>With some of my friends headed south for the winter and the prospect of the coming months off of Pandora, I have been struggling with what to write about here. I could certainly report on every move I make on planned upgrades to Pandora but that doesn’t make for very compelling reading. The question of what to write about each week (yes, I know that I should post more often than that) is one that has been bugging me ever since I put Pandora up for the winter. Actually, yesterday I did put the finishing touches on her with the cover in place and all systems winterized, which will allow me to focus on home and getting the yard cleaned up, etc, etc.
So the question now is what to write about. Between scintillating posts about new freezer systems and other projects on Pandora what will be compelling to others. Perhaps nothing but I have to do something.
Here’s an idea. How about writing about some of my favorite harbors and what you might do while you are there if an when you visit? Yea, that’s the ticket!. Ticket or not, that’s what I am going to write about and today will be the first post with that in mind. As we go along over the next few months, I encourage you to provide your own suggestions and comments on places to visit or on what you think of the places that I highlight.
Perhaps a good place to start is to focus on where Pandora will be after she goes in the water in early May. As she is now in Norwalk CT, when she goes back in the water I will run her immediately back up to Mystic where she will spend a few weeks on my friend Kieth’s mooring. There are a number of really fun harbors within a reasonable distance of Mystic.
One in particular worth noting, on the North Fork of Long Island and about 30 miles from Mystic, is Mattituck. This harbor is the only one between Port Jefferson and Greenport on the north shore of Long Island. On the chart the entrance and narrow channel looks daunting. In fact, as you approach it from the north, it’s very hard to see and without a GPS coordinate to direct you, to the entrance, it’s very hard to even see the low gettys that mark the entrance.
This shot is taken near the mouth of the channel as you come in. It’s very rural here.
Pandora draws just under 6′ and I have never had any trouble getting in, even at low water. Once you enter the nearly two mile long channel, you feel like you have entered a time warp as the area is much more unspoiled than most harbors on Long Island. The banks of the channel are largely undeveloped with only a few homes and marinas scattered along the banks that run several miles to the anchorage.
At the end of the channel there is an area to anchor (it looks a lot smaller on the chart than it is) with good holding an mercifully free of moorings, something that can’t be said for many other areas on Long Island Sound these days.
There is a public landing nearby where you can leave your dink and make the short walk into town. One particular treat is that the landing boasts a small park, bathroom and even free showers. In all of my years of cruising I haven’t run into free showers elsewhere.
Brenda and I began visiting Mattituck back in the early 80s and hadn’t been back for many years. It wasn’t until we purchased Pandora that we began visiting again. Our most recent visit was on Memorial Day weekend in 2009 and we treated ourselves to a visit to a local winery.
The North Fork of Long Island is loaded with vineyards and a few are within walking distance of the harbor. On this visit we went to Shinn Vineyards, one of two vineyards located within the town of Mattituck. Shinn is a wonderful place run by an enthusiastic couple Barbara Shinn and David Page. Interestingly, Shinn is the only vineyard on Long Island that is biodynamic. This means that they are even beyond organic but I will leave the explanation up to Wickipedia that features a good explanation of what it’s all about. Needless to say, the prorpiators of Shinn are enthusiastic about this form of viniculture. David also produces a really interesting weekly e-newsletter that you can sign up for. I signed up when we visited and you can to at this link or at the “contact us” area on their home page. However, David keeps a blog so you can read about what’s happening on the farm. Also, as a nice added feature, their wines are really good.
Shinn Vineyard is located in a really beautiful area of the North Fork of Long Island. These shots don’t do the place justice.
And, across the street, the view is just as wonderful. This is certainly a classic red barn shot. Imagine waking up each morning to this view.
This is an interesting video that will give you a good feel for what Shinn is all about. Barbara speaks at meetings around the country about her passion, biodynamic viniculture. For more Shinn videos and lots of reviews of their wines check this out.
If you want to avoid a nearly two mile walk from the harbor to Shinn, you can also rent a car from Enterprise Car rental in Riverhead. Enterprise will generally pick you up and drop you off when you return the car. Just make sure that you plan your rental time around normal business hours. When we were there Enterprise was not open on Sunday. They can be reached at