It was an isolating year, to be sure, but one that left us more grateful than ever for our homes and our hometowns on the North Fork. In one of our most popular series of 2020, Northforker visited with notable residents to talk about their journey to the area, their favorite neighborhood spots and how 2020 changed them.
Taken together, these Front Porch Interviews showcased the history, diversity and ongoing evolution of this special place. Some subjects, like married historians Richard Wines and Nancy Gilbert, have ancestors and property going back to the 1700s. Denise Markut, one of the area’s pioneering organic gardeners, talked about literally blazing trails in her work with the Peconic Land Trust.
Others are new to the area yet already deeply involved. Elizabeth Peeples and Stefanie Bassett, founders of Little Ram Oysters, described their journey from careers in Brooklyn to farming oysters in Southold. Uruguayan native Luchi Masliah, owner of Goodfood Café and Market, found contentment after a recent move to Greenport. Kelly Koch, winemaker at Macari Vineyards, came to the area from Napa Valley and married North Fork native Rob Koch, an engineer who has worked with SpaceX.
The coronavirus pandemic had changed everyone’s lives in different and dramatic ways. On Shelter Island, Brett Sureus rallied local restaurants to feed hospital workers — including his wife, Kelly, an ICU nurse. In Riverhead, Jennifer LaMaina expanded childcare options to help the families of essential workers. David and Donna Perrin of Cedar House on Sound B&B worked long hours to help Mattituck businesses stay afloat.
We also talked to second-home owners who found themselves suddenly living on the North Fork full time, including Madewell CEO Libby Potter of Orient and designer Rafe Totengco, whose East Marion quarantine with his partner, Mike Lawn, led to a sweet backyard wedding.
Our editors thank everyone who welcomed us on their front porch in this difficult year. We believe sharing our stories builds community, and we’re happy to be part of yours.