My Favorite Things: Miriam Foster & Grayson Murphy

The Oriental Country Shop is a neighborhood hangout for people from the Orient, so owners Miriam Foster and Grayson Murphy are definitely aware of what’s going on on the North Fork. They have a lot of favorite things to share – even if a couple are on the DL.

When Miriam Foster and Grayson Murphy bought the Orient Country Store in 2011, they had no idea it would be the hub of everything in the Orient. It’s the perfect place to pick up groceries and grab Miriam’s freshly baked blueberry muffins, or order Grayson’s famous Reuben sandwich for lunch and also catch up on local activities in town.

“The Country Store is a hub in the community,” says Grayson. “When something happens in town, people talk about it here.”

The couple discovered that running a general store in a small town is much more than a business.

“People let us be part of their lives. I met some of my best friends who worked at the store,” says Miriam. “I don’t think there are many places like this left in the world. The other day I brought an older gentleman his Reuben as he sat at a table on the porch. He told me he half expected to see Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney walking down the street because it looks like a movie set. Orient Village is truly a special place.

THESE ARE THEIR FAVORITE NORTH FORK THINGS AS TOLD TO GINA WAY:

FAVORITE TEACHING PATH Tucked away at Orient Point, just across from the marina, is a beautiful trail and fishing spot. This is Orient Point County Park and it’s a hidden gem. The path offers great views of Long Island Sound and ends at a rocky point where the bay and sound meet.

GRAYSON’S FAVORITE FISHING CHARTER I do a lot of fishing and often reserve a place on the Brooklyn Girl Fishing boat, which is anchored at the Orient Point Marina (40200 Main Road). You can book a private charter or book on what is called an “open boat” and then jump on it when there is availability. They also do evening outings which is really nice. The captain, Ken Holmes, and mates Chris and Marco are amazing and always know where the fish are biting.

GRAYSON’S FAVORITE FISHING STORE WeGo Fishing Bait & Tackle (64355 Main Road, Southold) is a pretty salty spot, and owner Steve Stanza is the barometer of what’s happening in the NOFO fishing scene. The store is stocked with gills, no pun intended, with lures, bait, and basically everything you might need to catch fish. Steve even has mini Snapper Reels for the kids to catch little blue fish. Our 3 year old daughters are almost big enough for this.

FAVORITE SEAFOOD Next door to Steve’s is Southold Fish Market (64755 Route 25), where they have a great lobster roll. You can not

go wrong with everything you get here. The seafood is so fresh and the owner, Charlie Manwaring, grew up in North Fork and knows his stuff. We know many fishermen and oyster farmers who sell their catch there. Also, our daughters love their fish & chips.

FAVORITE SECRET BEACHES We love taking our girls to various Outer Bay beaches in the Orient, although we’ve sworn to keep our favorite spots a secret. The Bay side is warmer in the spring and early summer, while the Sound beaches are cooler in the August heat. All the hamlets in the North Fork have these little cove beaches, and if you look you’ll find one at the end of almost every street. When summer visitors come to the store and ask where to find a nice beach, we can point in any direction and say, “This way!

FAVORITE NATURE TRAIL The winding, flat path from Arshamomachus Reserve (63445 Main Road, Southold) will take you to Arshamomachus Pond and, if you look closely, a cabin in the woods our daughters have decided to live in permanently . We had to get lost several times before we found it. Lots of birds around, and unfortunately lots of ticks too. You need to do a serious tick check after being out in the wild here!

FAVORITE LOCAL BEER Before we had kids, we used to go to Trivia Night on Thursdays at Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. (42155 Main Road, Peconic), which is great fun. Miriam’s dad is a quiz freak so we brought him along and he was brilliant. Oh, and did we mention they also make great craft beers? ! We sell the cans at the store, but it’s fun to go try their special beers and play trivia.

MIRIAM’S FAVORITE LUNCH PLACE A girlfriend and I have lunch at Wednesday’s Table (in the Feather Hill shopping center in Southold). every Tuesday. Everything co-owner Linh Trieu cooks is delicious. The banh mi is amazing, the seasonal salads are always great and when she has the chicken satay sandwich on special, don’t miss it!

FAVORITE DATE NIGHT Our go-to is Ellen’s On Front (38 Front St., in Greenport). Chef Jennie Werts co-owns Ellen’s with her brother Andrew. Jennie came back to North Fork after working in many fancy restaurants in New York, and her food is delicious. We almost always order their fried chicken, which you can also get at their sister, Drossos Snack Bar (69125 Main Road). And we’re addicted to honey butter chips – oh man!

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