Seascapes & Grapes: Fall Foliage and Wine Tasting on Long Island


If you pronounce ‘the Hamptons’ through clenched teeth or with a faux British accent, and wouldn’t dare venture out to any other part of the island, this probably is not your thing. However, if you desire an affordable and fabulous fall getaway just two hours outside of Manhattan — here we go!

While the Hamptons’ hedgerows enslave the rich, Port Jefferson has a rich history. This Long Island village dates back to the Setauket Indians and was renamed in 1836 after President Jefferson due to his generous funding that helped save the region from flooding. The town is easily accessible by car, LIRR or private boat. It’s a tight-knit community, brimming with small businesses and home to Danfords Hotel & Marina.

Overlooking the harbor, the complex has a New England feel with a colonial white façade and rambling staircases, an austere widow’s walk, one single turret and seasonal gardens. Erected over 100 years ago as a shipbuilding factory for local fishermen, Danfords has sprawled to include 6 separate buildings for accommodations. From buoy bells to sail masts, the nautical motif runs throughout the grounds, lobby and guest rooms.

Several of the suites have fireplaces and balconies with lounge chairs. Be prepared to climb, as most of the rooms with views are 6 flights up with no elevator. Wheelchair assessable rooms are available in certain buildings.

From atop the Captain’s Quarters, the view of the harbor is spectacular with lush hills on both sides of the marina — perfect to see the changing of the leaves. My room was spacious and comfortable with a queen-size bed, ample seating area as well as a desk and armoire fit for a yacht. Every room has a 32” flat-screen TV but no kitchenettes or mini-bar. The glass-enclosed shower was a little overwhelming with 6 faucets, 2 showerheads and 8 powerful water jets. Set the pressure carefully or you may have an experience like my first attempt: a carwash.

This fall, Danfords offers a special package for guests who would like to tour the local wine vineyards.

Their Seascapes & Grapes package includes:
• Luxurious accommodations
• Continental breakfast for two
• Map of North Fork vineyards
• A specially selected bottle of local wine
• Gift certificates to several wineries
• Eco-friendly, wine carrying tote bag

Before you head off to the vineyards, take a stroll around town.

What I enjoy most about Port Jefferson is the fact that it’s a walkable, seafaring village. It’s friendly, unpretentious and has several restaurants that offer reasonably priced seafood. The Steam Room is a very casual and popular outdoor, shanty café serving up local mussels, clams and lobster dinners. You can also help support local small businesses by shopping in the many antique, apparel, candy and gift shops.

Back at the hotel, visit the The Blue Sapphire Spa and rejuvenate in surroundings as tranquil as a calm sea. The spa provides various services to include: massage, facials, hair styling and make-up as well as mani pedis in their nail studio.

Now, off to the wineries! You can get there by car or ask the hotel concierge to arrange a tour and transportation. What can be better than a well-deserved autumn adventure with fall foliage and wine just a few hours away from New York City?

For more information about accommodations at Danfords, call: 1-800-332-6367 or visit:

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