A boater's paradise
Greenport is one of the most boater-friendly ports-of-call on the eastern seaboard. Jammed with intriguing and entertaining seaside shops, restaurants, marinas and places to grab provisions, this busy yet quaint one-time whaling and shipbuilding village also features a recently expanded town marina facility at Mitchell Park. One look at the marina facility and the intent is perfectly clear: Greenport wants you to visit by sea, especially those in town for Trawlerfest! The town will be all abuzz in summer 2008 when Passagemaker's Trawlerfest comes to town. Visit www.trawlerfest.com for the latest event updates.
Greenport's boatyards have always reaped the rewards of a town closely connected with the sea. Following the days of the great sailing ship era, Greenport's fishing fleet increased, and so did the need for those vessels to be repaired. During the Prohibition, Greenport turned its attention to rum running. The illegal activity was so popular that a Coast Guard station was opened in the village to police the activity.
Greenport took a patriotic role in patrolling the seas during World War II when the town equipped itself with its own navy. "The Hooligan Navy" was a hodgepodge of dandy boats, schooners, ketches, motorsailers and others lent by residents to the U.S. Coast Guard. The flotilla was outfitted with submarine detection devices and commissioned to patrol for German U-boats. Wind-powered and made of wood, "the Corsair Fleet," as it was officially called, was virtually undetectable by the enemy.
The war effort was also vigorous ashore. The Greenport Shipyard employed as many as 2,000 men-an incredible total considering the size of the town-to build minesweepers, sea sleds, and landing barges. Following the war, things settled down to the old routine of fishing and farming. Sterling Basin was dredged in the 1960s and has become the focus of Greenport's recreational marine industry.
Settled as Hashamomuck by seekers of spirit resin (turpentine) in 1636, Southold is the oldest English-speaking settlement in "Nieuw Amsterdam." More spread out and suburban than Greenport, and with an all-private waterfront, downtown Southold may not knock you over with nautical flavor the way Greenport does, but it is without a doubt a pleasant place to pass some time.
Things to See and Do
Greenport's exciting new Mitchell Park Marina (631- 477-2200) is a rightful source of pride to the village. Beloved by boaters for its wide fairways and friendly dock staff, led by Bumpy the Dockmaster, you'll find docking here puts you right in the heart of town. This beautiful facility abuts the historic carousel and incorporates the elements of Waterfront Park into its design, making it a source of enjoyment to boaters and non-boaters alike. On those sultry summer days, you're sure to appreciate the misting stations next to one of the town's main attractions, the Grumman Carousel. Pocket change gets you aboard the gentle broncos for a spin and chance at the brass ring. The park also sports a dog run with its own fire hydrant.
No surprise, Main Street leads to the heart of town, with a pair of east end institutions: S.T. Preston's Ship Chandlery (631-477-1990) and Scrimshaw gift shop on one side, and Claudio's Restaurant (631-477-0627) on the other. Even if you're not in need of marine supplies, charts, books, gifts, or nautical clothing or accessories, be sure to stop in and soak up the atmosphere. Other shopping opportunities open up as you stroll along the friendly streets.
You'll find most of Greenport's conveniences within a five-minute walk from the dock, and you can also watch the commercial fishermen unload their catch (some of which will go to the local restaurants).
Locomotive fans should check out the Railroad Museum (631-477-0439) for a look at the town's history of rail shipment to New York City dating back to 1850. For some maritime heritage, visit the East End Seaport Maritime Museum (631-477-2100), located at the end of Third Street by the ferry dock. If you're in town on the last weekend in September, count yourself among the lucky thousands who get to experience the Maritime Festival (631-477-0004). These two days of fun feature music, ship tours, children's activities, crafts, pirates, whaleboat and kayak races, and-of course-food, including a very popular clam chowder contest.
Get onto the greens at the Island's End Golf Course (631-477-0777), a cab ride east on the main road towards Orient. Attire is strict: "No shorts with inseams less than 5 inches." The dress code is much more relaxed at the town playground and beach at Fanning Point, where you'll find restrooms, swings, basketball courts, picnic tables, and a small dock.
Visit the New York State Archaeological Association's Indian Museum (631-765-5577). Aside from an impressive collection of artifacts, some of which date back 10,000 years, the exhibits also show how the Algonquin "hunted, fished, farmed... [and] gambled."
The Southold Historical Society (631-765-5500) maintains a cluster of historic buildings on Main Road that includes the Victorian Ann Currie-Bell House, a corncrib, icehouse, buttery, blacksmith shop, and carriage house. The Society also maintains the Horton Point Lighthouse and museum on the Sound side, two miles from the docks at Mill Creek. The light is picturesque and accented by ever-present beach anglers. To heighten the experience-especially at sunset-walk among the giant boulders strewn along the beach. Or, stare at the stars through the Custer Institute's celestial telescope on Saturday evenings after dark (631-765-2626). Ironically, the Custer Institute is located directly across the street from the Indian Museum!
Shell-collectors relish Cedar Beach Point on the southeast tip of Great Hog Neck, a county preserve where jingle shells and scallops shells abound. Expect to see sunbathers on warm days.
Restaurants and Provisions
You'll find all that you need in Greenport's four-block downtown (Main to 3rd, Front to Center streets), including dozen or so restaurants, banks, ATMs, a pharmacy, hardware stores, a Laundromat, a discount department store, chandleries, liquor stores, a movie theater, and a supermarket.
Don't miss the Greenport fixture that is Claudio's Marina & Restaurant (631-477-0627). Owned and operated by the same family since 1870, the place encompasses three eateries. While you eat your seafood, you'll enjoy a decor highlighting nautical memorabilia from such ships as the Enterprise, the 1930s America's Cup defender. Claudio's is right on the water and offers free dockage to patrons. Across the street on Preston's Dock, Scrimshaw offers less frantic waterfront dining under the shadow of the giant osprey statue. The support beam for this magnificent steel bird came from the twisted wreckage of the Twin Towers.
Breakfast-hunters flock to Harbourfront Deli (631- 477-1878) for their favorite morning choices, and then return later in the day for lunch, snacks, and dinner. Head upstairs to The Loft (631-477-3080) for burgers and other choices with a view. Across the street, adjacent to Mitchell Park, is Barbecue Bill's (631-477-2300), where the briskets are always tasty and side dishes fill your plate. You can get a pleasant view of Greenport Harbor by sitting at the south end of the upstairs outdoor dining area.
Yes, you'll find oysters on the menu at The Frisky Oyster (631-477-4265), as well as scallops, lamb, beef, and desserts direct from Utopia. The nearby Front Street Station (631-477-9577) is built around a railroad car and serves great salads and steaks, among other options. Bay & Main (631-477-1442) lets you start with flavorful chowder and a colorful martini and move on to chops, fancy fried chicken, or seafood. If your sweet tooth is still aching, there are three ice cream stands and a pastry shop. Another favorite is the Blue Harbor Cafe (631-477-1566), a fun and casual place to dine. Salamander's General Store (631-477-3711) offers fantastic take-out and is famous for its fried chicken. Seafood fans should jump into the Chowder Pot Pub (631-477-1345), right near the ferry landing and museum, for a big bowl of Manhattan or New England clam chowder. Across the street you can excite your taste buds with a little Tex-Mex at Meson O'le (631-477-0056). Townsend Manor Inn (631-477-2000), on Sterling Basin, offers breakfast everyday in summer and on weekends through the fall, along with light fare at the bar
Pick up some fresh catch at Alice's Fish Market (631- 477-8485). Not far away, the Antares Cafe (631-477-8839) serves contemporary American dishes-try the Peconic Bay Bouillabaisse.
Next door to Port of Egypt, pull up at Pepi's (631-765-6373) for first-rate Italian entrees (including lobster, veal, and eggplant) with a lovely view. They serve lunch and dinner seven days a week and they stay open late, until everyone's full and happy. Around the marinas at Hashamomuck Pond, you'll find other Southold eateries including the Seafood Barge (631-765-3010), a perennial Zagat winner, with a great view of Mill Creek and Southold Bay. Well-kept downtown Southold is about four blocks long and is located at the head of Town Creek. The trouble is there are no convenient public landings. Shallow draft vessels may be able to carefully pull up to the dock at the small village park at the head of the west fork on Town Creek. Others should come by car for access to Main Street essentials (they are all there).
Use ChartKit Region 3, pages 8 and 38; Maptech Waterproof Chartbook Long Island Sound; Maptech Waterproof Charts 1 and 6; or Maptech electronic and NOAA paper charts 12358 (1:40,000) and 12354 (1:80,000).
Navigation and Anchorages
Use tide tables for New London. High tide at Greenport is 1 hour 5 minutes later; low tide is 49 minutes later. Mean tidal range is 2.4 feet.
From Gardiners Bay, head west towards R "2" Fl R 4s BELL located southeast of Long Beach Point. Passing south of the buoy, turn northwest to pass between R "2" Fl R 4s BELL and G C "3." You may see boats "cutting the corner" around Long Beach Point, but we recommend you stay in the marked channel as a shoal extending south of the Point has built up enough to be a danger. An important landmark is the Long Beach Bar "Bug" Light (Fl 4s 58ft 8M) off the southwestern end of Long Beach Point. Steer northwest to pass north of G "7" Fl G 4s, toward the rusty, white shipyard buildings on Cleaves Point as you round Shelter Island's Hay Beach Point.
Looking a bit like the backyard canals of Fort Lauderdale, Gull Pond is just to the north with six to seven feet of water, but it's no place to go unless you've got a friend there with an empty dock. As you round Hay Beach Point, steer southwest toward Fl R 4s 19ft "8A" on the breakwater off Youngs Point, which protects the entrance to Stirling Basin and Greenport Harbor.
There is good water up to the many docks of downtown Greenport. The port is not really an anchorage since it's too busy and too open, but it's a good place to tie up to see the old fishing town. The village welcomes transients at Mitchell Park Marina (631-477-2200), a beautiful facility built around the existing park at the site of the old visitors' dock. S.T. Preston's Ship's Chandlery (631-477-1990) has free dockage during the day. Some people also find docking comfortable next door at Claudio's (631-477-0355) for the cost of a meal.
The best place for an overnight stay in Greenport itself, if you can find room, is inside Stirling Basin, where there's a reported channel depth of eight feet. After you pass the breakwater at Youngs Point, turn west and pass south of R N "2" (priv). Align yourself toward the privately maintained G "1" at the Stirling Basin entrance. This buoy marks foul ground; once you're beyond it turn to the northwest and stay close to the west shore. Don't cut too close to "the thumb" of sand extending out from Monument Point on the east shore. On the other hand, as long as you don't pester the nesters (piping plovers and osprey) the beach is a perfect place for your fledglings to fly kites, swim, or stretch their legs.
You'll find numerous berths on the west shore at the all-transient Townsend Manor Marina (631-477-2000). On the east side, Brewer Yacht Yard at Greenport (631-477-9594) and Brewer Stirling Harbor Marina (631-477-0828) are both full-service yards with excellent transient facilities and good restaurants. They are on the wrong side of the harbor if you want to go into town, but don't fret-both marinas will arrange land transportation for you. The Greenport Harbormaster (631-477-0392) controls mooring and anchoring in the basin; reservations are a must for weekends. The transient moorings have two lobster pot-style floats tied to them: one orange, another green.
Some cruising yachtsmen occasionally moor in Dering Harbor on Shelter Island (anchoring is no longer permitted) and take the ferry across to Greenport to shop, sightsee, or eat. The three ferries operate continuously, so if you are staying at one of the nearby marinas, try to get a slip away from the channel wash and noise. Pipes Cove, between Greenport and Conkling Point, is OK for lunch but is ringed with shallows and wide open to wakes from the nearby channel. Don't stay here overnight.
The entrance to Southold Bay is two miles southwest of Greenport, between Conkling and Jennings points. At night, the low, marshy, and unmarked Conkling Point can be hard to see, thus causing difficulties for mariners who fail to give it a wide enough berth. Mill Creek, opposite Jennings Point, is a pleasant little anchorage with a marina and a small restaurant. Keep well off Jennings Point, which is surrounded by rocks that extend out 150 yards. The channel narrows at this point to as little as 700 yards, and the traffic can be very heavy, as can the currents. Keep your eye on the chart and your wits about you. The town of Southold, which includes Greenport and Orient Point, enforces a 5-mph speed limit within 500 yards of the shore.
The channel into Mill Creek is a reported four feet deep and then three-and-a-half feet farther inside. Port of Egypt (631-765-2445) keeps a number of slips open for transients and offers full repair services and sells gas and diesel. Albertson Marine (631-765-3232) does repair work as well; they also have a good-sized store selling marine parts, kayaks, canoes, dinghies, and other small watercraft. Follow the privately maintained markers and lights. East of Mill Creek is a small, unnamed inlet with a reported depth of four feet up to Goldsmith's Boat Shop (631-765-1600), a dealership that sells gasoline and performs hull and engine repairs. The channel is marked by privately maintained aids.
Jockey Creek and Town Creek, which make up Southold Harbor, share the same entrance with bulkheads and sandy beaches on each side. A white tower on the south side of Jockey Creek is a good range to head for after rounding Jennings Point, but as you get closer, look for R "2" Fl R 4s paired with G C "1," which mark the entrance. (Both buoys are seasonal and privately maintained.)
Stay close to G C "1" to avoid the shoal on the north side of the entrance. The channel may be less than the six to eightfeet shown on your chart. Several marinas and marine service centers are around the harbor.
Goose Creek, a little farther south, is suitable only for small boats. It has a fixed bridge with a height of nine feet at low tide, and the water here is quite shallow. You can drop a lunch hook anywhere in Southold Bay, but the open anchorage suffers from the same problems as Pipes Cove. You'll want to head for a more secure anchorage at night. Take care when rounding Paradise Point off Great Hog Neck. Stay east of R "12" Fl R 4s, which is actually closer to Shelter Island, and hence, many boaters miss the mark and get caught on the sand spit.
Shoreside and Emergency services
Airport: Mattituck Airbase 631-298-8330
Coast Guard: Montauk, NY 631-668-2716 or VHF 16, New London, CT 860-442-4471 or VHF 16
Police, Fire, Ambulance: 911
Ferry: Greenport to Shelter Island 631-749-0139
Tow Service: Sea Tow 800-4SEATOW or VHF 16, TowBoatU.S 800-391-4869 or VHF 16