Wednesday, July 11, 2012
I Try Out My New Jersey on the North Fork and Shelter Island
Contrary to what most people think, the North Fork is largely rural, and a great place to ride, with open roads, lots of water views, and excellent food. In the off season, it is largely deserted, and so is a cycling destination in itself. My ride started in Mattituck, with parking at the train station free, convenient, and close to food and markets on Love Lane, the main street.
The countryside begins close to town, and the route to Greenport is mostly flattish to rolling, with good, non crowded roads most of the way. The North Fork never gets urban, and even main roads have adequate shoulders.
Compared with the South Fork of Long Island, there is very little glitz here. Farm stands abound, and there are about twenty five wineries on this fork alone. It is usual to see small stands on the side of the road selling local produce.
The ferry from Greenport to Shelter Island runs frequently and costs $5 round trip for cyclist and bike combined. This island is located between the forks, or fish tail of Long Island, and offers excellent flat to rolling cycling. There are lots of wonderful views and little vehicular traffic. When I come here off season I virtually own the place. Don't expect to see loads of tourists, restaurants, or services here. The major theme is the inherent natural beauty of the island. Yes, from 1909 to 1930, they cut large blocks of ice from the above pond and shipped them to NYC. After that, modern refrigeration killed the business.