A Visit To Long Island, NY

Our guest post and photos come from Bill & Bonnie Neely of: Real Travel Adventures Ezine – Your free online monthly travel magazine with hundreds of features and photos on travel to anywhere.

Our first visit to Long Island was a delightful respite from the extreme Texas summer heat. The beaches are beautiful golden sand with the blue Atlantic waves rolling in gently unless the weather is windy or inclement. Fire Island National Seashore is a protected area of shoreline where the beach is pristine and belongs to nature, so you can walk for miles or lie quietly on the beautiful sand. There is an informative Visitor Center with helpful rangers to answer questions or lead people on hikes. There are interesting programs with special seasonal nature walks.  This beach is popular on holidays, but still not crowded as are the mainland Atlantic beaches.

We had assumed Long Island was a summer place with mainly second homes, but we were mistaken. Long Island is 118 miles long and 23 miles wide and over two million permanent residents live there, so you’ll find shopping, industry, hospitals, schools, and everything needed for comfortable living year-round. There are many large farms on the island. And Long Island boasts forty-three wineries and the accompanying vineyards…more than Napa Valley, CA.  What a surprise! The wine industry on Long Island does not have as long a history as Napa, however.

We had the opportunity to visit Martha Clara Winery on Long Island’s Riverhead, on the North Fork. The winery was started by the famous baker William Entenmann of Flatbush, Brooklyn, who first purchased the property to breed and race horses.  Big E Farm was best known for Entemann’s thoroughbred race horses.  You can purchase tickets for private tastings of their reds and whites.  Six wines are paired with appropriate snacks, each offering a perfect complement for the specific vintner selection.  Martha Clara Winery produces both the reds and whites, mainly Chardonnay and Merlot, with these grape varieties growing in their vineyards nearby. Harvesting is from August to November.
The wine tastings are fun and the hostess gives an interesting history of the place. Special parties can be arranged and various evening events are scheduled. You can even take a carriage ride.