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If you’ve been meaning the explore North Fork of Long Island—the Hamptons’ low-key counterpart across the Peconic Bay—now’s the time. The “Brooklyn of the East End” has all the makings of a lovely fall getaway: charming towns, top-notch wineries and miles of bucolic scenery. But with so much to do out there, it’s a little overwhelming figuring out where to start.

No problem: Just book a room at the Menhaden. The boutique hotel, which swung its doors open in June, is already a gem with its stylish, nautical decor and a prime downtown location in the North Fork’s unofficial capital of Greenport. But what sets this place apart is the way it goes above and beyond to curate private, local experiences that highlight the region and all it has to offer.

RELATED: 7 Charming Long Island Towns That Aren’t in the Hamptons

tilth and smoke
Courtesy of Tilth & Smoke

Here’s how it works: Just stop by the front desk and the concierge will help set up any of the hotel’s “bespoke experiences” for you. One of our favorites—a tour of a local oyster farm—is scheduled at Southold's Yennicott Oysters, a sustainable farm that lets you get up close to the process of sorting, counting, tumbling and, yes, tasting oysters.

If you love fresh flowers, the Menhaden will send you on your merry way to Tilth + Smoke farm, where you can handpick your own wildflower bouquet. Back at the hotel, you can learn to make impressive seasonal centerpieces through a collaboration with Hometown Flower Co., the folks behind that adorable flower truck you keep seeing on Instagram.

Blessed with knife skills and ready to break free of your cramped city kitchen? The North Fork is easily one of the best places to take a cooking class in the entire state. The Menhaden’s on-site restaurant, The Merchant’s Wife, offers culinary activities like a fall butchery demonstration or a “catch and cook.” For the latter, the hotel can set you up with a local fisherman to haul in your own bonita or striper before preparing it back at the restaurant’s kitchen.

croteaux
Croteaux/Facebook

If you visit in the fall, you’ll get to experience one of the North Fork’s biggest draws: harvest season at the area’s many wineries. In late September and early October, the Menhaden offers an exclusive experience at Croteaux, a vineyard that specializes in dry yet fruity rosés (because let’s be honest, rosé season never really ends).

(Pro tip: There are many, many wineries and farm stands worth visiting. Some of our favorites include Kontokosta Winery, Pindar Vineyards and Sparkling Pointe specifically for bubbles. And cheese lovers should pick up the fresh burrata as well as goat cheese and cow’s milk cheeses at Goodale Farms in nearby Riverhead.)

Other experiences the hotel can hook up for you, depending on the season, include a yoga class on the fabulous rooftop, hunting and fishing excursions, an Instagram-worthy tour of lavender fields, a mozzarella-making class or a vertical wine tasting (the last two are both offered at Shinn Estate Vineyards). There’s even the chance to get your hands dirty as a berry-picking farmer for the day.

claudios
Courtesy of Claudio’s

The hotel is walking distance from the LIRR, so you can skip the hassle of renting a car. But if you do feel like exploring, grab one of the complimentary bikes to cruise around Greenport, or  book a trip in the hotel’s adorable (and eco-friendly) Moke vehicle. If you need destination ideas, we suggest stopping by Claudio’s, a storied waterfront restaurant that’s been in operation since the 1800s, or hanging out at Town Beach and nearby Sound View, where you can grab a meal at sea-to-table restaurant the Halyard.   

Oh, and last but not least: The Menhaden has a private water taxi that can zip you over to Shelter Island, meaning you can check out another picturesque East End locale in the same visit.

menhaden
Courtesy of the Menhaden

Once you do finally spend some QT on the property, you’ll be impressed by the Menhaden’s welcoming, communal vibe. You’ll definitely want to carve out some time to relax on the sunny, plant-filled roof deck, where you can enjoy cocktails and snacks—and in the evening, cozy fire pits and next-level sunsets—while taking in views of the Peconic River and Shelter Island.

Each floor of the hotel has a communal galley—think of it as a semi-private kitchen—complete with retro Smeg fridges, fresh fruit baskets and drawers filled with chips and other salty snacks.

Mornings, you can grab coffee and breakfast pastries in the café, which feels more like a Pinterest-worthy living room with big windows, plush couches and curated bookshelves (filled with items available to buy). Dinner is served (by candlelight!) in the adjacent restaurant, The Merchant’s Wife, where chef Tara Nicosia’s menu includes dishes like a golden beet and artichoke salad, grilled squid and charred octopus, striped bass a la plancha, lamb sliders and an assortment of pizzas and pastas.

menhaden interior
Courtesy of the Menhaden

The rooms—some of which are pet-friendly!—are dressed in neutral tones and crisp white linens, juxtaposed with natural touches like decorative driftwood, birch floors and palm leaves. And the spa-like bathrooms boast oversized showers and heated floors (worth the trip alone, if you ask us).

So, to recap: chic furnishings, plenty of on-site perks and a built-in itinerary of as many local activities as you'd like. Getting away for a weekend has never been easier.

RELATED: Your Next Weekend Escape: Greenport, Long Island

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