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Summer came and went and we are already back to the colder temperatures and school traffic. Although we are not at the end of the covid-19 pandemic, the consistently low infection rates on Long Island has allowed a sense of normalcy to return while maintaining social distancing. Aside from movie theaters, virtually everything else is open now with its own regulations in order to create a safe environment.
This doesn’t mean the virus shouldn’t be taken seriously anymore. Each one of us has to do our part to prevent any further spread of this virus. This means no matter where we go, it is up to us to follow the rules suggested to be safe. As we have seen in the summer months, the safest way to be socially distant outside of our homes is to be outside whenever possible. Airflow in the open air operates much different than inside a building. These next couple of months may be the last time we can take advantage of the weather and do things outside with the family. Eastern Long Island has always been a popular spot for the family during fall. The abundance of farms and vineyards present plenty of outdoor activities. Here are some ideas of places you can go during the fall in Eastern Long Island and Riverhead.
What better way to spend outside with your family than to teach your children about the importance of taking care of the environment. September 19 is a day dedicated to cleaning up some of the immense amount of debris plaguing our oceans. Join Group for the East End, Atlantic Marine Conservation Society and Hallock State Park as they participate in this year’s International Coastal Cleanup (ICC).
You can download the Marine Debris Tracker app to help record and track the trash you pick up. You must choose a time slot and come with a face mask. All tools will be provided and cleaned in between sessions. This is a free, socially distanced event.
Starting at $98, this 13.5 mile bike tour takes you to exclusive farms and vineyards. After selecting your bike, a professional guide will tour you around the best of Long Island wine country. In addition to tasting award-winning wines, you will also sample fresh olive oils and vinegars and visit many local farm stands. You will also be able to enjoy live music and entertainment. This event is for people 21 and over.
The Carmans River in Brookhaven is a great place to go kayaking or canoeing. This guided tour allows you to rent a kayak or canoe (or bring your own if you have) to cruise down the Carmans River at sunset.
At this organic farm on the East End, kids can interact with chickens, sheep, and other animals. Offering contactless checkout, advance tickets online (not required), and curbside pickup of pre-orders. Friendly farm hands often take animals out for kids to pet and help feed. Also, there is a large children’s play area with a wooden castle and a giant spider web. Many special events are hosted here, including children’s birthday parties, baby animal weekends, an annual tulip festival, and a Mother’s Day brunch. Be sure to stop by the organic market for delicious groceries. The farm is open through Halloween
Although this year, the 19 historic buildings are not open to the public but guided, masked tours are available by appointment. Explore this original farmstead to learn what farming life was like 250 years ago. Visitors to the 19-building facility can experience cooking in the historic kitchen or even grinding corn to feed the resident animals. In addition, kids can interact with cows and chickens to learn about their importance to the farm.
Even though traffic is slightly better with the increased number of people working from home, Long Island traffic is pretty much back to normal on the weekend. If you and your family plan on getting to Riverhead, give yourself plenty of time to get out there. Don’t put yourself in a stressful situation by not taking into account the traffic. You may look at a GPS ahead of time to get a good idea of how long it will take. Keep in mind also that oftentimes there is traffic just before arriving, due to the parking lot being backed up. If you feel rushed, you are more likely to do something unsafe. Check the traffic conditions and leave early.
While adhering to basic driving fundamentals is always important, it is especially important in heavy traffic situations to always let other drivers be aware of what your vehicle is doing. Long Islanders sometimes have a habit of turning on their directional after they have begun changing lanes. This is not helpful for anyone to anticipate what you are doing, and New York State law requires at least a 100 foot warning via turn signal before you turn, merge or change lanes.
Further, it is even more important to check your blind spot before changing lanes. Although it isn’t safe, many cars like to tailgate in heavy traffic so changing lanes can be especially hazardous and only do so if there is a safe amount of space. Avoid cutting people off, it saves you little to no time.
The parking at many of the Riverhead orchards and farms can be very hectic. Parking lots always have the potential of causing a car accident. More than 50000 car accidents occur in a parking lot every year. These parking lots may be more busy than most, so the cars will be coming in and out.
It is very important that you pay lots of attention to your surroundings. Look out for cars backing up, and be careful at intersections. A lot of the parking lots at farms and vineyards aren’t paved, so be really careful when parking, and give yourself and other cars adequate space. Anticipate the actions of other drivers and be prepared to use your horn if another car does not seem to see you, especially if they are backing up and getting too close. It is also important to drive slow as there are families walking all over the place. You do not want to be liable for a pedestrian accident.
Additionally, do not use your phone while you are driving in a parking lot; you are still driving and it is still a distraction . This is important to mention because studies show that 66% of drivers nationwide said they would make phone calls while driving in a parking lot.
Although driving can be hectic, going to an orchard in Riverhead can be a really enjoyable experience for the whole family. Here are a couple orchards out in eastern Long Island and what you can expect should you visit.
Harbes is one of the most popular orchards in Riverhead. It has over 20 varieties of apples along with other fall activities like hayrides, pumpkin picking and a corn maze. They even do special events like the Spooky Maze around Halloween. They also have wine tastings and food concessions.
Located in Calverton, this farm is unique in that it offers a variety of produce you can pick from. In addition to apples, you can pick berries, peppers and eggplants just to name a few. They also have a corn maze and a farm stand.
Parents love Woodside as it not only has apple picking, but they actually make their own hard cider and do weekly tastings. They host these tastings every Saturday and Sunday in both Aquebogue and Jamesport.
Steven Palermo is the managing partner for Palermo Law, Long Island’s Personal Injury Law Firm. He has been helping people receive compensation for their injuries for over 21 years. He focuses on cases involving car accidents, truck accidents, construction accidents and slip and fall injuries.
His book The Ultimate Guide to Handling New York Car Accident Claims details the ins and outs of a car accident claim in a simple, easy-to-read manner.