextions, Art In The Park

Stroll through Grangebel Park in downtown Riverhead for the walkable experiential light exhibit – Reflextions, Art In The Park. The colorful and creative installation of light elements includes LED, incandescent, laser, fire, blacklight, day glow, and photoluminescent displays against a night sky. Reflextions, Art In The Park is scheduled for Sunday, September 13 from 7 – 10 p.m.

Pick some apples

Sometimes the smart move is to embrace the cliché, and mid-September on the North Fork, when you can pluck juicy apples right from the tree, is one of those times. Some of our favorite farms for u-pick apples include family-friendly Harbes Orchard in Riverhead, 170-year-old Wickham’s Fruit Farm in Cutchogue, and Woodside Orchards in Jamesport, which is a bit more tucked away. 

Celebrate Garlic

The Garlic Festival will be hosted at Garden of Eve Organic Farm. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

For two consecutive weekends, September 12-13 and 19-20, head to Garden of Eve Organic Farm and Market in Riverhead for a garlic festival. Along with vendors featuring a variety of garlic inspired foods, crafts, music, and garlic-eating contests, there will also be junior iron chef competitions each day featuring, you guessed it, GARLIC. Registration for the garlic-eating contests and junior iron chef competitions is required. Tickets are priced at $5 before noon and $10 per person noon-close. Admission to the garlic festival also includes full admission to the farm including hayrides, a bounce pad, farm animals, and more.  

Observe the moon

Custer Observatory in Southold

Join International Observe the Moon Night 2020 at Custer Observatory on Saturday, September 26 at 7 p.m. On this worldwide day of celebration of lunar science and exploration, the Custer Institute invites you to learn all about the moon with lectures and viewings. Admission is free, but donations of $5 per adult, and $3 per child are suggested.