The friendly enophiles at Sannino Bella Vita Vineyard take an interactive approach to wine education, guiding visitors through the ins and outs of the vintner process and offering sips of rich estate wines crafted onsite. Sojourners can venture to the winery to tipple glasses of chardonnay and merlot inside a rustic tasting room situated in a barn built in the early 1900s, or extend their stays with an annual membership to the vineyard’s unique Vine to Wine program. During the course of the year, program members take a hand in every part of the winemaking process, raising grapes from infancy before crushing and pressing them into adulthood at the vineyard’s custom-winemaker center.
The scenic North Fork vineyard is also home to Sannino's bed-and-breakfast, a single Tuscan-style suite that overlooks rows of growing vines and houses numerous amenities including a marble bathtub, 42-inch flat-screen TV, king-size bed, and spacious private living quarters. Complimentary beach passes and tasting tours await overnight guests, as does a full breakfast every morning. Remote wine-lovers can also peruse Sannino's wares online as they envision themselves traversing the verdant property and testing each bottle’s bouquet by closing their eyes and sniffing their computer monitor deeply.
Sandy beaches, eye-catching architecture, and the Montauk Point Lighthouse await groups on Amagansett Beach & Bicycle Company's tours. On these excursions, skilled guides fuse the chance to view breathtaking sights with instruction on bikes and various watercrafts, including kayaks, standup paddleboards, and saddled leviathans. Back on land, staff members tune up gear and help customers scour through a sea of water- and land-based sports equipment. Everything from BMX bikes to tandem bikes take patrons on rolling adventures through the verdant Hither Hills. Although only a small portion of Amagansett Beach & Bicycle Company's business, watersport equipment such as wakeboards and tubes beckon customers to speed and bounce over harbor waters, while skateboards let adrenaline junkies stand motionless on moving treadmills.
The same mansion that once hosted prosperous whaler Benjamin Huntting II and his family in 1845 has become the doomed dwelling of the ghosts of drunken pirates and sailors. In one room, cannibals menace passersby. In another, ghoulish doctors perform an autopsy. Meanwhile, the widow who has wandered the house’s rooms since 1868 seethes at these spirits who have invaded her home. For a few weeks each fall, the Sag Harbor Whaling Museum transforms into the haunted attraction, filled with actors in ghostly costumes and makeup, filling in for the real ghosts who forgot to renew their SAG memberships. Currently doubling as the museum and a Masonic temple, the house was designated an official project of the Save America’s Treasures program by then–First Lady Hillary Clinton.
Museum staffers usher guests through an entrance marked by corinthian columns and a temple-style portico, both of which were designed by American architect Minard Lafever. Once inside, visitors navigate the horror-filled rooms, where figures lurk in shadows behind carved wooden doorframes and under intricate plaster ceilings. The haunted museum provides a sharp contrast to the museum’s other yearly events, which include rotating exhibitions featuring art and colonial artifacts.
The Long Island Aquarium & Exhibition Center throws its visitors into the shark tank. And the tropical lagoon. And the salt marsh. As executive director Bryan DeLuca noted in the New York Times, the center (formerly Atlantis Marine World) is one of the most interactive aquariums in the area, which snagged it a place on Parents magazine's list of the 10 Best Aquariums for Kids. The Atlantis-themed aquarium’s educational exhibits combine myth with science as they bring guests face to gills with creatures such as eels, jellyfish, seals, and clownfish. In addition to its indoor and outdoor exhibits right on the banks of the Peconic River, the aquarium delights guests with aquatic adventures such as snorkeling or receiving a photo op and kiss from loveable sea lion Java, who still dreams of one day being turned into a beautiful princess.
North Fork Horseradish Festival celebrates the uniquely bitter taste of horseradish with everything from recipe contests to cooking demonstrations. Exhibitors and enthusiasts will fill the rolling landscape of Hallockville Museum Farm to join seminars teaching patrons how to use their own horseradish, from harvesting to gardening to cooking. Grinding-horseradish demonstrations show how to manipulate your roots into a more manageable form for cooking, and recipe contests will give you new ideas on how to surprise your family with a spicy kick in their everyday meals.
During your tasting for two ($5 value per person), you'll sample five different red and whites from Osprey's superb selection. The award-winning grapen goodness is culled from lively vinifera vines creeping across the 90-acre grape growery. Spend time sipping in Osprey's comfortable tasting room and scouring the sky above the sun-bathed rows of green for soaring ospreys, who guard grapes from liquor-loving kobolds. The take-home bottle of 2006 reserve chardonnay ($15 value), a full-bodied sip that's ripe with aromas of tropical fruit, toasted oak, and vanilla, has a well-balanced acidity that pairs well with seafood and sea-smoothed stones. Check Osprey's Dominion's schedule of events to see when there's live music.