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The Un-Hamptons

* Home Port (2500 Peconic Lane, Peconic, 631-765-1435, www.northfork.com/homeport, $120 and up) is an 1876 house set on a quiet road in farm fields. A porch curves around the house. The owner is a saltwater fly fisherman of note and can introduce you to the art.

* Treasure Island (14909 Main Rd., East Marion, 631-477-2788, rates start at $295 a night with two-night minimum) is a marvelous rambling ark of a house, set high on a hill and commanding spectacular views of Gardiner's Bay, Dam Pond and Long Island Sound. All suites include bedroom, sitting room and bathroom.

The next Napa? Long Island's North Fork has 23 vineyards and wineries. (Photo by Kirk Condyles)

WHERE TO EAT: On the North Fork, people refer to "tablecloth restaurants" as distinct from the places where there are more pickups than BMWs out front. The best of the former is Coeur des Vignes (57225 Main Rd., Southold, 631-765-2656). Expensive but worth it, the country inn's restaurant offers superb food and an extensive wine cellar. Entrees cost about $23. Four simple but elegant rooms are upstairs, for $145 to $195 a night.

For great steaks and a bar where the beer goes down better than the wine, try the Elbow Room (1549 Main Rd., Jamesport, 631-722-3292). Crowded, noisy, inexpensive and fun, the bar is the place to be on a rainy day to watch the game.

Hellenic Snack Bar and Restaurant (5145 Main Rd., East Marion, 631-477-0138) is identical to the delightful country tavernas of Greece. Sit on the wide patio under the awning and dine on salad, home-baked pita or moussaka; anything it does with lamb is delicious and inexpensive. The full bar serves Greek beers, but go for the out-of-this-world lemonade. Entrees $11.95-$17.95.

WINERIES AND VINEYARDS: You can't miss them, either on the Main or North roads. Many have live music in-season, ranging from string quartets to "tropical rock." No matter, it will all sound good sipping the wines of the North Fork. All have tastings, sell you the wine you like and show you the grape-growing and winemaking process. Palmer Vineyards (Sound Avenue, Aquebogue, 631-722-9463) is one of the larger winemakers, with 125 acres. Osprey's Dominion (44075 Main Rd., Peconic, 631-765-6188) has some of the oldest vines on the North Fork and makes a killer Cabernet Sauvignon. Also tour and sample wines at Ternhaven Cellars (331 Front St., Greenport, 631-477-8737) and Hargrave Vineyard (intersection of Route 48 and Alvah's Lane, Cutchogue, 631-734-5111).

BIKE RENTALS: Country Time Cycle (6995 Main Rd. between Laurel and Mattituck, 631-298-8700) rents 21-speed mountain bikes. Call ahead and they will deliver your bike to your B&B or motel. Reservations recommended. One-day rentals are $22; half-day, $15.

SANG LEE FARMS: If there are better salad greens and vegetables than Sang Lee's (25180 County Road 48, Peconic, 631-734-7001), God is keeping them for Himself.

INFORMATION: North Fork magazine has a helpful Web site at www.northfork.com, or contact the North Fork Promotion Council (631-298-5757, www.northfork.org). The Suffolk Times (www.timesreview.com), the North Fork's award-winning weekly paper, is an invaluable resource for everything happening on the North Fork.

--Ambrose Clancy


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