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The May issue of northforker magazine Photography by David Benthal, Styling by Lauren Lombardi

The summer between third and fourth grade, I met one of those magical babysitters you remember forever. Renata was a local art student hired to watch over me, my older sister and a neighbor friend. On her first day of work, we kids sat on the floor as she pulled out a pad, a ruler and a pencil and sketched a grid on the paper. This was Renata’s calendar. 

There would be absolutely no television this summer, Renata told her shocked charges, and no complaints of boredom. Every day, we would do something fun and different, no matter how small — trips to the pool, cookie baking, lawn games and board games, reading chapters aloud from “Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.” And at the end of each day, Renata would add a beautiful drawing to the calendar to commemorate what we’d done together. 

This was an unplugged summer, an ’80s summer. And although it was many miles south of these parts, I think of it as a North Fork kind of summer, too. As they are here, our days were somehow both carefree and also jam-packed with exciting new things to try. 

This is the inspiration behind our summer preview issue: To help you get a head start on high season and fill your to-do list with things you actually want to do. Read the issue to find events worth saving the date for, rainy-day activities, the summer meals local chefs are eating, the most refreshing drinks around and the best stuff to do with kids (recommended by kids themselves, natch). If you start using these pages to plan in May and still have the issue around in August, dog-eared and wine-stained, our team will have accomplished our every goal. 

You’ll also want to bookmark our digital Northforker Vacation Guide, which allows you to easily search for places to eat, drink, stay and play across the area. This is the definitive resource for exploring the North Fork, whether you live here or are just visiting. 

There are 98 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day this year — yes, I counted. It seems like so many, but they fly by so fast. May you plan your days with purpose and fill your own calendar with a bit of old-school summer magic. 

Sara Austin, Editorial Director