Greenport stays awake in winter
Greenport Village isn't just a summer hot spot that closes up shop once the sun sets on Labor Day. With everything from skating rinks to toy shops open all year round, the town has an array of fun ways to make a chilly winter weekend even cooler.
"When we moved here 12 years ago, only the bar was open," Greenport Mayor David Nyce said over tea at Aldo's. "Now, more and more shops and restaurants are staying open all winter."
One of the best parts of Greenport Village is that it is small and very walkable.
So, bundle up and visit the place that Forbes Magazine called one of "America's prettiest towns."
SKATING AND CAROUSEL RIDES
The outdoor skating rink is open weather-permitting (in this case, cold enough to make ice). Cost is $10 for adults and $8 for kids younger than 18 and senior citizens. Skate rentals are $5. The rink has skating lessons ($15 for half-hour lesson) and family Friday skate nights from 5 to 7 for $7 per family member, including skate rentals.
The 100-year-old carousel is open on weekends and school holidays in winter. The ride is $2, and kids get to "ring the bell" as they pass by.
Right next door is Aldo's, 103-105 Front St., a down-home watering hole for a good cup of Joe, tea or hot chocolate that's also a favorite hangout for locals.
Clothing and other stores used to board up their front windows. Now, many are showing winter displays.
Among them is Goldsmiths at 138 Main St., a one-of-a-kind toy store with a sea of yellow ducks and penguins in the window. It sells trains as well as puzzles and chess sets.
Clothing stores are plentiful, and many are having sales. Creations by Lisa on Main Street has scarves and shawls starting at $18. Di Angela Leather, on the corner of Main and Front streets, sells Vera Bradley as well as leather purses, shoes, boots and jewelry, plus painted hairbrushes for $19.50.
STOP BY THE GALLERIES
Many of the galleries are open weekends in the winter. Start with Gallery M, at 407 Main St., which exhibits American contemporary art from paintings to ceramics and furniture; it's open Thursday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. South Street Gallery, at 18 South St., also has winter hours: noon to 5 p.m. Thursday-Monday. The gallery highlights local artists, as well as those from other parts of the country, and is housed in what had been Greenport's town hall.
AND IF YOU'RE HUNGRY
Greenport Village is a gastronomic pleasure trip -- from upscale restaurants to tasty sandwich shops.
On a recent Friday, Bruce's Cheese Emporium and Cafe (208 Main St.), where a Brie sandwich with a bag of North Fork potato chips and a pickle spear cost $6.50, was bustling. It's open Thursday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Noah's, a popular restaurant at 136 Front St., is open for lunch and dinner Friday to Sunday, and some hours during the week, too.
If you have a sweet tooth, everyone in town is sure to point you to Sweet Indulgences, where the aroma of candy fills the shop, and where owner Angela Oliveri was handing out slices of spice plum candy.
"People want to shop small stores," Oliveri said, adding that the village has been busier than in seasons past and that she gets people who come back from their winter homes just to shop there at Christmas time.
MAKE A WEEKEND OF IT
Plenty of bed-and-breakfasts and quaint hotels are open in the winter. The Greenporter Hotel at 326 Front St. is styled as a 1950s retro-style hotel. And you may not be able to dip your toes in the water, but the water view is still beautiful at Stirling House, 104 Bay Ave., a bed-and-breakfast that has an age 12-and-older policy, says owner Clay Sauer.
If you have the time, take the ferry to Shelter Island and just drive around the small, quaint town; $17 for a round-trip with car. Follow the signs on Route 25 to the ferry dock.
Want to find out more about what Greenport Village has to offer in winter? Go to the Village of Greenport website (villageofgreenport.org) or Business Improvement District website (greenportvillage.com).