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Curating and writing about lifestyle on the North Fork is a really fun job. One that allows me to play the role of tastemaker, adventurer and food critic all at once, but, I’m not going to lie, when it comes to the magazines each issue has its challenges. Typically, it’s a story falling off after we’ve planned for it or a last-minute creative shift that leaves us scrambling a bit but our Best Of issue presents a whole different type of struggle. How do you narrow down the best of the very best? It’s a nearly impossible task — one that requires many meetings, much agonizing, and some exciting yet heated discussions, emails, and Slack chats. 

I’ve always been a very decisive person, easily able to narrow down a list be it paint chip samples or a whole box of Warby Parker eyeglasses. Yes, I consider this a good and helpful character trait. However, thinking back to our first year of Best Of selections I recall feeling batty and overwhelmed by the thought of narrowing down some of the best spots in the world (yup, world!) into a relatively small list, but in our third year of Best Of, I finally feel like we’re hitting a groove. Not only by our northforker team but with help from our readers as you vote for the reader’s choice picks each July. These votes help infuse our final Best Of lists with your thoughts. And here is your gentle reminder to be sure to vote for your favorites on until July 21. 

In this year’s Best Of picks, you’ll not only see familiar faces and local mainstays but some new selections that we’ve found equal parts irresistible and inspirational. From a frozen treat that’s taking the North Fork by storm to a new chapter for a long-time North Fork nursery. You’ll also find some new chefs and some new music you’ll want in your repertoire. 

The businesses, artisans, experts, curators, and overall level of excellence found within these pages are simply astonishing, and, how lucky are we to get to experience it all within a mere 35 miles? 

Michelina Da Fonte

Content Director