Cozy On The North Fork: Visits To Alpina, RGNY, & LUMBER + salt

Kelly Siry of @NOFO_Endless_Summer at Alpina

As the winter chill settles in, casting a quiet hush over the landscape, my quest for warmth and coziness on the North Fork has become a seasonal ritual. There’s something enchanting about embracing the brisk air in oversized wool sweaters and well-worn leather boots, seeking refuge in places that radiate an inviting warmth. 

In the heart of this picturesque region, where vineyards and antique shops intertwine, I’ve discovered my top three havens for experiencing winter bliss. First on the list is Alpina, a charming gem nestled in the heart of Greenport, serving hearty Swiss Italian-inspired cuisine. 

For a whimsical experience, I found myself at RGNY in Riverhead, where winter magic takes the form of sleigh rides through the sprawling vineyards. The crisp air, the rhythmic sound of hooves on snow, and the breathtaking views create an enchanting atmosphere that transports you to a winter wonderland. It’s a delightful way to embrace the season and make memories that linger long after the snow has melted. 

And then there’s the hidden gem within LUMBER + salt, an antique shop in Jamesport, where I stumbled upon the coziest coffee shop. Tucked away from the hustle and bustle, it’s a sanctuary for coffee enthusiasts and those seeking solace in a warm cup. Surrounded by vintage treasures and the comforting aroma of freshly brewed coffee, it’s a haven that invites you to linger and savor the simple joys of winter.

Photo by Tiffany Collado

RGNY, Riverhead 

Nestled amidst the picturesque landscapes of RGNY Vineyard, a unique and enchanting experience awaits. RGNY Vineyard is now offering horse-drawn carriage rides through their sprawling vineyards, allowing patrons to immerse themselves in the beauty of the terroir while indulging in a cozy and memorable adventure.

The two-hour experience begins with a warm welcome at RGNY Vineyard, where visitors are invited to learn about Long Island’s distinctive terroir — the unique combination of soil, climate, and topography that imparts specific characteristics to the grapes. As guests sip on spiced Mexican hot chocolate from exclusive RGNY tumblers, they can appreciate the vineyard’s commitment to a minimal-intervention approach, allowing the true essence of the grapes to shine through.

Photo by Tiffany Collado

The day’s highlight is the 30-minute guided horse-drawn carriage tour around the expansive property. Visitors are treated to breathtaking views of the vineyard’s lush landscape as the gentle horses navigate through the rows of grapevine. The rhythmic clip-clop of hooves on the earth sets a serene ambiance, making this experience a perfect blend of nature and tranquility.

Upon returning to the tasting room, guests can warm up with a flight of their choice from RGNY Vineyard’s exquisite selection of wines. Whether you prefer a crisp white, a robust red, or something in between, there’s a wine to suit every palate. Accompanying the flight is the indulgent cheese board, a carefully curated selection of cheeses that perfectly complements the vineyard’s varietals.

Photo by Courtney Fitt

Priced at $100 per person, plus tax and gratuity calculated at checkout, this two-hour escapade offers more than just a carriage ride. For those who prefer non-alcoholic options, a package priced at $75 ensures that everyone can partake in the experience, enjoying the warmth of hot cocoa and delectable bites.

One of the unique aspects of this experience is the ample photo opportunities. Capture the beauty of the vineyard, the elegance of the horses, and the joy of the moment as you create lasting memories surrounded by nature’s bounty.

RGNY Vineyard’s horse-drawn carriage rides perfectly blend adventure, relaxation, and indulgence. Whether you’re a wine enthusiast or simply looking for a charming day out, this experience promises to be a highlight in the heart of Long Island’s wine country. This experience is being offered on Saturdays through January and February. Book your journey through the vines at RGNY Vineyard and treat yourself to an unforgettable winter escape into the beauty of nature and the rich flavors of the region.

LUMBER + Salt, Jamesport 

LUMBER + Salt, the stunningly curated salvage shop in Jamesport, has unveiled a new addition to its space — a cozy coffee shop that seamlessly blends vintage charm with artisanal beverages. Step into a transformed section of the showroom and find yourself in a warm and inviting atmosphere where the aroma of freshly brewed coffee mingles with the scent of reclaimed wood and aged artifacts.

At the heart of this unique experience, they proudly serve local coffee purveyor Jamesport Sourdough & Coffee Co., plus freshly baked goods like scones, muffins, and cookies from Main Road Biscuit Co. The menu boasts a carefully curated selection of coffee beverages, from rich espresso drinks to comforting pour-overs, all prepared with precision and passion.

For those who prefer tea, LUMBER + Salt has collaborated with The Herb Loft to feature locally sourced organic teas. Immerse yourself in the diverse and nuanced flavors, embracing the comforting warmth of a carefully steeped cup.

As you enjoy your beverage, sit on vintage church pews lovingly repurposed for comfort. Surrounded by an eclectic mix of vintage re-wired lighting, reclaimed lumber, architectural salvage, art, and objects, each piece tells a story and adds to the unique character of the space. The ambiance is nostalgic and contemporary, inviting patrons to relax and appreciate the craftsmanship of the antiques and carefully crafted beverages.

Whether you’re a seasoned antique enthusiast or simply seeking a cozy spot to savor a cup of exceptional coffee or tea, LUMBER + Salt’s new café offers a one-of-a-kind experience. It’s a place where the past meets the present, and every detail is thoughtfully curated to create a warm and inviting haven for locals and visitors alike. The store is open Friday through Monday, from 9 AM to 4 PM, and the café serves Friday to Sunday, from 9 AM to 4 PM.

Alpina, Greenport 

In the heart of Greenport, a hidden gem awaits those seeking warmth and indulgence this winter season. Alpina is a charming restaurant that seamlessly blends Swiss and Italian flavors to create a culinary haven that promises hearty winter delights.

As you step into Alpina, you’re greeted by a warm and cozy atmosphere reminiscent of an Alpine chalet. The flickering candlelight casts a gentle glow on wooden furnishings, creating an inviting ambiance perfect for a leisurely winter meal.

One of Alpina’s standout offerings is the decadent raclette; a spectacle served tableside over a classic bed of steamed local fingerlings, cornichon, and pickled pearl onion. The rich, melted cheese cascades over the golden potatoes, creating a mouthwatering display that embodies winter comfort. It’s a dish that not only warms the body but also the soul.

The Swiss onion soup at Alpina is a must-try for those seeking a comforting start. The robust flavors of caramelized onions and savory broth create a sensation that lingers, offering a perfect prelude to the culinary journey that awaits. This dish is also served with raclette, a cheese lover’s dream.

Chef Humberto’s winter chicory salad brings vibrancy, featuring crisp heritage varieties of this winter staple, house-made ricotta, and crispy prosciutto. This refreshing ensemble balances the richness of other dishes and adds a delightful play of textures to your dining experience.

Darling copper pots grace the tables at Alpina, cradling the accompaniment Spätzle, a Swiss-German egg pasta served topped with Züri Gschnätzlets — veal loin strips cooked in a wild mushroom cream sauce. Served tableside, this dish celebrates comfort and tradition, enticing diners with its hearty simplicity.

Alpina boasts an extensive list of regional European wines, beers, and ciders to complement the culinary offerings. The knowledgeable staff is ready to guide you through the selection, ensuring a perfect pairing for your meal.

Alpina’s highly knowledgeable mixologist, Jhon, elevates the dining experience with his suggestions of Amaros and digestifs plus quintessential alluring spirit eau de vie schnapps or un-aged fruit brandies. The mixed cocktails are nothing short of decadent and innovative, adding a modern twist to the restaurant’s classic Alpine charm.

My experience was nothing short of what you would expect après ski in the Alps. Alpina is a haven for those seeking a winter retreat on the North Fork. With its warm ambiance, hearty Swiss Italian dishes, and a carefully curated selection of spirits, Alpina promises a culinary journey that transcends the ordinary, leaving you with memories of indulgence and satisfaction.

So, as the winter months unfold, I invite you to join me on this journey to discover the coziest corners of the North Fork. From the culinary delights of Alpina to the enchanting sleigh rides at RGNY and the hidden coffee haven in LUMBER + salt, these destinations promise to be the perfect antidote to the winter blahs. Grab your oversized sweater and leather boots, and let’s embark on a winter adventure that’s equal parts warmth, charm, and delicious. 

Follow more of my North Fork adventures @NOFO_Endless_Summer. 

Kelly Siry


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