Floral designer Betsy Liegey is constantly inspired by the natural beauty of the North Fork. Her creative inspiration comes from local flower farms, beach walks at Orient State Park and a NOFO nursery that doubles as a garden oasis.
Betsy Liegey always knew she’d end up living in a small town on the East Coast. “I grew up in San Diego, but was always drawn to the east. I love living in a village where you can walk into town and know your neighbors. If I had written a vision journal years ago, this would be exactly what I envisioned.” Betsy and her husband, John, co-founder of Greenport Harbor Brewing Co., live in Greenport Village, and Betsy’s floral design studio, True Elizabeth, is located behind their early 1900s home. “I’ve always loved floral design and even took a year off from my branding career to work for a florist. I never lost my passion for it and finally turned it into a successful business.”
It’s been a long and winding road to get here. Betsy and John met in Los Angeles while working at the same advertising agency. (He was an art director and she was a brand strategist.) They later moved to Long Island to raise a family. Eventually, they both left the corporate world behind to become entrepreneurs.
“Now that we’re empty nesters, we decided to buy a place in Greenport and live here full time. It’s a place that nurtures creativity, so being part of this community is inspiring. And where else can you live that’s surrounded by farmland, vineyards, beaches and water everywhere?”
THESE ARE HER FAVORITE NORTH FORK THINGS AS TOLD TO GINA WAY:
FAVORITE FLOWER FARMS
FAVORITE LOCAL STORE
By now, I think everyone knows about White Flower Farmhouse (53995 Main Road in Southold). It’s a wonderful shop filled with old and new pieces for your home. Owner Lori Guyer got me started as a floral designer by selling my bouquets at her shop and it just somersaulted from there.
FAVORITE BEACH WALK
It’s fun to forage around in nature for arrangements that I’m working on. The rocks and driftwood along the shore at Orient Beach State Park (40000 Main Road) are so unique and beautiful. Walking my dog on the beach here, I can look out at Plum Island, the Orient Point Lighthouse and the Cross Sound Ferry. It feels like a fairy tale.
FAVORITE GARDEN INSPIRATION
Landcraft Garden Foundation in Mattituck (4342 Grand Ave.) is a wonderland. The gardens are open to the public and it’s a wonderful place if you’re looking for inspiration. There are four acres of different tended gardens with ponds, meadows and art sculptures. The Peconic River Herb Farm in Calverton (2749 River Road) is an unbelievably beautiful landscape for a special event, and I’ve done quite a few weddings here. There’s also a big picnic area, ponds and so many spectacular gardens to explore. And, there’s a garden store where you can grab a wagon and shop.
The big grassy field at Greenport Harbor Brewing Company in Peconic (42155 Main Road) has become this really fun place where friends get together all year round. There are bands playing music, outdoor fire pits going in the wintertime, kids playing on the grass in the spring and summer. This spring, I’ll be doing a pop-up “Bloom Bar,” with bouquets and arrangements for sale.
FAVORITE NEIGHBORHOOD RESTAURANT
We live down the street from First and South Restaurant and Bar (100 South St., Greenport), and it’s one of those places that everyone in town knows and loves. The food is always delicious, the vibe is so welcoming and cozy and we always run into someone we know there.
FAVORITE SUNSET COCKTAILS
The Low Tide Beach Bar at the Sound View (58775 Route 48 in Greenport) is a fun place to have a drink and enjoy a spectacular sunset. The renovation of the Sound View, which used to be an old motel, is exquisite. The piano bar there is really cool, with gorgeous red banquettes and the original wooden bar.
FAVORITE SECRET BOOKSTORE
The Southold Library Book Cottage (53705 Main Road) is a hidden gem located behind the library. This tiny used book shop is open a few hours each week is packed with all kinds of books and magazines, and everything is a dollar! You can also donate gently used books here.
FAVORITE DOUBLE DATE NIGHT
John and I love to meet up with his brewery business partner Rich Vandenburgh and his wife, Ann, for dinner at Touch of Venice (28350 Main Road in Cutchogue). We’ll cozy up at the corner of their big bar and have drinks and the most delicious dinner. Their beef Bolognese is exceptional.
FAVORITE ICE CREAM
When our kids were young and before we moved to Greenport, we’d go to Magic Fountain Homemade Ice Cream in Mattituck (9825 Main Road) on the way home to Port Washington. Now that the boys are older, they’ll stop here whenever they visit. It’s a vintage 1960s-era ice cream store with the most delectable flavors, like lavender and avocado — although I’m boring and always order the chocolate chocolate chip.
FAVORITE WEEKEND ACTIVITY
North Fork yard sales happen every Saturday in the spring, summer and fall and they are incredible. There are dozens of them every weekend and they’re listed in the back of the Suffolk Times and the News-Review. It’s really fun to get up early on Saturday morning and hit the yard sales with coffee and cash in hand! There are so many treasures to find, like vintage planters, vases and furniture.