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Melissa Hobley is a North Fork resident and chief marketing officer at OKCupid. (Credit: David Benthal)

“You know the cliché, ‘I love long walks on the beach?’ The joke is, you can really do that here!”

Melissa Hobley knows romance — it’s her job. The global chief marketing officer for dating site OkCupid moved full-time to Laurel from the city with her family during the COVID-19 pandemic and isn’t looking back.

Hobley is immersed in the dating world by trade.

“I have the fun job at OkCupid,” said Hobley. “I get to do all the marketing initiatives and influencers and some product stuff, too.”

One thing Hobley loves about her job is that OkCupid is very holistic. You find your matches based on specific things you’re passionate about, whether it’s politics or social issues or hobbies and interests.

Hobley, of course, is particularly interested in the North Fork and thinks it’s a perfect spot for dating.

“The North Fork is so beautiful, and beautiful areas are a great starting place for romance,” she said. “I think that the North Fork puts you in this romantic mindset already, and you’re kind of up for love. After COVID and how difficult it was, people are so ready for it. When you come out here, it’s hard to not slow down a little bit. So you can slow down, drink great wine, have great food … so you’re up for sharing that with someone and making out after the Sparkling Pointe bubbles!”

We sat down with Hobley to plan out two perfect dates on the North Fork. The first is for hopeful couples just getting to know each other, while the second is ideal for a serious relationship.

Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. in Peconic.

The ‘early days’ date

If you’ve been seeing someone and it’s still casual, these ideas for a light afternoon and evening on the North Fork will make for a fun and varied date.

A boozy brunch:
“Start the date a little later and do brunch at Bruce & Son.”

Hang at the brewery:

“Head to Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. It’s really easy! There’s often live music on the weekend. You can try a few of their beers, they also have nibbles.”

A walk and a picnic on the beach:

“I like the idea of going somewhere like New Suffolk or Veterans Beach. Go to the Village Cheese Shop in Mattituck, get some amazing cheeses, get a baguette, grab some Croteaux rosé or Paumanok white and then go sit on the beach with your cheese and wine and have a walk.”

Do an activity:

“Go to Little Creek Oysters and they’ll teach you how to shuck. That’s a cool thing to do. There’s beer, amazing cocktails. You can also order the oysters shucked if you don’t want to do the work.”

A casual dinner:

“I love the barbecue at Green Hill Kitchen. That’s also a nice spot because there’s often live music,
you can get a burger and have a casual, fun dinner.”

Kontokosta Winery in Greenport. (Credit: Randee Daddona)

For the serious relationship

“This is a really packed date,” said Hobley. “There’s a lot here. If you hit half of this you’re good!”

Start with a coffee and stroll:

“Grab your coffee and walk the shops in Southold. You’ve got White Flower Farmhouse,
Arnie Paperie, a bunch of great spots.”

A late-morning pick-me-up:

“Go to Southold General for a nibble. Because of famous Michelin-star chef [Francois Payard], you have to get a pastry.”

Hit the wineries:

“I love Kontokosta because you can walk and look at the water and the wine’s lovely. Croteaux is a dreamy little spot, or Sparkling Pointe! Bubbles make anything romantic.”

Head to Greenport:

“Have a cocktail at Black Llama. Get some oysters. Do a little shopping at Times Vintage,
or the shop at American Beech. Buzzed shopping is fun!”

A seaside dinner:

“Go to Fortino’s for a lovely dinner. It’s got great lighting, you’re right on the water. You can stroll and get dessert at Ralph’s Italian Ice. And then maybe a drink at Alpina at the end.”

Another dinner option:

“You’ll want to do Halyard. The food is also amazing there, during the sunset.”