North Fork Scavenger Hunt invites everyone to explore famous landmarks, find iconic treasures, and learn the local history of the North Fork.
These adventures, which are around two-and-a-half-hours, offer visitors and locals alike to take a trip back in time and discover many hidden gems across the North Fork. Currently, two tours are available — one brings explorers from Aquebogue to Peconic and the other sends people through Greenport and into Orient.
“It’s a great way to learn about the area,” said founder Mike Malkush. “I’ve been coming out to the North Fork since I was in 8th grade and I just love it. There is so much history here from the vineyards and restaurants and farm stands to the beaches. It’s very Americana.”
North Fork Scavenger Hunt is a passion project for Malkush, who also founded North Fork Vintage Cars and North Fork Designated Driver. The idea to host a small-town scavenger hunt came to him two years ago, during a visit to California to see his daughter.
“It was a really interesting way to get from point A to point B in this small town while also learning about its history,” Malkush said. “I thought it would be a great idea to bring to the North Fork and it’s been a dream of mine to do ever since.”
As a former teacher, Malkush had a lot of ideas on how to challenge people during the scavenger hunt without making the clues overly difficult. He brainstormed for the next several months and developed a series of multiple-choice and fill-in-the-blank questions that take people down the country roads and scenic routes of the North Fork. Each tour allows people to explore over 20 iconic landmarks and roadside attractions as well as find a few treasures off the beaten path.
The Greenport to Orient tour includes a “walking tour” portion, where participants will get the chance to traverse the same streets as sailors in the 18th century and learn about the village’s maritime history.
The Aquebogue to Peconic tour option is like a mini road trip. Malkush, who loves vintage automobiles and car culture, wanted North Fork Scavenger Hunt to be a go-at-your-own-pace and self-guided experience that you can do from the comfort of your car.
“[NFSH] is for anyone and everyone to do,” he said. “You can have two to five people in your party or as many seatbelts as you have in your car. It’s the perfect activity to do with the whole family, on a first date, or we even have options for ‘team building’ activities for your company.”
Interested parties can book through Malkush’s website, which has time slots available every 15 minutes. Once a reservation has been made, an access code will provide access to a “browser-based app” where the questions will be made available one at a time as the clues are solved.
Malkush is excited to share his favorite “secret spots” with other locals as well as people visiting the North Fork. While there are only two options for scavenger hunt tours, he hopes to add more by early 2024.
“We used to say that the North Fork was the best-kept secret of Long Island,” said Malkush. “Although it’s not really that anymore, we’ve developed these scavenger hunts to share our love of the North Fork with others.”
Self-guided tours through North Fork Scavenger Hunt are available seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and are $24.99 per party.