They exist everywhere. Certain towns that are beacons for tourists and travelers, or for people who just want to spend a sunny summer day exploring the quaint shops and walking along the small-town streets. Two such towns exist along the shoreline of Long Island Sound, located in western Suffolk County, so the burden of driving too far is minimal. If you already live nearby, it is quite easy to simply wake up, grab a quick bite to eat, and drive over to your intended destination.
Northport is a historic town, and still carries a sentimental feeling of old town grace. Settled in the early 1600s, the town is somewhat small but nevertheless remarkably quaint. Upon arriving in Northport, you will travel directly down Main Street to the parking areas, situated almost at the coastline overlooking the gently rolling tide slapping against the docks and pilings.
Main Street is where you will explore most of what Northport has to offer, including many unique shops where you can purchase anything from trendy clothing to handmade candles and new age items, and restaurants where you you can dine on anything from light fare to gourmet cuisine.
After shopping, you may want to take a stroll through the numerous side-streets into the residential areas, where you can marvel at theTraditional and Victorian style homes, some of them painted and decorated extravagantly. At the far end of Main Street, you arrive at the water, where you can sit and relax on the docks, or spread out blanket in the large grassy expanse that borders the dock area.
Make sure to seek out a calendar of events, the town hosts everything from parades to concerts, holiday celebrations, craft fairs and art shows!
Northport holds a special place in my heart as well, as I can remember traveling there numerous times as a child, and purchasing handfuls of candy from one of the novelty shops, in addition to learning to windsurf and water-ski. Not too long ago, it was also a day’s excursion with my wife, where we shared a fabulous wandering the town and enjoying a fine meal in one of the town’s cozy restaurants.
Another town that immediately springs to mind as a perfect summer day is Port Jefferson. Larger than Northport, you can easily spend the day here exploring many upscale boutiques and a plethora of art galleries. You can walk casually through the quaint streets or along the docks, but be prepared for large crowds in the summer months, and be prepared to come early in order to find a decent parking space.
Port Jefferson also boasts a small beach, several parks, and a multitude of historic and Victorian style buildings. Be sure to visit the newly built Village Center, where you are sure to find a different event nearly every week, from craft shows to historical exhibits. In the winter, it is the site of the annual Dickens Ball, an activity related to the yearly Dickens Festival, in which the town is transformed into a scene straight out of Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’.
For dining, you will have no trouble finding exquisite Italian, fresh seafood, of a juicy steak. And after your meal, you can find myriad nightlife activities, ranging from jazz clubs to Danfords on the Sound, a fine dining establishment with a trendy dance club.
There is definitely a small-town friendliness in the air as you walk the streets of Port Jefferson, and if you don’t live nearby, you may want to extend your stay for the weekend, staying in Danford’s Inn, a charming hotel, and enjoying a few hours in the spa.
Choose either town in any season, and you will find yourself in a town full of charm, beauty, and unrestrained enthusiasm.