See This, Skip That: Long Island

Taste the Wine, Sip the Vodka Feel like cleansing the palate between vineyard visits? Long Island Spirits is the area's first craft distillery, dating back to the 1800s. Located in the popular North Fork wine region, it produces all its vodka onsite from sustainably farmed local potatoes. The artisan operation also makes whisky – the first single-malt to be made on Long Island, in partnership with Blue Point Brewery – and a line of specialty liqueurs. You can visit seven days a week for a tasting on the back deck, which overlooks dozens of acres of potato fields and vineyards.

Skip the Market, Pick Your Own Agriculture thrives on Long Island. Harvest is seasonally driven, of course, and dozens of farms and orchards here invite visitors to come pick their own. Hank's Pumpkintown in Southampton draws regulars in the fall with its pumpkin and apple picking, not to mention its wagon rides, corn mazes, cider doughnuts and fresh-baked pies. People flock to Fritz Lewin Farm in Calverton for the strawberries, cranberries and peppers. And Mediavilla Orchard in Huntington specializes in peaches and pears. Goodale Farms is a bit off the beaten path – it's a fifth-generation operation in Aquebogue – but here's where you can milk the goats and cows (which are raised on pasture and natural grains) right out of your own glass bottle.

Play Gatsby, Visit the Gold Coast The opulence depicted in F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic, The Great Gatsby – not to mention this year's hit Baz Luhrmann film – is alive and well on Long Island's northern Gold Coast. Here, lavish castle-like mansions owned by New York's elite create a classic 1920s feel and offer visitors the chance to visit, tour and – in some cases – even spend the night. Old Westbury Gardens, a 70-room manor on 100 sprawling acres, was built in 1906 by John S. and Margarita Grace Phipps and is open today for tours. Falaise at Sand's Point Preserve is a Normandy-style mansion dating back to 1923; Harry Guggenheim built it, his friend Charles Lindbergh wrote his book "We" here, and guests today can enjoy nature trails, exhibits and an annual Medieval Fair. And Oheka Castle is one of the purported inspirations for the Great Gatsby mansion, with its 126 rooms, golf course, airstrip and indoor pool; it's mostly used for private events today, though guests can call ahead to request a private tour and even an overnight stay.

Skip the Table, Hit the Food Truck Long Island is home to a wonderful array of dining options, from casual to refined. North Fork Table & Inn in Southfold offers both. The indoor Table feature the innovative American fare if chef-owners Gerry Hayden and Claudia Fleming, who create seasonally-driven dishes from organic produce; reservations here are taken a month in advance to the date. But three years ago, they rolled The Lunch Truck onto the parking lot to offer patrons a casual, more affordable, but no less delectable food experience. A Hartmann's Artisan All-Beef Hot Dog will cost you $5, and you can build your own with topping like apple vinegar-glazed onions and homemade sauerkraut. There's chili, a daily soup option and a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches. The wild-caught lobster roll, priced at $16.50, is a winner. The Lunch Truck is open 11:30am to 3:30pm Thursday through Monday.

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