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Skaters at Santa’s Christmas Tree Farm. (Photo Credit: Grant Parpan)

January on the North Fork: A time to lean into the quiet and get a very welcome fresh start. It’s also a great month to resolve to visit some of the local spots you’ve always meant to see. Here are a few of our suggestions of things to try as we kick off 2021.

Go ice skating at Santa’s Christmas Tree Farm

Keeping warm by the fire at Santa’s Christmas Tree Farm. (Photo Credit: Grant Parpan)

Greenport’s ice-skating rink may be closed this winter, but you can take a turn around the (artificial) rink at Santa’s Christmas Tree Farm in Cutchogue. Hours are 12 p.m. – 6 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on school holidays and weekends. There are skate rentals available plus hot chocolate, popcorn and s’mores for your pod to enjoy around a fire pit.

Welcome the new year at a new restaurant

The Watershed Kitchen & Bar burger. (Photo Credit: Bay Breeze Inn)

Welcome 2021 with a festive New Year’s Day brunch at the Watershed Kitchen & Bar, the just-opened restaurant located in the Bay Breeze Inn in South Jamesport. There will be live entertainment from Jeff Allegue on guitar and a menu including the 8 oz. Watershed burger with white cheddar, cherry pepper relish, avocado and fried shallots. Brunch is at 11 a.m. by reservation only, 631-779-3454.

Sleep in and still catch the sunrise

Sunrise over Orient Point Lighthouse. (Photo Credit: Mike Rega)

Love to watch an inspiring daybreak over the Peconic Bay but hate to rise with the roosters? Circle Sunday, January 3 on your calendar: It’s the day with the latest sunrise of the year. Head to Orient Point County Park for easterly views obstructed only by the scenic lighthouse. Stop off beforehand at Erik’s in Southold for a hot breakfast sandwich to go— they start cooking at 6 a.m. daily. Sunrise should fall around 7:15 a.m across the North Fork.

Enjoy a PawPaw pop up at home

The Roasted Fowl Feast from PawPaw at the Lin Beach House. (Photo Credit: PawPaw)

PawPaw, the culty, once-a-month pop-up dinner from Taylor and Katelyn Knapp of Peconic Escargot, is offering an at-home option, and reservations are available for January 9 and 16. The Roasted Fowl Feast includes bone broth, North Fork Sea Salt biscuits with hot honey and Hal’s butter, half a roasted chicken from Miloski’s Poultry Farm in Calverton, two locally grown veggie sides and dessert for $45 per person. Upgrade to a duck or add on caviar, Macari wine or cocktails from Matchbook Distilling. Reserve meals ahead and then pick up at Lin Beach House parking lot in Greenport or schedule delivery between Mattituck and Orient.

Shop a chic new boutique

The stunning new reception area at American Beech. (Photo Credit: American Beech)

A pop of color in the dead of winter, the exquisite Alex Vinash Boutique at American Beech is a must-see new addition to the Greenport shopping district. The shop, at 300 Main Street in the Stirling Square complex, features clothing, household items and gifts and showcases the designs of Argentinian-born, Greenport-based designer Vinash. Peep the new Moroccan-feel American Beech hotel reception area, too — you can practically feel the sunshine.

Find Fresh Local Greens

In the greenhouse at Treiber Farms. (Photo Credit: Michael Vee)

Just a guess, but maybe you’ve resolved to eat fewer chocolate Santas and more salad this month. While many area farm stands are closed this time of year, you can special order some gorgeous local greens if you know who to talk to (and lucky you, we do). Treiber Farms in Peconic sells produce via its online shop for Friday and Saturday pickups. Or sign up for weekly emails from KK the Farm ([email protected]) in Southold or the Naked Farm in East Marion ([email protected]) to preorder organic and pesticide-free greenhouse goodies for pick on Fridays and Saturdays, respectively.

Get up close and personal with a penguin

A penguin goes for a swim at the Long Island Aquarium. (Photo Credit: Rachel Young)

Happily for stir-crazy families, the Long Island Aquarium is open year-round and the facilities are socially distanced and partially outdoors. Make a memory that will last with the aquarium’s Penguin Encounter, a 30-minute private tour of the penguin habitat and up-close experience with these lovable birds. Tickets are available Thursdays – Sundays and cost $65 for non-members. (Kids under 12 must be accompanied by a ticketed adult.) Yes, photos are permitted; no, you may not pet the penguins.

Practice yoga with a water view

Looking to get into a yoga practice, or get yours back on track? The Giving Room’s Emma Goldmark teaches yoga basics on Saturdays and Sundays at 9 a.m. throughout January at the Sound View Greenport. The indoor studio’s wall of windows overlooks the Long Island Sound. P.S., The Giving Room also offers Zoom classes daily in a variety of styles and levels — visit its website for the full schedule.

Clink drinks in a bungalow

Interior of a Bergen Road Bungalow at Macari Vineyards. (Photo Credit: Carl Timpone)

The new vintages are out, the wineries are less crowded and the tasting-room experts can give you their full attention: It’s a lovely time to drink some Long Island wine. And you don’t necessarily have to go indoors to do it. RGNY in Riverhead has set up vine-side igloos, each equipped with an electric fireplace and seating up to eight people. At Macari Vineyards, the Bergen Road Bungalows offer a catered lunch and wine tasting in luxe winterized tents for groups of up to six. (Both experiences are by reservation only.) If cocktails are more your speed, head to the Bungalow at Montauk Distilling Co. in Riverhead. Your $100 reservation includes the first round of drinks for four, but bring your own blanket.

Learn to sow seeds in winter

Gardening doesn’t have an off season. According to the horticulture experts at the Cornell Cooperative Extension, January is the perfect time to start your seeds — no greenhouse required. Attend an online Winter Seed Sowing workshop January 6, 7, 11, 12 or 13 to find out why planting outside is easier than keeping plants in a windowsill or under grow lights. Times and sign-up details vary by workshop date, so visit the CCE events listings to get more information.

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