There are 98 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day to enjoy high season on the North Fork. Here are 23 events to look forward to this summer.
The schools are out, the strawberries are ripe and the solstice signals new beginnings.
Meet Local Farmers, June 5-6
Head to the Peconic River waterfront in downtown Riverhead for North Meets South: Farm, Food & Drinks Festival, where you can meet and mingle with local farmers, artisans, restaurants, breweries and vineyards from the North and South Fork. Sponsored by East End Arts and the Long Island Farm Bureau, the event will run 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. both days. For details, northforkevent.com.
Editor’s Note: The North Meets South event has been rescheduled for October 2-3.
Dive Into a Mud Run, June 13
This one is for the ladies: Muddy Princess Long Island, an outdoor obstacle mud run, offers a chance for women and girls ages 9 and up to run, walk, crawl and climb along a 5K course at the Long Island Sports Park in Calverton. The race runs in waves to allow for social distancing, starting at 8 a.m. Tickets start at $49 for participants and your cheering section is free. For details, muddyprincess.com.
Step Out at the Long Island Aquarium, June 18
Sample local food and drinks as you explore the Long Island Aquarium at the annual Taste of the East End gala. Starting at 7 p.m., there will be open bar and food from Atlantis Banquets & Events, Seaside Grill, the Preston House and more. Tickets are $85. For details, longislandaquarium.com.
View Art in the Park , June 19
Grangabel Park in downtown Riverhead will be filled with illuminated designs this evening for Reflextions, a walkable art-after-dark experience. There will be live performances, as well. The event runs from 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. and recurs on July 17 and August 14. For details, downtownriverhead.org.
Celebrate the Solstice, June 20
Welcome the official start of summer at Peconic Bay Winery in Cutchogue, where the Giving Room will host a special event with yoga, meditation and a fire ceremony at sundown. The Southold wellness center will also offer an array of yoga classes, African dance and a nature walk at Inlet Pond County Park in Greenport. For details, givingroom.net.
View the Strawberry Supermoon, June 24
The June full moon, a.k.a. the Strawberry Moon, reaches its peak on June 24 and is one of three supermoon events in 2021. A few days before, on June 19 at 8 p.m., watch the moon rise and paddle along the Peconic River with a guide as part of the Long Island Canoe Kayak Rentals Moonlight Tours in Riverhead. The night kayak costs $60 per person and recurs July 23 at 8pm and August 21 at 7pm. For details, longislandcanoekayakrentals.com.
Relax in a Lavender Field, June 27
Few things are more transporting (the scent! the color!) than French lavender. The fields at Lavender by the Bay, in East Marion and Calverton, should reach full bloom by this day; watch their Instagram feed starting mid-June. For details, lavenderbythebay.com.
Nights of fireflies and fireworks, and days with your toes in the sand.
Spend a Night at the Races, July 3
For the 71st year, Riverhead Raceway hosts an annual celebration featuring NASCAR races, a demolition derby, a kids’ big wheel race and a fireworks display not to be missed. For details, riverheadraceway.com.
Watch Fireworks Over Orient Harbor, July 3
Boom: The Orient Harbor Fireworks have returned for 2021. The Independence Day display starts at 9:15 p.m. and should be visible from Orient Causeway and along the shores surrounding Hallocks Bay. For details, orientfireworks.com.
Catch a Drive-In Concert, July 8
Pull up your car to hear traditional Live Music at the Naugles Barn at Hallockville Museum Farm in Riverhead. The farm began holding the concerts drive-in style last summer and plans to again this year. Concerts are also scheduled for July 1, 22 and 29 and August 5 and 12; pending COVID rules, the farm will also hold its annual barn dance on July 31 and a country fair on August 28. For details, hallockville.org.
Show Your Love to the Honeybees, July 25
Watch beekeepers demonstrate their work and shop honey and beeswax products at the Honey Bee Festival at Garden of Eve Organic Farm and Market in Riverhead. Hayrides will deliver you into the acre-wide field of fresh sunflowers for photo ops and U-pick opportunities. Tickets are $15 and the farm is open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. For details, gardenofevefarm.com.
Paddle the Peconic for Sea Turtles, July 31
A fundraiser for the New York Marine Rescue Center, Paddle Battle Long Island: Save the Sea Turtles, returns to Riverhead with two races for SUP, kayaks and canoes: a 2.5 mile recreational course along the Peconic River and a 5 mile competitive race for the serious paddler. Races start at 9:15 a.m. and single and double entries are welcome at $65 per person. For details, paddlebattleli.com.
Feast on Lobster, July 31
The always-anticipated LobsterFest, benefitting the Southold and Greenport Rotary Clubs, will be back: Depending on COVID rules, the event will be a takeaway version or a sit-down meal at Founder’s Landing Park in Southold. Either way, you’ll enjoy a lobster or steak dinner with all the fixings for a great cause. For details, facebook. com/southoldrotary.
The sunflowers are blooming, the farm stands are overflowing and your to-do list can wait.
Wander a Sunflower Maze, August 1
If you don’t post a selfie in a sunflower field, did summer even happen? The Sidor Farms Sunflower Maze in Mattituck is typically open for all your Instagram needs by the first week of August (but watch their own feed for updates). These beautiful crops provide the sunflower oil used to make North Fork Potato Chips, so be sure to pick up a bag at the onsite farm stand. For details, instagram.com/northforkchips.
Put Local Wine to the Test, August 4
The North Fork Table & Inn in Southold will be hosting wine classes one Wednesday each month, beginning in May. The August edition (exact date to be announced) should be especially fun: East vs. West: Wine Country Royale pits three North Fork wines against California wines of the same varietals in a blind tasting. Can Long Island pull the upset, Judgment-of-Paris style? For details, northforktableandinn.com.
Shuck Some Oysters, August 5
It’s National Oyster Day, which is as good a reminder as any to stop by your nearest North Fork oyster stand. For storage and shucking tips, check out the YouTube channel from Peeko Oysters owner Peter Stein — or schedule a private tour of the New Suffolk farm to hone your shucking technique in person. For details, peekooysters.com.
Float Your Homemade Boat, August 7
Create your own vessel out of cardboard and duct tape — or just cheer from the sidelines — at The Riverhead Cardboard Boat Race on the Peconic Riverfront. There will be multiple regattas and prizes for best constructed, most creative and more. Rain date August 8. For details, downtownriverhead.org.
Experience Music and Meteors, August 14
Head to the Custer Institute & Observatory in Southold for a unique outdoor concert, Dust from the Stars: A Reflection. The ambient art-rock collective Blow Up Hollywood will perform on the lawn while overhead, attendees can try to catch a glimpse of the dramatic Perseid Meteor Shower. Following the concert, get a guided look at the cosmos through the many telescopes on site. For details, custerobservatory.org.
Toast a Shelter Island Icon, August 21
Celebrate summer and the newly restored 1810 Dominy Windmill at the Sylvester Manor Windmill Party from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. You’ll enjoy cocktails on the beautiful grounds of this historic plantation and working organic farm while raising money to support its programs. For details, sylvestermanor.org.
Have All the Watermelon You Can Eat, August 21-22
Get your fill of the sweet treat at the Harbes Annual Watermelon Harvest at Harbes Farm & Vineyard in Mattituck from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. There will be watermelon ice cream, live music, the Barnyard Adventure play area for kids and the Harbes Wine Barn for grown-ups. For details, harbesfamilyfarm.com.
Sail Off Into the Sunset, August 31
Make that last summer sunset even more special by viewing it from the water. In Greenport, sign up for a sunset cruise to Bug Light lighthouse with the East End Seaport Museum or splurge on a private charter for up to 6 people with Layla Sailing. It’s the last week of summer, after all. For details, eastendseaport.org or laylasailing.com.