WEATHER: LIGHT RAIN THEN CLOUDY
My friend, Manny, was so happy renting a car from his sister and asked me,
“Do you want to go somewhere on Sunday?”
Manny sounded like he forgot to move to his new apartment with that car on the upcoming weekend. I thought he would also have to organize his new place before sightseeing, but whatever…
“Yeah” I answered.
“Where do you wanna go?”
“Maybe wineries in Long Island.”
“Oh” Manny agreed with a little surprise.
Both of us are wine lovers. We talked about visiting wineries several times before, but we hadn’t made it. Because his new place in Queens was close to Nassau County, Long Island, I thought winery was a good idea for a weekend getaway. We decided to go to wineries on upcoming Sunday.
Long Island is largely divided into 3 parts; New York City part (Queens and Brooklyn) on the west, Nassau County in the middle, and Suffolk County on the east. Most wineries are located in Suffolk County. Eastern tip of Long Island, such as Cutchogue or Peconic, is usually famous for good wineries. But they were about 80 miles away from New York City and far for us. We searched closer and interesting wineries and found two in Sayville and St. James, both in Suffolk County, approximately 40 miles away.
I hadn’t visited Long Island for a while. Only the reasons I visited Lond Island were either visiting my friends or using McArthur Airport in Islip for Southwest Airlines. I didn’t imagine doing sightseeing in Long Island, mostly residential area, but the result was pretty fun.
That November was much warmer than average, between 50-60 F (10-15.5 C). It lightly rained on the day we visited but was still warm.
LOCATIONS WE VISITED
Blue: Loughlin Vineyard, Sayville, NY
Red: Whisper Vineyard, St. James, NY
Folk and knife: Jordan Lobster Farm, Island Park, NY
First, we visited Loughlin Vineyard in Sayville (blue mark on the map), located in the south coast of Long Island. Sayville is known as a ferry port to Fire Island, one of popular beach destinations for New Yorkers. The vineyard is located just the outside of downtown area.
No matter how many times we passed over the point GPS said we arrived at the destination, we couldn’t find the vineyard on Middle Road. There were only a few houses, a church, field, and a bridge. We crossed the bridge back and forth twice, but the vineyard should be located before the bridge, according to GPS and a map. When we were approaching the bridge again,
“Wait a minute, is that it?” I said to Manny with pointing a very small wooden sign with handwriting on the left side of the road before the bridge.
We looked at the sign carefully. Yes, the sign had the name of “Loughlin Vineyard”. But we weren’t sure if we were heading to the right direction after turning to the left because a road to the vineyard was very narrow and unpaved dirt road. After seeing a large yellow estate named Meadow Croft Estate, the former John E. Roosevelt’s estate, we finally arrived at the vineyard….but we doubted again even we saw a mid-size vineyard. It was totally different with what we expected. There was just a very small wood cabin, not a large winery house. Plus we weren’t sure whether the winery was open even though we saw “open” sign on a window and several cars outside because we could hardly see the inside from small windows on the front. We even couldn’t find a door, either.
“Are you sure the winery said they would open today?” Manny asked me with a doubting face.
“Yeah. She said it would open until 4:30 p.m.” I answered. The time was just before 3:00 p.m.
When we went to the backside of the cabin and looked for an entrance, we found some people inside who waved their hands to us and pointed at a small door. Because the door had no window and same color with the cabin walls, it was like a camouflage.
When we opened the door, there were about 6 guests. We were greeted by a cheerful and very friendly bartender named Brittany. She was the granddaughter of the winery owner.
Unlike our first impression, the inside of the cabin was good. If we described the inside by two words, it would be cozy and down-to-earth. Because the walls were rustic woods simply painted brown and floor were filled with stones, the inside atmosphere was like a country bar in a mountain. I couldn’t believe we were in the suburban of New York City, and Long Island Railroad was running just behind the vineyard. The interior was a small and simple setting with bar counters on three sides, but that setting comfortably made us get close each other and enjoy conversation with Brittany or other companies. Inside of the room was bright, and there were many decorations with pictures, drawings, and books.
The wine tasting was free. There were also fre cookies. Manny chose Chardonnay while I chose Cabernet Sauvignon, and compared the taste each other. Brittany kindly gave us full cups instead of small tasting cups. Both were very smooth and mild. Cabernet was medium bold and delicious taste smoothly ran around inside of our mouths. The wines quickly made us relaxed and happy.
We were about ordering next as full cups with $5-6 each because first cups tasted really good. Brittany kindly offered us complementarily, stating her appreciation to us coming from New York City. Wow, she was very sweet! That time, Manny chose Merlot and I chose Blush, that the label name was “South Bay Breeze”. According to the winery’s website, “South Bay Breeze” Blush is “a light blend of Loughlin’s Cabernet, Chardonnay, and Riesling”.
Merlot was also delicious, but our surprise was Blush.
“Oh wow, it’s so delicious!” we said soon after tasting. We literary felt fresh breeze in our mouth!
“South Bay Breeze” was moderately fruity and naturally sweet. I’m hardly into sweet wines because they sometimes make me feel like tasting artificially flavored juice, not wine. But the sweetness of “South Bay Breeze” was a good addition to the rich combination of medium bodied wines. Beautiful summer time should be good for the wine as the namesake, but the late fall was also a wonderful match. We felt like we were addicted to that wine quickly.
We definitely wanted to buy some bottles of their wine. We really wanted to buy all kinds, but both of us bought “South Bay Breeze” because we thought it would be difficult to find similar taste elsewhere. That wine should be popular, there were only 4 bottles left. We were really glad we chose the vineyard.
1. If you search the vineyard name with google, the result will be http://loughlinvineyard.com, This is a wrong web address about laser hair removal in Australia as you will find out shortly. The correct address is shown above next to the vineyard name.
2. I suggest you search “Roosevelt Estate County Park, Sayville, NY” on Google Map, instead of the vineyard name. The vineyard is located behind the estate along the same unpaved road.
Please see the vineyard’s website for specific direction. As written before, the direction is confusing. “253 S. Main Street” is the location of unpaved road to the vineyard, but there is no house or vineyard with that address.
We drove to Whisper Vineyard in St. James next (red mark on the map), located in the north coast and 20 minutes away from Loughlin Vineyard.
In contract to Loughlin, Whisper Vineyard was pretty much what we would usually imagine from a vineyard. A big winery house and surrounding large vineyard.
Nothing was free at Whisper, unlike Loughlin. There were 7 different courses of wine tasting between $10 and $12 each course, and we would have 3-4 kinds of wine on each course. Manny chose “Steel Tasting” for $10, and I chose “Reserve Tasting” for $12. We also ordered “International Cheese Platter” for $16.95.
All wines were nice, too. They had bolder taste than Loughlin’s. Our favorite was Pinot Gris included on Manny’s. Their Pinot Gris was smooth and semi-sweet. I bought Red Cape Blend that was not included on ours, and it was also delicious. That was middle bodied with a little dark taste.
Our favorite beside wines was the cheese platter. There were 3 kinds of cheese. If not my mistake, they were blue cheese, smoked gouda and asiago. The plate also came with the fresh taste of pickles and biscuits. Because those cheeses tasted like their original made, I asked a waiter they made those cheeses. If they did, we would probably buy their cheese with wines. His answer was…no. They actually bought those cheeses at a supermarket! We weren’t disappointed with his answer at all. He was honest, and hey, they selected very good cheeses for their customers’ enjoyment. Those cheeses enhanced the taste of their original wines.
We became fans of the beautiful interior. The winery house was comfortably large, and beautifully decorated with the collection of their wine bottles, lighting, and flowers. Bright wood plank walls and ceiling increased the gorgeous atmosphere. There were some seating areas. We sit down, relaxed, and enjoy the tasting in the comfortable setting.
What we also liked about the winery was that a female singer with her beautiful voice sang a variety of 70’s-comtemporary hits. She caught my heart from beginning with my favorite songs. Her first song was “Dream a Little Dream of Me” by Cass Elliott, and the second was “Feel Like Makin’ Love” by my diva, Roberta Flack. Then another my favorite, “Firework” by Katy Perry” followed. Her relaxed voice increased our good mood with fine wines.
WHISPER VINEYARDS: http://www.whispervineyards.com/
ADDRESS: 485 Edgewood Avenue, St. James, NY 11780
The best of all Roberta Flack’s best albums. “THE VERY BEST OF ROBERTA FLACK”
BIG LOBSTER DINNER AT JORDAN LOBSTER FARMS
In the evening, we drove to Long Beach in southern Nassau County, an ocean front city located about 10 miles southeast of John F. Kennedy International Airport. Manny said he used to live in the city before while it was my first time to visit. We parked the car near a train station and took a walk the downtown area. Manny enjoyed his retrospective and guided me around.
Manny wanted to eat seafood for dinner, and I thought it was a good idea because we were near the ocean. There wasn’t really a seafood restaurant in the downtown. I searched on Yelp with my iPhone and found a seafood restaurant named “Jordan Lobster Farms” across a bridge.
“How’s Jordan Lobster Farms?” I suggested.
“Oh!” Manny was surprised. “That’s a good idea. I used to work around there!”
We crossed a channel by the bridge and arrived at the restaurant (folk and knife mark on the map). It was a clean and pleasant restaurant with white based interior. Manny said the restaurant was bigger than before because there wasn’t a large dining area back then.
A waitress suggested us a good daily special menu with a very surprising price. 2 lobsters of 1 1/4 lbs each, 2 corns, and 2 coleslaws were only $44.95!! We added 1 more lobster by $15 extra. We also ordered Baked Clams, New England Clam Chowder, and Lobster Bisque.
Appetizer and soups were pretty good, but surprised was, of course, the lobster dish.
“Wow, wow. Oh, my God!” We repeated with happy voices upon our main course was served. A large plate had 3 big lobsters, that seemed like bigger than 1 1/4 lbs each. Not only visibly satisfied but also the taste was amazing. I quickly knew those steamed lobsters were really fresh soon after biting. The restaurant was also a lobster wholesaler that farmed in its premise, so lobsters were freshly served to tables. Inside of shells were full of good lobster meat! The taste was so gorgeous, and made our mind rich and gorgeous, too! We never expected we could have delicious lobsters with less than $60. All together with appetizers was still about $85. Amazing! Just amazing!
JORDAN LOBSTER FARMS: http://www.jordanlobsterfarms.com/
ADDRESS: 1 Pettit Place, Island Park, NY 11558
As written before, my previous imagination of Long Island was just a residential suburban of New York City and there would be nothing much to see for sightseeing. That visit made me admit I was wrong. We didn’t expect we would have so much fun there. Regarding wineries, we could still have a wonderful memory without driving far for more than 2 hours although I’m sure we will have another type of great experience at those famous wineries in Eastern Long Island. Most of all, we didn’t have to spend much money to get to those destinations. We had better impressions about Long Island and want to visit again.