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B&Bs are an intimate, distinct way to experience the North Fork. (Photo credit: David Benthal)

It takes a certain personality and an extraordinary level of dedication to open your home to guests. The Farmhouse, The Inn at Orient, The Coffey House and Sannino Vineyard Bed and Breakfast have all figured out the formula to curating a memorable North Fork experience for their B&B guests. 

Creating the conditions for a standout experience for every guest who stays at a North Fork bed-and-breakfast is no easy feat. From gathering locally sourced ingredients for breakfast to choosing the right decor, the attention to detail must be spot-on in order to keep visitors coming back every season. 

There are four key factors that potential B&B owners should keep in mind when creating an inviting place for their guests: selecting decor to match the atmosphere of the building, cultivating a memorable getaway, building connections with and between guests and showcasing local ingredients. 

Each B&B on the North Fork excels with different variations on these fundamental factors. No two are alike, whether it’s a B&B on a vineyard or one that mimics a globe-trotter’s lodging house, these B&Bs have all conjured unique atmospheres for themselves, offering guests a place to relax as they escape the chaos of city life. 


Though not always themed, the decor in these four B&Bs brings a one-of-a-kind ambiance to each establishment. Three out of the four B&Bs are 19th-century historic sites, their character already long established, with the fourth being a new construction that mimics historic architecture. 

Tracy Sutton wasn’t even shopping for a B&B when she purchased The Inn at Orient in 2020. She and her husband were looking for a residential home for their family. But when they came across the 1906 inn and realized it was a bed and breakfast, the couple decided to embark on the adventure of running it themselves.

“When we moved in, it was very dark, even on a sunny day,” Sutton said. “The paneling and moldings were all dark wood. We wanted to bring it up to the 21st century and give it some life, but still keep the history and character of the house.” 

Over the past three years, the Suttons have continued remodeling the home. Maintaining the original structure, they’ve sanded, repainted and matched elements of the architecture, such as the moldings and paneling throughout the bottom floor. Many aspects of the inn, like the guest foyer, retain multiple elements from the original construction. 

While they hired plumbers and carpenters to aid in the renovations, Tracy and her husband have done the majority of the work themselves. 

“I like a mixture of antique rustic, kind of modern industrial elements as far as design and I wanted to make sure my vision came true,” she said.

Her decor, mostly antiques from around the world, complements the globe-trotting spirit of the 117-year-old home. A lifelong antique collector, Sutton uses the trunks and statues she’s collected to make it feel as if travelers from around the world have left their mark on the rooms. 

“For example, I brought back banana leaf prints with me from Africa,” she said. “When I was designing one of the rooms, it matched perfectly with the four-poster bed and patterned rug, and so it became the African-inspired room.” 

Sutton had no overarching theme when it came to designing the home. Instead, she said, everything sort of came together as construction began. Although the design and renovation experience is new to her, she decorates with the goal of making guests feel comfortable during their stay. 

“It starts with high quality items like sheets and linens that can really change the experience of the guest,” she said. “It’s not every day that you can walk into a house that has this much character. When you love something, whether it’s the house or decor, you want to show it off.” 


Most B&B owners have worked in the hospitality industry, or at least have experience hosting people in their own homes, long before making the decision to buy and run their own. 

More than 30 years ago, Lisa Ann Sannino was working in corporate America. During her annual performance review, she was asked where she saw herself in the next 10 years. Her answer? Owning a bed-and-breakfast.

Sannino B&B opened in 2009 on the grounds of Sannino Vineyard in Cutchogue. Two bungalows on either side of the Sannino’s family home offer an escape for those who seeking a romantic weekend in the Tuscan countryside — without the hassle of a seven-hour flight.

“I help accommodate couples looking to get away,” Sannino said. “I’ll make suggestions for the most romantic restaurants and help make reservations. I also work with two local day spas, so if guests want a couples massage, I can coordinate that in their room.” 

Mimicking Italian agriturismo, or agriculture-based B&B, the rooms are known as the villa and the suite. The enchanting oasis comes with picturesque views of the expansive vineyard and grand wood-paneled doors that look as if they were shipped directly from Tuscany. 

Sannino said she aims to kindle an air of romance by decorating both rooms with lush reds and golds, with rustic cement tiling in the bathrooms and kitchenettes. Sannino Vineyards wine is displayed on racks in each room as well, giving guests the option to pamper themselves further.

“I want to create an experience where guests can come here and unwind,” she said. “I’ve made this a perfect getaway for people to recharge their batteries. I want them to just enjoy their time in this beautiful scenery; take a minute to themselves and refill their cup.” 


This Memorial Day weekend, The Coffey House will celebrate 15 years of building memorable connections for their guests. Rick and Ellie Coffey built upon the original 1886 structure in East Marion after purchasing it in 2002. They expertly replicated the practical and uncomplicated country charm exemplified in the original house. Furnishing the rooms with antiques discovered during their travels throughout Long Island, Pennsylvania and even Washington, guests are transported back to the 19th century. 

The couple stayed in B&Bs numerous times before they made the decision to open their own, and used their experiences to inform their own B&B.

“We stayed in B&Bs all the time when we were on vacation,” said Rick Coffey. “During that time, we took mental notes of things we didn’t like, such as sharing bathrooms with other guests. When it came to building our B&B in 2002, we wanted to make sure that every guest had the privacy of an en suite bathroom.” 

Choosing to stay at a B&B means sharing space not only with the homeowners, but other guests as well. The Coffeys accommodate for those who want to socialize and those who prefer a more private experience.

“I like the quaintness of a B&B,” said Ellie Coffey. “You go to a larger hotel and everything is cookie-cutter. We wanted to give a warm and welcoming feeling to our guests staying in our home.” 

Their home presents an inviting tableau for all kinds of guests. The dining area consists of multiple antique tables, both inside and — when the weather permits — outside on a terrace. This part of the house was designed with larger tables where guests are invited to mingle with each other. If guests prefer to dine privately, there are smaller tables. 

“We have many common rooms, such as our living room, and our basement has a pool table and entertainment area,” said Ellie Coffey. “We want guests to interact with each other. Rick and I love it when we hear laughter from two separate parties who have built a connection with one another during their stay.” 


Anne McElroy and Bruce Brownawell retired from their teaching positions at Stony Brook University in January 2022. Rather than taking a vacation or moving to Florida, the couple prepared to entertain their first guests at their recently purchased B&B, located in a 19th-century farmhouse.

The Farmhouse Bed & Breakfast is surrounded by rolling acres of farmland in Cutchogue. When the couple purchased the home in 2018, they wanted to continue to maintain the agricultural feel of the region. Both scientists and lovers of nature, McElroy and Brownawell encourage guests to appreciate the beauty of the region. 

“We decorated with an eclectic farmhouse feel in mind,” McElroy said. “A few of the pieces of furniture we have around the house we bought from the former owners, but the rest we already owned and matched the house perfectly. I also made a lot of the curtains to match the decor of some of the rooms.”

With 13 chickens laying fresh eggs every morning and three alpacas on the property, guests can experience the rustic farmhouse lifestyle in real time. Throughout the spring and summer, the pair maintain a large garden in the backyard, growing fruits, vegetables and flowers for their guests to enjoy. 

“I make breakfast for our guests with everything out of our garden, or locally sourced from other farms around us,” McElroy said. “I’m always making baked goods and fresh blackberry jam with the berries we grow or I’ll make quiches with our tomatoes and eggs. I’ll make homemade yogurt with the milk we get from a dairy farm in Mattituck. 

“We really want to highlight the beautiful agriculture we have here in the North Fork,” she said. “It’s why we decided to make it our home in the first place.”