My husband and I haven't traveled without the kids for an overnight since they were born and they are now 7 and 8. We were extremely lucky to be invited to go on the Cross Sound Ferry to Long Island to check out the wineries, a farm and the lovely area of North Fork. I had no idea this ferry in Connecticut was so easy to get to and after 80 minutes on the Ferry we would be in Long Island, NY with tons of beauty to explore.
The Ferry drops you off in Orient Point which is in the heart of Long Island Wine Country. If you are a planner like me I highly suggest you visit Long Island Weekends at http://liweekends.com/. It is an awesome resource to help. This site was created is operated by Caspari McCormick and the Cross Sound Ferry. The site lists fewer options but more in-depth reviews with pictures. Check it out before travelling.
The Cross Sound Ferry is in New London and has many family attractions nearby. It is also very close to Mystic Aquarium which we have visited many times. I have more coverage on Mystic Aquarium and Mystic Seaport here. Right next to the Ferry is this cool US Coast Guard boat and the Coast Guard Museum.
The Ferry was so easy to get to. We drove from near Boston and it was an easy 2 hour ride. There is also an Amtrak train right there if you would prefer. Parking at the Ferry was only $10. On the boat there is food service and even some games for the kids. Plus you can drive your car right on to the boat and take it to Long Island.
From talking to the locals they explained that public transportation is not the best on Long Island so bringing your car might be the best option. If you don't want to bring your car I recommend Vintage Tours. They did the driving when we were there and they were very knowledgeable and super nice. The guides have worked more than 20 years in the Long Island wine industry. If you’re up for a bit more exercise, you can even bike between wineries. If you chose not to take the car they do have a high-speed, passenger-only service on the Sea Jet I and makes the trip only 40 minutes.
We arrived and went to The Loft Restaurant. The food was wonderful and everyone was raving about the cookies which had a great filling in them. Even the chocolate chip cookie was filled with chocolate. The decor was really cute and I enjoyed that there was a airplane hanging.
Now on to the wineries!
The last time I had been to wineries for wine tasting was when we went to Napa California so I was very excited to find there were so many high quality wineries so close to home. Our tour began at Bedell Cellars.
In a little over a quarter of a century, the Long Island wine industry has grown from one small vineyard to over 50 producers of world-class wines and over 3,000 acres of vines. In 2013, Wine Enthusiast Magazine named the North and South Forks of Long Island among their “10 Best Wine Travel Destinations.”
We were able to hear directly from the wine maker. He explained how they don't add anything to their wines and how this family-owned estate is thirty years old. You could tell the care that goes in to making their wine.
We got to see the vineyard. The wine maker explained that these vines would grow over our head in the next couple of months. They only use grapes grown at their vineyard. They have 78 acres of land.
We then went back inside to try out some of the wines.
All of the wines were wonderful and I got to try some varieties I had never had before. This was my favorite, the Viognier. I had never had it before.
In fact how could they not be fantastic, their Merlot was served at the Presidential Inaugural Luncheon. If this wine is good enough for the President, I would say it is more than good enough for me. This is the Musee.
Another winery we went to for a lovely reception was Kontokosta Winery.
It was absolutely gorgeous!
Plus it is right on the waterfront. It was beautiful walking on the grounds.
We were treated to wine directly from the barrel that had not even been bottled yet.
They even sold infused olive oils here which looked amazing. The wine was absolutely wonderful.
They also had wonderful food from Noah's. The Beer and Bacon Glazed Almonds were the talk of the party. The food was a tapas style and really good.
Here I am in their production area at Kontokosta.
They have a beautiful Carousel in North Folk that Northrop Grumman donated. They were nice enough to start it up for us to take a ride.
I have many more photos posted here in this slide show.
We stayed at the Harborfront Inn which was lovely. It was central to restaurants, within walking distance of the carousel and a brewery, bed and breakfasts, and bars.
The lobby area was adorable and they had coffee and a continental breakfast out in the morning.
We had a beautiful view out our window and could see the boats coming in and out of the port.
The bathroom was beautiful with a lovely sink and shower. The bed was super comfortable.
In the morning we headed to The Harvest Inn for breakfast. This Bed and Breakfast was built to be a Bed and Breakfast. The Host Christopher was an excellent cook and cooked us a gourmet breakfast.
The grounds are beautiful. This Bed and Breakfast is even within walking distance to a beach, and many wineries. Plus they have Wine Camp! Finally a camp for adults.
We then went on to Harbes Family Farm which was one day away from opening so they were working fast and furiously to get the farm ready for guests.
This farm had so many fun activities for the kids plus the Sweet Corn they sell there sounded amazing!
The Barnyard Adventure is an area my kids would absolutely love. Farm animals, an area to mine rocks, play area, pig races, bounce house, small tractors to ride and more. It is definitely a place you could spend a full day with the family.
Look at this adorable little bunny rabbit!
Hi there goats.
There is even a corn maze.
Their vineyard is right there too so we entered their barn where they do wine tasting.
It was beautiful in there but what really struck me was the markings on the wall of farmers counts of potatoes. You can see these counts from 1929. So cool!
I have many more photos of Harbes Farm and Vineyard in the following slide show.
Last but not least we went to Orient by the Sea where we had a very tasty parting lunch.
I loved their outside seating area. It was such a beautiful restaurant and the food was amazing!
Above the bar they had this boat hanging with glasses. I thought this was so amazing.
This is the view right in front of the restaurant. It is so beautiful there.
Then sadly it was time for us to head back to Connecticut on the Ferry.
We decided to go to the sundeck to check out the views on our way home.
We got some beautiful parting gifts from Kontokosta Winery North Fork Chips, Briermere Farms, The Candyman, and Long Island Weekends. Everyone was so amazing and welcoming.
Bye, bye Long Island! I can't wait to return!
For complete schedule information or for reservations, go to longislandferry.com or call Cross Sound Ferry at (860) 443-5281 in Connecticut, (631) 323-2525 in New York.
Disclosure: I was provided this entire trip by the Cross Sound Ferry to promote tourism to Long Island. No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.