If we were to take a poll of the North Fork’s favorite streets, there would be some obvious choices: Love Lane in Mattituck, Front Street in Greenport, and even the newly revitalized Main Road in Southold. But I would argue that one of the most beautiful streets on the North Fork is missing from that list. That street is Village Lane in Orient. If you haven’t had the chance to visit, Orient is about 10 minutes further east of Greenport. “There’s something EAST of Greenport?” you might say, and the answer is “yes”! Orient is the easternmost town on the North Fork and is home to around 800 permanent residents. While Village Lane is mostly comprised of beautiful historic homes, there is a small center of commerce that attracts visitors and neighbors alike year round.
It is two of the shops in this very small “downtown” that attract me to Village Lane the most. I don’t think I’ve written a single blog post that doesn’t include at least some mention of food, and this one is no different. When I’m feeling the need for some comfort food, my first choice is often Orient Country Store. The building is a pre-revolutionary general store that has housed everything from a schoolhouse to a post office, and even if you’ve never visited before, it somehow feels like coming home. While I’m partial to a classic grilled cheese (of which they make a MEAN one), on a recent visit, I couldn’t pass up a sandwich from their specials board: grilled chicken with pickles vegetables on fresh ciabatta. Whatever you choose, don’t miss your opportunity to grab a shot of your lunch on one of their outdoor picnic tables. No day of Instagram stories is complete without at least ONE photo of your food.
But say you have finished your sandwich and you’re still feeling peckish. There’s another opportunity for a bite (and some more photos) right next door. Opties and Dinghies is a relative newcomer to Village Lane, but has quickly become a staple of the community. They offer incredible dim sum (think dumplings, scallion pancakes, and cold sesame noodles) in addition to crepes, baked goods, and gelato. It’s very telling that most of the photos that I take here are of half-eaten dumplinggs, dirty plates, and hands reaching across the table. This is one situation in which the camera definitely does not eat first. It’s impossible to ask anyone to wait before digging in.
Aside from the delicious dumplings at Opties (as the locals call it) and the amazing grilled cheese at the country store, Village Lane is a beautiful place just to take a leisurely walk. In the spring, the street is lined with cherry blossoms, and in the summer and fall, the foliage reaches overhead to shade the sidewalks. It’s the perfect spot to stop and smell the flowers, or stop and take a selfie! The dappled sunlight coming through the trees offers the perfect “no filter” filter to make you look your best. If you’re looking to extend your walk, I suggest taking a stroll through the historical buildings that make up the Oysterponds Historical Society, which include the old summer resort and two schoolhouses among others.
Living on the North Fork, I find myself spoiled by the incredible sunsets that we are privy to all year round. It is easy to take them for granted when they’re so commonplace, but every so often there comes a sunset that truly takes your breath away. One of the best places to catch a glimpse of such a sunset is from Orient Harbor. There is something about the way that the colors reflect on the water and that way that the boats stand out against the sky that make these sunsets especially magical. On nights like this, your Instagram feed is bound to be full of photos of the same sunset, but that shouldn’t stop you from adding one more to the mix.
So if you’re looking for a quick destination for an afternoon trip, look no further than Village Lane. You might find me slurping down noodles or enjoying a gelato down in the harbor. Don’t hesitate to say hello, and then snap some photos of your own!
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